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The turkey and pumpkin pies barely had time to cool off before several thousand vets, farriers and suppliers headed to sunny San Diego, Calif., for the 47th American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) meeting in late November.
Footcare was the focus of many scientific papers presented by veterinarians and researchers. (This issue’s “Frankly Speaking” column on page 7 contains even more information about the AAEP meeting. And, check out the new products on pages 69 to 75, which will be sure to have farriers talking.)
Alan Wilson says that when a horse’s heels leave the ground, the body weight of the horse shifting to the toe produces a long lever arm in the deep distal interphalangeal joint. This leads to excessive loading of the deep digital flexor tendon and the navicular bone.
The equine veterinarian at the Royal Veterinary College in Herts, England, says attempts have been made to reduce the length of this lever arm by fitting a shoe with quarter clips. This would be a substitute for using a toe clip or fitting a shoe designed along the lines of the four-point trim.
Wilson and his colleagues applied toe clips, quarter clips and Natural Balance shoes at 3-week intervals to nine horses. Pulling the toe back on these horses resulted in breakover starting earlier and shortened its duration.
Wilson found that the moment arm of the ground-reaction force on the distal interphalangeal joint during breakover was reduced. But because breakover started earlier and resulted…