By American Farriers Journal Staff

The Arabian Horse Foundation will give $11,000 for research projects involving equine metabolic syndrome and hoof imbalance and lameness.

An award of $6,400 will provide continued support for two projects headed by Samantha Brooks at the University of Florida in Gainesville. One project researches equine metabolic syndrome in the Arabian horse, along with an additional project to expand studies of heritable disease in the Arabian horse and investigate the genetic basis for juvenile idiopathic epilepsy. 

“It is very gratifying to see the progress that has been made with the Foundation’s research program, particularly in the area of genetic disorders,” says Beth Minnich, who chairs the Foundation’s Equine Research Advisory Panel. “This progress has only been possible with the support of our donors and through those efforts the Arabian horse community is able to have more of a direct voice in equine research." 

The $6,400 award to Brooks is for continued work on an equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) project, which the Foundation has been supporting since 2010.

“Preliminary results for this project include genetic mapping and discovery of a genetic marker of interest,” Minnich says. “Future work for this project includes validating this allele with additional sampling.”

This study, the foundation says, has the potential to assist owners in more readily identifying horses at greater risk of EMS — allowing for improved management of these individuals, especially in regard to feeding and exercise programs. A frequent complication of EMS is laminitis, which is one of the most common causes of lameness and death in horses. 

A $4,700 award will go to Babak Faramarzi at Western University to study the effect of hoof imbalance and lameness.

“This project is built upon a previously funded foundation research project in which a pressure plate was used to gather hoof strike data before and after hoof trimming,” Minnich says.

The results of this study will provide data on load distribution at different regions of the hoof in response to regular trimming.

“This study may also lead to additional work to evaluate the effects of different trimming and shoeing practices currently used in the show ring,” Minnich says.

This latest round of equine research funding brings the total given by the foundation in the past 8 years to more than $65,000.