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When altering horses’ traction, farriers are applying lessons that they learned when they were but knee-high to a grasshopper. It’s called the Goldilocks principle.
Applying too little traction causes the horse to slip too much, thus risking serious injury. Too much traction severely alters the horse’s natural grip, which also heightens the possibility of serious injury. That makes finding traction that’s “just right” so critical for the health and performance of the horse. When the effects of the principle are observed — too little traction vs. too much traction — you are witnessing the Goldilocks effect.
A recent study published by the Journal of Biomechanics titled, “Hoof position during limb loading affects dorsoproximal bone strains on the equine proximal phalanx,” by Ellen Singer, Susan Stover and Tanya Garcia illustrates that importance.
Singer is an equine veterinarian and senior lecturer in equine orthopaedics at the University of Liverpool. Stover is a veterinarian and professor of anatomy, physiology and cell biology at the University of California-Davis. Garcia is a biomedical engineer and manager of the musculoskeletal biomechanics research, imaging services and gait lab at UC-Davis.
Singer became intrigued by fractures of the first phalanx (P1) and why they occur. The trio studied P1 strains, as well as evaluated how much axial rotation and collateral motion it had in relation to the third metacarpal bone (MC3). The result was an article published by the Journal of Biomechanics in 2013 titled, “How do metacarpophalangeal joint extension, collateromotion and axial…