Q&A: Gait Analysis

Q: What are you looking for when you watch a horse walk/trot prior to shoeing? How does the horse’s job factor into your gait analysis?

Below are the responses we couldn't fit into print answering our January/February 2016 Hoof-Care Email Q&A. To provide your own feedback, respond in the Comments section below.

A: When watching the horse move before shoeing, the horse’s job will have a major influence upon the shoe fit I apply. I will be more likely to fit with length and width on a horse competing at dressage than one that goes hunting.

Watching a horse move can influence how you shoe it, but they have to be fit for their intended purpose and not increase the risk of shoe loss or interference injuries.

— Marc Jerram, Brewood, England

A: When a horse is presented to me for trimming or shoeing, I like to watch it come toward me. That allows me to see the load and breakover of each hoof. This way, I can make a mental note to address balance on each hoof. This is the first of a three-part approach to trimming the horse.

You also need to look at conformation and a free-hanging, unloaded look at balance to determine how the hoof should be trimmed. I look at most breeds the same, keeping in mind that some of the gated horses such as the Peruvian Paso and Paso Finos naturally paddle and it’s not something we try to eliminate or change. Knowing how each breed is supposed to move is a must to determine where breakover and support need to be.

 — John Muldoon, Tuttle, Okla.

A: The…

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