Researchers from Austria have found that steel horseshoes with a soft polyurethane covering that contacts the ground may help reduce overload of horse's front legs.
Drs. Lauren Veneta Moore, Theresia Franziska Licka and Rebeka Roza Zsoldos used four carriage-driving horses for the study. The horses, in teams of two, pulled carriages in Vienna, a city that has a variety of road surfaces, including cobbled streets, concrete and asphalt. Traditionally, the horses wear steel shoes with anti-slip features, like studs, pins or toe grabs, to keep them from slipping.
The study used the horses as they were traditionally shod, then removed those shoes and nailed on a steel shoe and screwed on the polyurethane segments. Accelerometers were attached to the hooves and the horses were trotted in hand on an asphalt track at a self-selected pace.
The scientists found that hooves wearing the polyurethane-covered shoes experienced less-abrupt deceleration during lading and more acceleration upon push-off from the ground. Additionally, the horses trotted faster and used longer strides when wearing the polyurethane-covered shoes.
The researchers determined that the polyurethane-covered shoes may aide in reducing front-limb overload in horses.
Read the study here.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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