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J Biomech. 2005 Oct;38(10):2102-12.

Design and demonstration of a dynamometric horseshoe for measuring ground reaction loads of horses during racing conditions.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering Program, College of Engineering, University of California, Davis, 95616, USA.


Because musculoskeletal injuries to racehorses are common, instrumentation for the study of factors (e.g. track surface), which affect the ground reaction loads in horses during racing conditions, would be useful. The objectives of the work reported by this paper were to (1) design and construct a novel dynamometric horseshoe that is capable of measuring the complete ground reaction loading during racing conditions, (2) characterize static and dynamic measurement errors, and (3) demonstrate the usefulness of the instrument by collecting example data during the walk, trot, canter, and gallop for a single subject. Using electrical resistance strain gages, a dynamometric horseshoe was designed and constructed to measure the complete ground reaction force and moment vectors and the center of pressure. To mimic the load transfer surface of the hoof, the shape of the surface contacting the ground was similar to that of the solar surface of the hoof. Following static calibration, the measurement accuracy was determined. The root mean squared errors (RMSE) were 3% of full scale for the force component normal to the hoof and 9% for force components in the plane of the hoof. The dynamic calibration determined that the natural frequency with the full weight of a typical horse was 1744 Hz. Example data were collected during walking on a ground surface and during trotting, cantering, and galloping on a treadmill. The instrument successfully measured the complete ground reaction load during all four gaits. Consequently the dynamometric horseshoe is useful for studying factors, which affect ground reaction loads during racing conditions.

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