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Vet Q. 2001 Nov;23(4):191-5.

Effects of 'navicular' shoeing on equine distal forelimb kinematics on different track surface.

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Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Orthopaedic shoeing applied for disorders such as navicular disease is mostly evaluated on hard track surfaces, but very often horses are ridden only on soft tracks. To compare the effects of normal shoes, eggbar shoes, and shoes with heel wedges (5 degrees) on the kinematics of the distal forelimb on hard and soft track surfaces, eleven sound Dutch Warmblood horses were led across three different tracks (an asphalt, a fibre/sand mix (= Agterberg), and a pure sand track) with three different shoe types (a normal shoe, an eggbar shoe, and a shoe with heel wedges). The hoof rotation and the maximal extension of the fetlock joint at midstance period were recorded by an infrared-light based gait analysis system (ProReflex) at walk and at trot. Statistical analysis revealed significant effects of track and shoe type, and a shoe-track interaction (p<0.05). On soft track surfaces, the equilibrium of the distal forelimb dictated a 1.5-4 degrees forward rotation of the normal or eggbar shod foot, the most on a sand track. The wedge effect on hoof rotation, however, was always significantly greater, but similar to that on the hard track surface (5 degrees forward rotation). The maximal fetlock extension was less on a soft surface, in particular on the sand track (p<0.05). This decrease was most pronounced when the horses were shod with heel wedges and was least pronounced with normal shoes. In conclusion, in particular the sand track allows a forward rotation of the hoof and thus relief of pressure in the navicular area, and a decrease in maximal fetlock extension and thus unloading of the fetlock joint. The extra forward rotation of the hoof induced by heel wedges on hard tracks was almost the same on soft track surfaces. Eggbars and fibre/sand mix tracks have intermediate effects on unloading of the distal forelimb.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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