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Equine Vet J. 2006 Nov;38(7):664-70.

The horse-racetrack interface: a preliminary study on the effect of shoeing on impact trauma using a novel wireless data acquisition system.

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Richard S. Reynolds Jr. Comparative Orthopedic Research Laboratory, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348, USA.



There is a need to determine accelerations acting on the equine hoof under field conditions in order to better assess the risks for orthopaedic health associated with shoeing practices and/or surface conditions.


To measure the acceleration profiles generated in Thoroughbred racehorses exercising at high speeds over dirt racetracks and specifically to evaluate the effect of a toe grab shoe compared to a flat racing plate, using a newly developed wireless data acquisition system (WDAS).


Four Thoroughbred racehorses in training and racing were used. Based on previous trials, each horse served as its own control for speed trials, with shoe type as variable. Horses were evaluated at speeds ranging from 12.0-17.3 m/sec. Impact accelerations, acceleration on break over and take-off, and temporal stride parameters were calculated. Impact injury scores were also determined, using peak accelerations and the time over which they occurred.


Recorded accelerations for the resultant vector (all horses all speeds) calculated from triaxial accelerometers ranged 96.3-251.1 g, depending on the phase of the impact event. An association was observed between shoe type and change in acceleration in individual horses, with 2 horses having increased g on initial impact with toe grab shoes in place. In the final impact phase, one horse had an increase of 110 g while wearing toe grab shoes. Increased accelerations were also observed on break over in 2 horses while wearing toe grab shoes.


Shoe type may change impact accelerations significantly in an individual horse and could represent increased risk for injury. Further work is needed to determine if trends exist across a population.


The WDAS could be used for performance evaluation in individual horses to evaluate any component of the horse-performance surface interface, with the goal of minimising risk and optimising performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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