• horse;
  • acceleration;
  • hoof;
  • kinetics;
  • locomotion


This study was designed to test the impact characteristics of the equine digit in vitro with the objective of providing a better understanding of the role of the digital structures in the attenuation of impact shock. Uni-axial accelerometers were mounted on cadaver digits on the distolateral hoof wall, the proximolateral hoof wall, the dorsal surface of the second phalanx, and the mid-lateral first phalanx. The hoof-mounted accelerometers were aligned with the hoof tubules while the bone-mounted accelerometers were oriented along the longitudinal axis of the bone. Each digit was mounted in a test apparatus designed to simulate impact of the hoof with the ground during locomotion. The digits were subjected to 3 impact trials against a barrier at each of 3 vertical impact velocities that simulated a forward trotting velocity in the range of 2.67 to 4.46 m/s. The impact deceleration tended to increase with impact velocity. Attenuation of the impact shock by the digital tissues resulted in a reduction in impact deceleration in the more proximal measuring locations. The interphalangeal joints appeared to play a larger role in amplitude attenuation than the hoof wall or the soft tissue structures within the hoof wall. The signal frequency data showed that the soft tissues within the hoof acted as a ‘low-pass’ filter, attenuating the higher deceleration frequencies. The hoof wall and the interphalangeal joints showed little frequency attenuation.