• horse;
  • finite element analysis;
  • donkey;
  • hoof wall


A finite element model of donkey hoof wall was constructed from measurements taken directly from the hoof capsule of the left forefoot. The model was created with a 2 mm mesh and consisted of 11608 nodes. A linear elastic analysis was conducted assuming isotropic material properties in response to a 375 newton (N) load, to simulate static loading. The load was applied to the wall via 400 laminae in order to simulate the way in which the pedal bone is suspended within the donkey hoof capsule. Displacement, stress concentration, principal strain, and force distribution across the hoof wall were evaluated. The hoof wall model revealed loading responses that were in broad agreement with previously reported in vivo and modelled observations of the equid hoof. Finite element analysis offers the potential to model hoof wall function at the macroscopic and microscopic level. In this way, it could help to develop further our understanding of the functional relationship between the structural organisation and material properties of the hoof wall.