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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • accelerometer;
  • ground reaction force;
  • impact;
  • locomotion

Summary

Reasons for performing study: The transmission of shockwaves following hoof impact is proposed to be one major source of stress to the limb. In the forelimb, there are indications that the period of horizontal deceleration of the hoof is related to the attenuation of shockwaves. In the hindlimb, information about the hoof deceleration has been lacking.

Objective: To compare hoof deceleration patterns between the fore- and hindlimbs.

Methods: Seven Standardbreds were trotted by hand over a force plate covered with sand, with triaxial accelerometers mounted on the fore and hind hooves. Variables representative of decelerations (first 2 main vertical deceleration peaks; characteristic minimum and maximum values in the craniocaudal deceleration; hoof braking time) and ground reaction forces (vertical loading rates; maximum and the following local minimum of the craniocaudal force) of the initial part of the stance phase, and the differences between individual fore- and hindlimb time and amplitude variables were used for statistical analyses.

Results: Force plate data showed significantly greater vertical loading rate (mean ± s.d. 6.5 ± 5.9 N/sec) and horizontal loads (190.4 ± 110.2 N) in the forelimb than the hindlimb, but the parameters from accelerometer data showed no significant differences.

Conclusions: No significant difference was found in the hoof deceleration, but the deceleration curves displayed a common pattern that described in detail the kinematics of the fore and hind hooves during the initial period of hoof braking.

Potential relevance: These results contribute to further knowledge about the characteristics of these potential risk factors in the development of subchondral bone damage in the horse. Further studies are required on the influence of hoof braking pattern at higher speed, different shoeing and ground surfaces with different properties.