Graphic! Below is a link to a dissected hoof that has been trimmed to create peripheral loading of the hoof wall. The hoof need not be shod to be peripherally loaded. Leaving walls above the sole as in this hoof creates the same dynamic.

The demonstration shows pressure applied to the hoof from above. What is most interesting is that the circumflex artery is visible at each ‘corner’ of the hoof and as the pressure comes down on the hoof, the wall squeezes the artery. You can see the space where the artery is becoming narrow and the pressure on the artery, and blood leaking out of it.

Since the circumflex artery is the ‘sole’ blood supply to the sole of the hoof, restricting blood flow to it via peripheral loading (i.e. a shoe), limits the growth of the sole. I have often heard vets prescribe shoes for thin-soled horses ‘until the sole grows and thickens up’. But since the shoe restricts the growth of the sole, this is counterintuitive and counterproductive.


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