A report on a study by Dr. Sue Dyson which attempted to determine if hoof shape could determine soundness or lameness was published in TheHorse.com


The purpose of this study was to photographically document the foot shape and external hoof characteristics of lame and nonlame horses,” said Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England

This is something barefooters have been saying for the last decade so this is a very encouraging thing to see being studied and results showing that indeed, hoof shape does affect soundness:

Key findings of the study were:

~ In 22% of horses that were lame on one foot, the lame foot was taller and more upright foot than the nonlame foot;

~ In 10% of horses that were lame on one foot, the lame foot had a long toe and a low, collapsed heel compared with the nonlame foot;

~ The shape of the coronary band was different between lame and nonlame feet: Lame feet had a more concave contour of the coronary band;

~ and Lack of parallel alignment of the horn tubules and divergent growth ring orientation were associated with chronic lameness.

The study determined that assymetry was a leading cause of lameness. It stands to reason that a horse with a musculo-skeletal system out of alignment must compensate and eventually the compensating limb starts to suffer a breakdown.


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