Hoof Study presented at FEIF conference

Some horses from the UK who took part in European competitions in 2012 were part of this study and the owners were commended on the quality of shoeing. Here is a short report of the recent findings by the Sport Trustee, Mike Adams, who was at the meeting.

I was at the presentation of this study in Reykjavik and was able to talk at length to the researchers and vets from Zurich University about their work.
The following are relevant points.
1 The research was commissioned by FEIF to scientifically measure horses in competition environments to see if the FIPO rules relating to shoeing were appropriate or in need of change. There are very many opinions and prejudices about this and it was necessary to put some science into this subject to get valid information. Zurich University has a vetinarian faculty with an equine speciality and the scientists were familiar with Icelandic Horses.
2 The basis of the research was to examine the type and frequency of “hoof pathologies” and relate these findings to the size of the hoof – primarily the dorsal hoof length. In this context, the main pathologies were flares, uneven height at the quarters, rings, uneven coronary bands and cracks.
3 The outcome was clear. When the DHL was 95mm or more, there was a significant increase in hoof problems. At 80mm, there were virtually none. Between 85 and 90mm the differences were less distinct.
4 The recommendation was to limit the DHL to 95mm and 90mm should be discussed as this further reduced the incidence of hoof problems.
5 The use of pads and fillers was felt to be beneficial as they provided some impact absorption on surfaces that were not hard – ie schools, tracks with suitable surfaces etc. Pads also provided protection from stones and provided a stable platform for the hoof.
The research was much wider than this with the biomechanical effect of various combinations of hoof length and weights being measured on a treadmill. This all tells us a lot about what truly influences the health of our horses and I am sure that FIPO will be changed to reflect this scientific study.

Mike Adams

For the full report, click here.