SHOES PACK A PUNCH

EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front - By Chris­tine Barakat and Mick McCluskey, BVSc, MACVSc

For the safety of your horse’s pas­ture­mates, re­move his hind shoes or fit him with plas­tic ones when he’s not in reg­u­lar work—that seems to be the mes­sage of a new study from Switzer­land.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Zurich used drop-im­pact test ap­pa­ra­tus to sim­u­late the speed and force of a typ­i­cal horse’s kick. Then they sub­jected the long bones of the equine leg ( radii and tib­iae) to “kicks” with the im­pactor head cov­ered with a steel, alu­minum or polyurethane block, to sim­u­late var­i­ous shoe ma­te­ri­als. The im­pactor head was also cov­ered with hoof horn to mimic the blow from an un­shod horse.

The data showed that kicks de­liv­ered by horses wear­ing metal shoes were very likely to cause se­ri­ous in­jury, with a 75 per­cent prob­a­bil­ity of frac­ture from a blow with steel and an 81

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