Frequency of hoof balance problems in training crioulo horses
Keywords:Podiatry, Measurements, Equine
AbstractThe role of improper hoof balance causing lameness in sport horses is well documented in the literature. Hoof balance can be divided into geometric, dynamic and natural balance. This study assessed the geometric balance of 97 adult Crioulo horses in training at 16 different training centers to determine the incidence of poor hoof conformation. Nine measurements of the hoof were taken: angle at the toe, circumference at the coronary band, lateral and medial quarter and heel length, toe length, frog length and width. From these measurements the following hoof problems could be identified: 85 out of 97 horses (87.62%) had contracted heels, 48 (49.48%) had medial to lateral hoof imbalance, 23 (23.71%) had mismatched hoof angles and 11 (11.34%) had a broken back hoof axis. The frequency of mismatched hoof angles was different between the five age groups (p<0.05). The hoof angle varied from 45° to 58° (52.71 ± 0.15°). The average toe length was 8.7 ± 0.6 cm and was considered to be excessive for horses with 411.4 ± 34.80 Kg body weight. The high frequency of hoof abnormalities in this population of horses suggests that trimming and shoeing practices employed should be reviewed and improved.
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