Today's video is from the "greatest hits" vault here at Hoofcare & Lameness. Two years ago, a near-tragic event in Iceland was captured on film: eleven champion Icelandic horses and riders plunged into a lake when the ice cracked and broke beneath them. The water was just deep enough that the horses could not get themselves out.
What happened next makes this video all the more worth watching. Luckily a film crew was on hand, and the footage was edited into an Animal Planet report.
Animal Planet asked for commentary from our friend Professor Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, DACVSMR, MRCVS. Dr Clayton is Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and she is probably the only academic expert in the gaits of Icelandic horses. She'll be a familiar face to many on this video.
Many apologies for the quality of this video; it was the only version available, but it should be good enough for you to see what happened. Uncut footage can be seen (and heard in Icelandic) on YouTube from the original tape.
What's the lesson to be learned here? They did measure the ice before the horses arrived, but perhaps not in the right spot. It is well-known that Icelandic horses are shod with studs and/or studded nails for these ice tolts, as they are called, but it's doubtful that the shoes caused the ice to crack and break. Perhaps the sunny day and the combined weight and impact of the line of horses was simply too much for the ice.
To learn more:Read about a seminar on Icelandic horseshoeing at Cornell vet school
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