Thursday, August 17, 2017

Canadian researchers evaluate joint pressure in ridden Quarter horses with and without horseshoes

EquineGuelph is reporting that the Ontario Veterinary College's Professor Jeff Thomason, BA, MSc, PhD is working on a summer project investigating the changes of loading pressure on the joints of Quarter horses as it relates to shoeing.

Professor Jeff Thomason
According to EquineGuelph, most of the current research in this area has focused on Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. For this reason, their scientists have chosen to use Quarter horses for the current study, which will help them better understand how the loading pressure placed on horses’ joints may change when they are shod.

Danielle Halucha, a student in Thomason’s lab, is working on the project for the summer and gave a brief explanation of the study design, “First, horses with shoes on are evaluated while performing several different exercises at different gaits with a rider on. Then, the shoes are removed and the horses are allowed time to adjust. The same horses are then re-evaluated performing the same exercises and gaits, with the same rider on, but without shoes.”

Student Danielle Halucha
The horses are evaluated moving in a straight line and around corners, and researchers use four different sensors, as well as reflective equipment, to monitor the horses' speed and movements. The effects of "shoe versus no shoe" are investigated with several variables, including differences in footing/surfaces (e.g. concrete, rubber mat, dirt), direction (using a figure eight pattern), gait, and lead and counter-lead (at a canter).

Equine Guelph reports that Halucha has enjoyed the time she has spent on this project so far, and is excited at what the findings will reveal. She enthusiastically shared that she will be starting a Master of Science degree with Dr. Thomason in the fall; she will be investigating asymmetrical limb loading in Thoroughbreds.

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This article was edited from a press release.

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