The foot-surface interaction and its impact on musculoskeletal adaptation and injury risk in the horse

Parkes, R S V and Witte, T H (2015) The foot-surface interaction and its impact on musculoskeletal adaptation and injury risk in the horse. EQUINE VETERINARY JOURNAL, 47 (5). pp. 519-525.

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Abstract

The equine limb has evolved for efficient locomotion and high‐speed performance, with adaptations of bone, tendon and muscle. However, the system lacks the ability seen in some species to dynamically adapt to different circumstances. The mechanical interaction of the limb and the ground is influenced by internal and external factors including fore–hind mass distribution, lead limb, moving on a curve, shoeing and surface properties. It is unclear which of the components of limb loading have the largest effect on injury and performance but peak load, impact and vibration all play a role. Factors related to the foot–ground interface that limit performance are poorly understood. Peak performance varies vastly between disciplines but at high speeds such as racing and polo, force and grip are key limits to performance.