Friday, 6 May 2011

Shoes and "support" - stunning video

This absolutely fascinating short film was posted on Youtube by Rood and Riddle, an equine veterinary clinic in the US.  It has some stunning images of hooves landing, and its mesmerising viewing.  Thanks to farrier David Gill who brought it to my attention.

You need to listen to the soundtrack as well, where the vet commentator notes that the hoof has to provide support, shock absorption and traction - I think we all wholeheartedly agree with this.

If you listen to him, though, he sounds a bit doubtful - not entirely convinced by his own statements that the various shoes that have been filmed really are providing support, traction or shock absorption.  Maybe that's because he was watching the footage at the same time...



At the end, there are some particularly graphic shots of a draft horse on tarmac.  The vet  - without much confidence - says that the horse would slip if he had no shoes.
[Yes, you read that correctly - he thinks shod horses slip less on tarmac than barefoot horses(!)]

I'll forgive him that faux pas, as he's obviously not got much experience of riding on tarmac, but surely even he can see that there is something scary about how this horse landing in the shoes - more like a flying saucer than a horse.  Has he not heard of medio-lateral balance?

I must admit, my first thought when I watched it was: if that's the best footage they can come up with to endorse shoeing, then heaven help them.  I'm still of the view that I wrote about in "Shoes and scaffolding" and this video has just reinforced my opinion...

If I were a farrier I suspect I'd be saying "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"...

12 comments:

Dare Gothic Clothing said...

I find it very hard to watch or read anything without over analysing it, sometimes I wish I could be less critical and just accept statements and carry on happy in my ignorance... but sometimes statements are just so silly you have to laugh out loud "competition horses need to wear shoes as they may be covering different terrains such as at cross country competitions and their hoof wouldn't be able to adapt quickly enough to the changing terrain" (not an exact quote but I can't sit through the video again!)... so if your horse lives in a concrete stable but you have to walk over a gravel track to get the sand school the other side of the grass paddock your horse should have 4 different hooves for each terrain? What happened to a healthy functioning hoof being able to support the horse brilliantly on all surfaces?

I have to say Nic you have ruined my acceptance of pretty much everything, I can't sit down and enjoy a glossy horse mag any more without screaming at half the articles ;)

Nic Barker said...

LOL! I completely agree - it makes Andy cross sometimes - I was told not to look at hooves during the royal wedding ...

Great filming, though, wasn't it ;-)

clairesgarden said...

""I have to say Nic you have ruined my acceptance of pretty much everything, I can't sit down and enjoy a glossy horse mag any more without screaming at half the articles ;)""
I am clapping!!

when people are being snipey about Abbeys feet I have shut a couple of people up by scratching a picture on the ground and saying 'this is heart and a c-spring; if you clamp it, it can't work'
and I have said nothing more, usually walked away to leave them to contemplate that.
I read the 'heart and c-spring' idea somehwere but cannot remember where.
Abbey is moving yards tomorrow...so we will have no lovely fields to ride in and will be out stomping the tarmac, I expect her feet will change quite a bit.

Cristina said...

About the royal wedding, all the shoes that were worn by the horses who took part are being removed and sold as souvenirs. That's from my farrier who's an army farrier.

jenj said...

The comment that "some amount of slippage is normal"... is that true of barefoot horses? Do they slip on every stride like these shod horses do? Does anybody actually KNOW, or is this just an other "urban myth"?

And eek! That Draft at the end, and all the horses landing with very odd (or no?) medio-lateral balance. I would love to see a similar video of barefoot horses working at similar speeds in similar footings to see the difference. I bet it's huge.

smazourek said...

How amusing: shoes for shock absorption.

Really? I thought metal was one of the most shock conductive materials there is.

Lucie said...

'I would love to see a similar video of barefoot horses working at similar speeds in similar footings to see the difference. I bet it's huge'

Me too - can that be your next Nic ;)

Nic Barker said...

Jen - a very good point, and yes to both you and Lucie - I've been wanting to do high speed road footage for ages but its surprisingly difficult to arrange, mainly because I need a cameraman/woman - I've tried to capture stuff myself but you need to be able to repeat the action several times to get really good quality footage.

I'm hoping to make some progress on this over the summer, but I suspect that the R&R footage was shot with pretty high tech cameras, which I of course don't have... Still, will do my best ;-)

FWIW, Jen, the consensus of opinion in the UK is that barefoot horses slip much less on roads. I've known a few trainers who leave young horses unshod as long as possible simply for more grip on tarmac if they spook.

S - that comment made me giggle too (!)

Wiola said...

Wow - amazing footage. Shame the commentary is so misleading!

Val said...

The way the fetlocks were sinking was kind of sickening. Does a barefoot horse's fetlock nearly touch the ground like that? I would doubt it. I think the leg was compensating for the hoof's malfunction. I also cannot believe the athleticism of these horses, despite the possibility (certainty?) that their feet are not performing at their best.

Jenny said...

WOW. That footage is AMAZING all on its own.... halfway through the video I just turned the commentary off so I could watch the action uninterrupted...
I was mesmerized, just like you said... not only with the hooves, but with the angles of the landings, the amazing flexion of the pasterns, and the fact that you could actually SEE the impact being absorbed by the soft tissues of the horses legs in ripples of shock waves! Yikes! And so ironic that this is a pro-shoeing video, because the sight of that impact in such dramatic slow-motion might be the best pro-barefoot image you could find!

Lainey said...

The landing of the draft horse just made me feel very sick, it was as though he hadn't a clue where on earth his feet where, poor thing.