|What is Farrier Science?
Farrier Science is high speed gait analysis. Gait analys is not new to human sports and medicine. It is an area within the specialist field of sports science. The concept began when the number of injuries suffered by elite human athletes increased at the same rate as the money they earned. It has been used for several decades and many practitioners work in the field of human bio-mechanics, aiming at increased performance, preventing injury and shortening recovery times, by understanding exactly what happens when the athlete moves. Now that the money involved with competition horses these days is in the same league as professional athletes some progressive thinking horse professionals have borrowed some of the same technology for the benefit of our four legged athletes.
Farrier Science uses a computer program with software that was designed specifically to track, measure and quantify the biomechanical data of what happens when a horse is moving.
What happens right now, when a horse is first measured? What changes are taking place over time, especially with changes in farriery or training used as a result of the readings? The system uses video and still cameras to record a horse’s movements, and the computer program to measure and quantify the data. It works through markers placed on specific joints and using measurements between them to capture the movement.
The results are fascinating for observers and may show some surprises. For example, the horse that you always thought was fine, may actually load his weight consistently on to the outside wall of one hoof, setting up pressures that can result in problems either months or years down the track.
For all horses, no matter what their purpose, the hooves and legs are the foundation for their function. If hooves are unbalanced, then the whole horse will be unbalanced and the result could be lameness or impaired performance which may not even be obviously related to its hooves. A problem may present itself today but has been building for months or even years.
Records at the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Centre in California show that of all the horses evaluated for lameness, nearly ninety percent have moderately to severely imbalanced hooves. This does not mean that imbalance is the primary cause of lameness, although it often is. But their work has shown that when imbalance persists, healing takes longer and lameness may be difficult to resolve. Other studies have shown that a huge 70% of all performance horses will suffer at least one musculo-skeletal injury in any season and three-quarters of these are caused, or contributed to, by a hoof imbalance.
A horse which is clinically sound may also be imbalanced, although he may show only mild symptoms which appear to be training or rider problems.
Balance is a word used often by farriers and vets. Whole books have been written about it, and many words spoken. Briefly, the topic covers the dynamic balance which is the horse’s equilibrium (or lack of) in movement, and static balance which takes into account the coronary band contour, symmetry of the hoof and support dimensions.
Just like humans, horses are not born perfect. So balance does not imply perfection, but a stable state in which forces are balanced by opposing forces, that is, a state of equilibrium. And just as it does in the human athlete, that equilibrium may change over time and need to be “re-set”.
This is what Farrier Science does. It may be used in a simple setting, just a concrete or solid path with side access for cameras, and gives the owner both an immediate look at what is happening with a particular horse, plus a written report.
Jonathan will discuss the findings and what is indicated to remedy any problems.
You may not have a suitable site, or may wish to get together with friends to analyse your horse’s movement. Please contact us to discuss your options and what you wish to do.
At present, we have a site available at our clinic (Beaudesert) for owners who do not have a suitable venue.
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0432 182 873
Connections Pty Ltd
PO Box 547
Beaudesert QLD 4285
COMBINED EQUINE CONNECTIONS PTY LTD
12 699 621 914
120 421 221