A lame idea that really shines

By Connie Orcutt • Published: January 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Despite advances made in equine medicine, lameness… which occurs when a horse doesn’t walk normally on all four limbs… remains a scourge to many steeds.

Farriers play a critical role in battling this painful problem.

A farrier shoes horses and helps keep their legs and feet healthy. A big part of the job is making shoes that ease lameness. The process is akin to making orthotics for people.

A professor at one school of veterinary medicine employs a pretty high-tech tactic to fight lameness. He temporarily places a plastic film over a horse’s hooves, then attaches it to an electronic sensor. When the horse walks, the device records force applied to the hooves and indicates the areas of greatest pressure.

With this information, the farrier can make a shoe to help relieve the problematic pressures and give the lame horse a boost toward recovery.