Dateline: Southern California
with Farrier Ernest Woodward and Veterinarian Mark Silverman
with Farrier Ernest Woodward and Veterinarian Mark Silverman
Before the trail of their “in the field” California-style version of Fuego’s Euro 3-D lateral rocker shoe went cold, Woodward and Silverman turned their attention to what else they might have at their disposal to use as a platform (literally) for this concept.
The challenge this time: create another version of a lateral rocker shoe that does not incorporate a traditional "shoe" for the base and the nailing surface--but have it be made in one piece instead of three.
Woodward and Silverman had accomplished this in the previous case (see link) by using an aluminum plate screwed to a smaller pony shoe, along with a liberal dollop of sole impression material.
I imagined Rob Sigafoos rolling his eyes. But the wizard of hoof adhesives might take pleasure in the fact that someone was thinking outside the rectangle of his plate.
They would transform it from a stabilizing support base used for seriously lame horses into a motion-conducive pivot base for a horse that needed some added mobility. Stability was sacrificed for mobility for this application.
First, the base material. The Sigafoos II plate is a sandwich of
high-performance polyurethane around a central plate of aluminum.
"Think of it this way: what if we could use a 4 mm (thick) plate and grind it down to 2mm at the edge? We could bevel it to its full thickness inside the nailing surface, as opposed to the standard 8 to 10 mm thickness of a ground-surface breakover shoe with another foot surface shoe/plate then welded or attached to it.
|The plates are available both flat and wedged. The one that used for this horse was wedged--note gradation of the foot surface (bottom) from left to right (ground surface at top). The aluminum plate is a uniform thickness.|
“The layer cake effect was good for breakover (on the previous test case) but it added length to the whole foot and migrates the bearing surface of the hoof wall further and further away from the center of rotation of the coffin joint.
“The big benefit of the shoe-free concept is that it gives the hoof a motion similar to a round motorcycle tire vs a square car tire. As the motorcycle leans over, a square tire is forced to go up on its edge.
|This view illustrates the heel of the appliance; it is raised off the ground by the polyurethane ground surface. Note how the wall bearing surface has been rockered to half its thickness. The horse's prolapsed frog will sit comfortably on the pad.|
"Considering the anatomy of the distal limb, this edge-effect causes the joints to take load unevenly and puts lateral "bend" in the distal joint structures.”
Dr Silverman: “It's an important concept to understand that the distal structures of the limb are designed to accommodate terrain irregularities and angular deflections associated with turning. The mid and upper portions of the limb can only handle flexion and extension until you get up to the most proximal joints.
Returning to the motorcycle analogy, how much easier on the horse’s joints would a round edge be than an abrupt, square edge?
Woodward: “This turned out to be a very clean shoe design that had more concussion absorption and traction built into it than the layered plate-and-pony-shoe version had. That said, it required a bit more sculpting...“
|The lateral view clearly illustrates the breakover point and the wedge effect.|
Woodward: "The urethane tread provides not only traction but also a significant dampening effect. Also, the layer used to adhere the cuff to the plate provided a nice separation as a built-in polyurethane pad. This is also nice because it keeps the hoof from direct contact with the aluminum. You can run into corrosion issues between aluminum and the foot."
|The heel view gives the impression that this is a shoe sandwiched |
between two polyurethane pads...but it's all one piece.
The same design was used for both front feet. “the mechanics needed to be similar or I think that we may have had trouble with overall stability and balance,” Silverman commented.
How did it work out?
The finished one-piece package nailed onto the foot (left fore). Notice the prominent soft tissue swelling (arrow) from the ringbone.
“Surgery was not an option for this horse. He's 26 years young and the owner didn't feel that it was a good idea to put him through it, though with a joint like this I would have at least consulted a surgeon to discuss surgical fusion of the pastern joint.
Lateral view of the left fore after shoeing. The pastern swelling is less obvious from this angle. The same device was applied to both front feet.
“This experimentation--and seeing its effect on the horses--has led us more and more to really look hard at the motions and movements of our “normally” shod horses and how those horses interact with different footings and surfaces. This has been a very eye-opening line of development for our everyday horses.”
TO LEARN MORE:
On the Case: The Woodward-Silverman California-Style Euro Rock 'n Roll Shoe
Dressage, Fuego-Style: It's What's Underneath That Counts as Euro Rocker Shoes Score for Spain (by Fran Jurga with Hans Castelijns, Erin Ryder, and many others)
On the Case with Austin Edens: Engineering Prevention of Support Limb Laminitis with a Removable Clog Screwed to a Shoe
Motorcycle race image courtesy of Flickr user Phil Parsons.
|Begins 25 April...runs til the back room is empty! |
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