Importance & influencing factors
The importance of healthy hooves and their impact on the overall wellbeing of the horse has been the subject of numerous scientific research studies that are widely and well understood among professionals in the equine industry.
The hoof is not a rigid structure, it is a highly flexible and adaptable structure. In barefoot movement the hoof undergoes a 3-dimensional self-reversing deformation. This is the "hoof mechanism" which functions best with a healthy hoof and in turn improves the hoof and horse health by:
(a) stimulating blood circulation through the hoof and limb
(b) ensuring good hoof horn quality and growth,
(c) increasing shock absorption at impact
(d) maintaining natural biomechanics of the lower limb.
The continuous interaction between these 5 factors in turn creates a sustainable system for long term health of the horse.
Once you understand the importance of this system and how it works, it will become clear that, under certain circumstances, when protect of the hoof is needed, it needs to allow the natural hoof mechanism to function properly.
Click on graph to enlarge
The Hoof Mechanism is the 3-dimensional, elastic (i.e. self-reversing) deformation of the hoof that takes place during movement (loading and unloading of the foot/limb). The importance of a properly functioning hoof mechanism cannot be underestimated as it is critical for proper blood circulation, hoof horn growth and quality, shock absorption, and biomechanics of the distal limb.
Applying traditional shoes with nails or glue restricts the hoof mechanism and predisposes the horse to injury and poor hoof health, impacting the overall health of the horse. In unshod/barefoot condition and horses shod with Twin™ Shoes, the hoof mechanism can function normally i.e. unrestricted.
The horse foot is a vascular structure in which the expansion and contraction of the hoof during movement work as an additional heart, supporting the function and workload of the true heart and the systemic circulation. The local blood circulation to and in the foot plays a key role in
controlling the temperature of the foot,
providing nutrition and oxygen and disposing waste products for better hoof growth and quality and
absorbing impact shock when the foot hits the ground.
The Twin™ Shoe provides all these benefits of proper blood circulation to and in the foot by allowing the pumping effect of the natural hoof mechanism to take place.
Hoof Growth, Quality and Shape.
Due to the ability of the hoof to dampen the force of the horse's weight when the limb hits the ground, the hoof is one of the most important structures related to soundness in the horse. Hoof Growth, Quality, Shape and Function as such become important factors as they often affect the health and the usefulness of the horse and have practical implications for farriers and veterinarians in terms of growing out lesions and allowing proper trimming and nailing.
Applying traditional shoes restricts the Hoof Growth and weakens the hoof wall. In addition, traditional shoes can cause uneven wear of the hoof. In unshod/barefoot condition and with horses shod with Twin™ Shoes, the Hoof Growth and Quality is not affected and the hoof remains more balanced throughout the trimming/shoeing cycle.
The hoof is the major shock absorbing structure of the body. During landing, the distal limb undergoes a shock which is exacerbated by the speed of locomotion and the weight of the rider. A healthy and normal functioning hoof is able to absorb +/- 67% (two-thirds) of this impact shock.
The shock absorption is maximized when the heel expands, which takes place with a proper functioning hoof mechanism and blood circulation. Maximizing shock absorption by the hoof protects the lower limb bones and joints against injury. Because the Twin™ Shoe, as with barefoot, does not restrict heel expansion, the shock absorption capacity of the natural hoof is maintained. As such the Twin™ Shoe provides good shock absorption independent of the material it is made of and reduces the forces placed upon the bones and joints at impact.
The hoof, together with the joints, tendons and ligaments provide flexibility of the lower limb. A diminished function of one of these components increases the loading on others, possibly exceeding the normal physiological capacity and therefore leading to injury. The Twin™ Shoe protects these lower limb structures (joints, tendons, ligaments) by allowing the natural flexibility of the hoof to take place.
Bartek Equine LLC