Effect of hoof trimming and shoeing on gait and lameness in horses


To correlate gait changes with pre and post-shoeing hoof measurements in normal and lame horses.


The effect of placing horseshoes on a horse's hooves and on its gait typically relies on the farrier’s experience rather than a precise science. The recent use of inertial sensory systems (accelerometers) to evaluate movement in lame horses allows us to measure changes in the horse’s gait after nerve blocks and shoeing. Use of x-rays and photographs of the foot also allows us to measure the hoof as it relates to gait. In this study, we will measure hooves using photographs and other means before shoe removal and after hoof trimming with shoe application to compare farrier accuracy in maintaining hoof balance and to assess any change in gait before and after resetting horseshoes. Developing a measurement system may help farriers to apply consistent hoof trimming during routine hoof care.


  • Adult (>3 years of age) horses with and without lameness

Note: This study takes place at the Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, VA.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Lameness that would prevent the horse from being able to trot
  • Any other medical condition that would affect results

Study Design

Enrolled horses will have their weight recorded. Gait will be analyzed at walk and trot visually and with the Lameness Locator, and hoof conformation will be recorded with a digital camera. Radiographs will be completed to determine the bone alignment. Trimming and resetting the shoes will be completed, and all measurements repeated.


Gait analysis and other study procedures will be provided at no cost.


Maureen Kelleher, Clinical Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine and Surgery
Phone: 703.771.6800 | Email: mkell71@vt.edu