Next Article in Journal
Comparative Growth and Economic Performances between Indigenous Swamp and Murrah Crossbred Buffaloes in Malaysia
Next Article in Special Issue
Speed and Blood Parameters Differ between Arabian and Žemaitukai Horses during Endurance Racing
Previous Article in Journal
Animal Welfare Issues in Capture-Based Aquaculture
Previous Article in Special Issue
Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability of Amateur Show Jumping Horses Competing on Different Levels
Article

Mechanical Effect of Performance Pressure Boots on Cadaveric Equine Hindlimb Fetlock Biomechanics

Shiley School of Engineering, University of Portland, Portland, OR 97203, USA
Academic Editors: Jane M. Williams and Gillian Tabor
Animals 2021, 11(4), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040958
Received: 19 January 2021 / Revised: 22 March 2021 / Accepted: 26 March 2021 / Published: 30 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Equine Training and Rehabilitation)
Pressure boots are performance enhancing equipment used by showjumping horses. Showjumping is scored by knocked down obstacle rails and time. Similar to weighted boots, pressure boots are intended to improve the hindlimb retraction of jumping horses to reduce the likelihood of knocking down rails on course. Manufacturers describe pressure boots as using acupressure to improve a horse’s awareness of their own limbs. However, this mechanism has not been verified within the scientific literature. The size and shape of features on the interior boot surface suggest a mechanical mechanism may affect anatomical structures within the lower limb. This research aims to characterize the mechanical effect of pressure boots by measuring forces and joint angles of cadaveric limbs with and without a pressure boot applied. Cadaveric limbs with a pressure boot applied required greater compressive loads to flex the fetlock joint than limbs without a pressure boot applied. This difference in compressive loads increased with increasing fetlock flexion angle. Differences in limb compressive loads contributed to greater tensile loads of palmar tendons and ligaments, specifically the suspensory apparatus. Greater tensile loading of tendons and ligaments may increase the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury and warrant concern for animal welfare of equine showjumping athletes.
Pressure boots are applied to hind limbs of showjumping horses with the intent to enhance jumping form. Manufacturers claim acupressure points enhance proprioception of hind limbs. With this increased awareness, horses are expected to retract their hind limbs to clear jump rails. This research aimed to investigate a more direct, mechanical effect of pressure boots on hind limb biomechanics. Cadaveric hind limbs (n = 6) were mechanically loaded in axial compression (3 cycles at 0.25 Hz, displacement control ~3300 N) with (2 trials) and without (2 trials) a pressure boot applied. During mechanical loading, fetlock angle was measured using bone fixed pins with retroreflective markers (30 Hz). Changes in limb load and fetlock angle between unloaded and loaded states, as well as average fetlock joint stiffness, were compared between trials with and without the pressure boot via ANOVA. Differences in measured loads between trials with and without the boot were observed in both unloaded (Δ = 6 N, p = 0.05) and loaded states (Δ = 25 N, p = 0.002). Trials with the boot had greater average fetlock stiffness (Δ = 3 N/degree, p = 0.001). Differences in loads with and without boots may increase with greater fetlock angles when cantering and jumping. These mechanical effects of pressure boots may contribute to greater tensile loading of palmar tendons and ligaments, and likelihood of musculoskeletal injury that can be related to animal welfare issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: horse; metatarsophalangeal joint; suspensory ligament; jumping; pressure boots; pinch; flick horse; metatarsophalangeal joint; suspensory ligament; jumping; pressure boots; pinch; flick
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Symons, J. Mechanical Effect of Performance Pressure Boots on Cadaveric Equine Hindlimb Fetlock Biomechanics. Animals 2021, 11, 958. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040958

AMA Style

Symons J. Mechanical Effect of Performance Pressure Boots on Cadaveric Equine Hindlimb Fetlock Biomechanics. Animals. 2021; 11(4):958. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040958

Chicago/Turabian Style

Symons, Jennifer. 2021. "Mechanical Effect of Performance Pressure Boots on Cadaveric Equine Hindlimb Fetlock Biomechanics" Animals 11, no. 4: 958. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040958

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop