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The effect of horseshoes and surfaces on horse and rider centre of mass displacements at gallop

Horan, Kate; Kourdache, Kieran; Coburn, James; Day, Peter; Carnall, Henry; Harborne, Dan; Brinkley, Liam; Hammond, Lucy; Millard, Sean; Lancaster, Bryony; Pfau, Thilo


Kate Horan

Kieran Kourdache

James Coburn

Peter Day

Henry Carnall

Dan Harborne

Liam Brinkley

Lucy Hammond

Sean Millard

Bryony Lancaster

Thilo Pfau


Horseshoes influence how horses’ hooves interact with different ground surfaces, during the impact, loading and push-off phases of a stride cycle. Consequently, they impact on the biomechanics of horses’ proximal limb segments and upper body. By implication, different shoe and surface combinations could drive changes in the magnitude and stability of movement patterns in horse-jockey dyads. This study aimed to quantify centre of mass (COM) displacements in horse-jockey dyads galloping on turf and artificial tracks in four shoeing conditions: 1) aluminium; 2) barefoot; 3) GluShu; and 4) steel. Thirteen retired racehorses and two jockeys at the British Racing School were recruited for this intervention study. Tri-axial acceleration data were collected close to the COM for the horse (girth) and jockey (kidney-belt), using iPhones (Apple Inc.) equipped with an iOS app (SensorLog, sample rate = 50 Hz). Shoe-surface combinations were tested in a randomized order and horse-jockey pairings remained constant. Tri-axial acceleration data from gallop runs were filtered using bandpass Butterworth filters with cut-off frequencies of 15 Hz and 1 Hz, then integrated for displacement using Matlab. Peak displacement was assessed in both directions (positive ‘maxima’, negative ‘minima’) along the cranio-caudal (CC, positive = forwards), medio-lateral (ML, positive = right) and dorso-ventral (DV, positive = up) axes for all strides with frequency ≥2 Hz (mean = 2.06 Hz). Linear mixed-models determined whether surfaces, shoes or shoe-surface interactions (fixed factors) significantly affected the displacement patterns observed, with day, run and horse-jockey pairs included as random factors; significance was set at p


Horan, K., Kourdache, K., Coburn, J., Day, P., Carnall, H., Harborne, D., …Pfau, T. (2021). The effect of horseshoes and surfaces on horse and rider centre of mass displacements at gallop. PLoS ONE,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 12, 2021
Publication Date Nov 23, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 4, 2022
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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