As you peruse these images you might perhaps consider some of the following questions I posted in the Facebook comments concerning the original EasyCare Newsletter article earlier here.

Here is a shod horse in our Bryce Canyon XP Ride study. This photo was taken the day before the ride. This horse went on to succesfully complete the 50-mile ride with a mid-pack completion. IMO – this was amongst, if not the, best shod of horses in the competition.

This is the thermograph of the same hoof – the near fore – taken at the same time as the previous photo. This is before the ride. You will notice the heat pattern is the same as the pre-work image of the show horse used in the EasyCare Newsletter article despite, for a shod horse, a short hoof capsule.

This thermograph was taken immediately after the final vetting once the horse had completed the 50mile ride. The temperature scale is the same (20-25 degrees celsius) as the pre-ride thermograph. As is obvious, without adjusting the temperature scale to take into account the warmer ground, ambient and body temperatures, you don’t get much info from this thermograph. This is one of the reasons that you can not simply compare thermographs from different horses, at different times, in different locations and draw meaningful conclusions. Instead, you have to collect enough data to discern meaningful trends.

This is the same, post-ride thermograph but adjusted upwards on the temperature scale. Again, the majority of the hoof is extremely hot. Compare this post-work image with the post-work images of the bare and shod horses in the EasyCare Newsletter article. What are the similarities and what are the differences? 
  • Do you think that the heat pattern in the shod hoof is a result of the shoe, of the long hoof capsule, or a combination of both?
  • Do you think the hot top half of the hoof capsule pre-work and the hot entire hoof capsule post-work reflects friction or inflammation?
  • If inflammation, is that laminitis?
  • How can you distinguish between inflammation and circulation?
  • Is the cold section of the shod hoof pre-work a pathology or simply a reflection of a lack of vasculature in an overgrown hoof wall?
  • If heat is simply a reflection of blood flow, what is the blood flow for: nutrition, heat dissipation, shock absorption?
  • Could you have predicted these images given that blood flow into a shod horse is faster and more intense but less perfuse?
  • If so, why were all the comments predicting shod feet would be cold?
  • If blood flow is not perfuse in a shod horse and blood was either primarily or secondarily a cooling system (as opposed to a shock absorbing mechanism or a nutrient delivery system), might we expect shod feet to become increasingly hot with work?
  • And what does the heat pattern of the barefoot horse actually suggest to you?

Please comment with your ideas, speculations and criticisms.

Duncan McLaughlin