Keeping the years at bay: How to prolong a horse’s active days *H&H Plus*

Advances in veterinary medicine are helping us to keep horses healthier, for longer. Andrea Oakes discovers how we can eke out the active years

On the hoof

A slower metabolism due to ageing can trigger health changes, including deterioration in hoof horn quality. Master farrier Ben Benson AWCF says that modern materials can create protection for thin soles, but the biggest step forward has been a growing understanding of podiatry – the anatomy and function of the foot.

“Knowing more about the mechanics of disease pathology allows us to reverse-engineer the problem,” says Ben, alluding to specialist shoes that can help with issues such as navicular or arthritic coffin joints. “Mobile gait analysis systems, such as the Werkman Black, allow benchmarking of a horse’s foot flight and landing pattern, so that we can identify small changes and make adjustments.”