Road Safety - Challenges :

Tarmac surfaces create particular challenges for ridden horses. Hard and unyielding they have been shown to  send high frequency shock waves back through the limb, leading to bone change and degenerative joint disease, DJD.  Abrasive and becoming more so as they deteriorate, they will readily abrade rubber, steel and horses hooves, leading to excess hoof wear and sensitivity.The introduction of steel slag in to newly laid roads has brought tarmac closer to steel shoes in its material property. Whilst more research is needed, anecdotally this has led to horses slipping more, leading to a loss of confidence and reluctance to move forward. Finally tarmac roads are laid down with a camber to assist surface water to run off. Whilst this design helps to remove this naturally occurring hazard, it also creates an adverse gradient that leads to lateral displacement of the limb and joints during loading.

Road Safety - Solutions:

When it comes to road safety the key challenge to address is maintaining grip and reducing slip. The amount of grip or traction depends upon a number of factors including friction. We can increase friction and therefore grip in three ways that are helpful for road safety:

  • Firstly we can increase the difference in the material properties of the two surfaces in contact with each other, making one significantly harder or softer than the other. Enabling one surface to bite into and abrade the other

  • Secondly we can increase the amount of surface texture, increasing the amount of surface area in contact 

  • Thirdly we can increase the amount of vertical force pushing the two surfaces together

Farriers can design a farriery solution that provides the grip needed to keep riders and horses safe on the road. Including the use of road studs, aluminium and plastic shoes and trimmed solutions.

To find out more about these solutions and how we can work together to support the safety and wellbeing of ridden horses follow the links below:

View Resources :

Follow the links below to view our educational resources on Road Safety. Or if you are part of the Well Equine educational community, go to the Client Log In to access the resources you need on our online learning platform.

Road Safety

Road Safety - Presentation Link

Road Safety -

Presentation Handout Link 

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Road Safety -

Presentation Video  Link

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