Effect of mechanical loading on equine hoof wall miminum principal strains
This thesis is an investigation of [epsilon]FEmin in a model of an equine hoof wall, to test the ability of a sophisticated model to recreate the mechanical behaviour of individual hooves 'in vivo,' and therefore, to improve our understanding of normal hoof function. The right front hoof of each horse was strain gauged in order to measure [epsilon] EXPmin in the hoof wall during a trot for validation purposes. Magnetic resonance (MR) scans, obtained by scanning the right front hoof of each horse before and after the clinical trial, revealed the external and internal anatomical structures of the hoof. Creating the models involved extracting and reverse engineering individual anatomical structures of the hoof from MR scans into digital volumes. Assembling the digital structures and aligning them according to their orientation, recreated a digital equine hoof. Boundary conditions for FEM included a reaction force equivalent to 1.7 times body weight applied to the track surface, rotational and translational constraints at the distal phalanx joint and friction between the equine hoof wall and the track surface. [epsilon]FEmin were on average 11% less than [epsilon]EXPmin at the lateral location, 32% greater at the toe location and 1% greater at the medial location.