Hoof quality of Anglo-Arabian and Haflinger horses

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Introduction: Foot quality is essential to the horse’s movement. The barefoot approach favours the animal’s welfare. Environment and selection determine hoof characteristics. Material and Methods: Hoof characteristics of eight Anglo-Arabian (AA) and nine Haflinger (HA) horses were studied. After a preliminary visual analysis of feet, nail samples were collected after trimming for physico-chemical analysis. The parameters were submitted to analysis of variance. A principal component analysis and a Pearson correlation were used to compare mineral contents. Results: The hooves of both breeds were healthy and solid. The hooves of HA horses were longer than those of AA horses (14.90 ±0.30 cm vs 13.10 ±0.60 cm), while the AA hoof was harder than the HA hoof both in the wall (74.55 ±2.95 H vs 60.18 ±2.67 H) and sole (67.00 ±5.87 H vs 43.0 ±4.76 H). In comparison with the sole, the AA hoof wall also had a lower moisture percentage (12.56 ±0.67% vs 20.64 ±0.76%), while crude protein and ash contents were similar in both regions. The AA hoof showed a higher Se content, while the HA hoof had a higher level of macroelements. The negative correlations of K with Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, and Zn in the AA hoof may indicate osmoregulation activity. Conclusion: The hoof morphology of AA and HA horses met the literature parameters for mesomorphic horses. Both breeds had healthy and well-conformed hooves, useful for sport and recreation activities.

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