Pony gets custom 3D-printed ‘horse-thotic’ shoes for Christmas
3D-printed shoes custom-fit to your horse may be the key to stamping out chronic lameness issues.
[top image: CSIRO]
Remember the superlight 3D-printed racing shoes created just a few months ago? Well, the scientists of Australia’s national science research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, are at it again — this time, with a set of custom-printed ‘horse-thotic’ shoes for a pony with laminitis.
Holly the 10-year-old pony had been suffering from laminitis for three years, and when vet and farrier Dr. Luke Wells-Smith heard about the 3D-printed racing shoes, he realized an additional use for the technology — customized horseshoes mapped out with a 3D scanner and printed on-demand to treat soundness issues.
“We wanted a shoe that gave that foot some elevation at the heel, but we also wanted it to break over easy so when the horse steps, there’s a nice, fluid, rolling motion. When we looked at the X-ray, looked at the horse, and designed the shoe, it was all around these parameters.”
Laminitis is hard and often expensive to treat, especially for cases like Holly’s where it has gone on for so long. However, Dr. Wells-Smith is positive on Holly’s prognosis.
“Christmas is looking a lot merrier for Holly this year. She should be walking normally and without pain in just a few weeks,” said Dr. Wells-Smith.
Could this mark a new era of customized shoes to help sporthorses perform their best, or to rehabilitate hoof issues? The report did not specify the cost of Holly’s shoes, but if the $600 set of 3D-printed racing shoes are any indication, they probably didn’t come cheap. However, as 3D printing becomes faster and more mainstream, one day your farrier might unveil a scanner and 3D printer in the back of his truck.
For more on the story, see CSIRO’s video on Youtube:
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