Imagine your effective body weight when bungee jumping. You reach the bottom of your first jump off a bridge and spring back in the air. Now imagine jumping off that bridge without the bungee cords.....ouch, or should I say, splat!.....your effective body weight upon landing is quite a bit more!
Try standing up straight. Jump vertically. Now jut out your hip to the side and try to jump.
Elastic potential energy allows you to convert the weight of your body in motion into the effective weight of springing. All of your ligaments, tendons and muscles store elastic energy and are designed, when you are moving, to absorb your body weight upon landing and then release your body weight back into the air, somewhat like your own internal trampoline or bungee cord system. When there is a kink in the system, say by jutting your hip to the side, your elastic system is misaligned and cannot function effectively.
What if I told you that the balance of your hoof capsule is what allows the propulsion and suspension of the equine limb to operate effectively? What if I told you that "elastic potential energy," or the buoyancy of the body, results from a columnar association between the hoof capsule and the scapula in the front limb, the hoof capsule and the L-S joint in the hind? What if I told you that the misalignment of this column reduces buoyancy to the degree that you now get 1000 lbs landing on the planet instead of 1000 lbs lifting off the planet at impact? What if I told you that horses that have to compensate for misalignment of this large natural columnar spring via unnatural muscular work are prone to all sorts of lameness and injury? We are concerned with riding, and rightly so, but what about the remaining 23 hours in a day? What is the net benefit of a balanced natural hoof to your horse? Why don't you look at my "natural collection" gallery and you tell me.....
Thank you cal.vet.upenn.edu!