A greater knowledge of the biomechanics is necessary in equine orthopaedics, therapeutics, farriery and for the selection of athletic horses. The purpose of this study was to determine the normal distribution of the vertical component of the hoof force using a measuring boot. The measurements were carried out using 20 sound horses walking and trotting on a straight hard track. A force measuring horseshoe, attached to the foot with a boot, provided continuous recording of vertical forces at four locations on the hoof. For each measuring location, a computer program produced curves and calculated gait and force parameters. The position of the resultant force moved cranially during the stance phase. The vertical component was not distributed uniformly over the whole hoof surface. Thus the mechanical loading was greater in the caudal area than in the cranial area, especially after the foot impact on the ground. It was concluded that the heels and the quarters seemed to take a prominent part in dampening concussion and supporting bodyweight. More investigations are necessary to establish the relationships between the two functions and the frequent pathology of the caudal region of the foot.