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10th August 2011


New Research Project from RIRDC

 Article from RIRDC July 2011 issue

 Measuring The Interaction Between Hoof And Track Surface

 Researchers: Jonathan Merritt and Dr Helen Davis, University of Melbourne and Dr Hilary Clayton, Michigan State University.

A new study commissioned by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Horse Programme aims to improve the methods that are used to classify training and racing surfaces. The ability to measure hoof biomechanical performance under full racing conditions will be a world first and will complement ongoing work in the laboratory to identify ways of preventing breakdown and improving performance in Thoroughbred horses.

Substantial financial investment is involved in the construction and maintenance of racetrack surfaces used for training and racing. Track conditions are known to have a significant impact upon both racing performance and the incidence of injuries. However the details of interactions between track and surface and racing biomechanics are poorly understood.

Objectives of the research include measuring what happens to the hoof as it hits different types of surfaces, including impact acceleration, ground penetration, slip distance and limb penetration load on different tracks under varying conditions. It will relate the parameters to existing methods of track surface measurement and make recommendations for alternative methods of track surface measurement.

The research will use recently developed miniature instruments built in to horseshoes to measure the interaction between the hoof and the track surface. Unlike previous models, which have been bulky and unsuitable for widespread use, these shoes are designed to have the same size, shape and weight as aluminium racing shoes.

The project is expected to be completed at the end of 2012.

Article from RIRDC July 2011 issue