Reseach Zeros in on Racetrack Surfaces

Focus of Jockey Club White Paper on hoof-ground interaction has important information for farriers

Among many other factors, it’s clear that careful maintenance of racetrack surfaces is critical.

A recent white paper analyzing the composition, performance and safety of racing surfaces1 contains critical concepts for farriers regarding the interaction between the hoof and the ground at each phase of the footfall and the role of the farrier in influencing that interaction. 

In the paper, the authors’ review of the literature on racetrack safety found that “a common thread underlies the discussion: does a racing surface exist that combines performance and consistency with safety?”

In the “Racing Surfaces White Paper,” the authors identify three areas of inquiry:

  1. Characterization of the interaction of the hoof and the ground.
  2. In-situ (in place) testing of the surface.
  3. Specific characterization of the materials used in the racetrack.

The first of these topics is most likely to be relevant to the hoof-care professional. However, an understanding of the composition of racetrack surfaces and the physical forces at work on these surfaces will help the farrier determine the likely interplay between the foot and the track.

Many Factors Involved

A new white paper takes a hard look at racetrack surfaces and their relationship to horse safety.

The paper identifies various challenges in documenting links between specific racing surfaces and types of injury. One complication is the large number of factors that play into injury occurrence in racehorses. These include, but are not limited to: heel angle, speed, exercise, fatigue, pre-existing disease or mild injury and variability in racing surface (within…

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Christy Corp-Minamiji DMV

Christy Corp-Minamiji is a freelance writer and former large animal veterinary practitioner. She lives in Northern California.

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