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  • Author or Editor: David V. Hutton x
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Objective—To define relationships between hoofacceleration patterns of galloping horses and dynamic properties of the track.

Animals—8 Thoroughbred horses without lameness.

Procedure—Acceleration-time curves were recorded by use of accelerometers attached to each hoof as each horse galloped over the track straightaway. Four sessions were conducted for each horse, with the track surface modified by sequentially adding water before each session. These acceleration-time curves were analyzed to determine peak accelerations during the support phase of the stride. Track dynamic properties (hardness, rebound, deceleration rate, rebound rate, and penetration) were recorded with a track-testing device. Moisture content and dry density were measured from soil samples. Stepwise multiple regression was used to identify relationships between hoof-acceleration variables and track dynamic properties.

Results—Track rebound rate was most consistently related to hoof variables, especially through an inverse relationship with negative acceleration peaks for all hooves. Also, rebound rate was related to initial acceleration peak during propulsion of the hooves of the forelimb and the nonlead hind limb as well as to the second acceleration peak during propulsion of the lead hooves of the hind limb and nonlead forelimb.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The inverse relationship between track rebound rate and negative acceleration peaks for all hooves reflects the most important dynamic property of a track. Any factor that reduces negative acceleration of the hooves will increase stride efficiency by allowing smoother transition from retardation to propulsion and therefore may be important in determining the safety of racing surfaces. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:589–595)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research