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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Racetrack Surface Research Video: Building a TTD for the Track in a Box at the University of California

3 February 2010 Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at

(Caution: You might want to turn down the volume on your computer before you play this video. The soundtrack is loud!)

This video shows the development and constrution of the University of California, Davis, J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory track-testing device (TTD). The TTD is instrumented with a load cell, accelerometer, and laser displacement sensor, and is used to compare the dynamic properties of Thoroughbred racehorse racetrack surfaces as part of the lab's "Track in a Box " project to simulate racetrack conditions in the laboratory.

The "box" in the lab acan be filled with layers of dirt, stones, asphalt and racetrack surface materials that could include wax, fibers or other materials. A drainage system allows the effects of rain to be testing. The spring-loaded mechanism simulates the impact of pounding hooves up to 100 times the force of gravity while measurements are taken to characterize surface behavior.

The finished TTD positioned over the box

The "Track in a Box" project is the work of Jacob Setterbo, a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group, and Dr. Susan Stover, director of the school’s JD Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory. The project is funded by the Grayson Jockey Club, the Southern California Equine Foundation, and the Center for Equine Health with funds provided by the State of California pari-mutuel fund and contributions by private donors.

I asked Jacob Setterbo about the fact that the TTD contained everything exect a shoe, and wondered about adding a shoe to the TTD, or even using it to test how different shoes load in different footing. Setterbo and Stover worked on a sensor shoe for racetrack testing which was featured on the hoof blog in an article last fall.

"That is a possibility we considered," Setterbo answered. "So the TTD was designed so that a new interface to the load cell can be machined so that a shoe can be added, and things such as toe grabs can be compared. Because we first need to establish the functionality of the TTD we decided to first start with a simple impacting part, which is an aluminum piece which is approximately the same area of the hoof. But the answer is yes, it is possible to modify the TTD to test different shoes."

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to

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