Friday, January 07, 2011

Favorite Rap Video of 2010: Equine Biomechanics Researcher Jacob Setterbo's "Stay in School" Message

Who says engineers can't be creative? Or cool? Score (another) one for Jacob Setterbo, PhD candidate in the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He's been part of the California-based research efforts to find some basic truths about the relationship between galloping horses' legs, hooves and racetracks--and his work there will ultimately mean that some horses' lives will be saved. He will soon receive his doctorate for his efforts in engineering the systems that measure the hoof-track interface.

But he can still have some fun. Jake has volunteered at a local elementary school and came up with the idea for a little rap music video to get kids to connect the dots between thinking what he does in his research is "cool" and the idea that they can do it too...if they just stay in school.

The first time I watched this video I couldn't believe it, and I've been forwarding the link to it to teacher friends ever since. I hope you will do the same, as well as show it to any school-age kids in your social circle.

Jake's backup singers, by the way, are some fifth graders.

For my part, I'd make a very similar one, but I'd be encouraging people to go back to school. It's never too late! In 2010, I spent a week at Michigan State University's McPhail Equine Performance Center taking Dr Hilary Clayton's Equinology class for non-veterinarians on gait analysis and biomechanics.

For me, it was almost better than a week on the beach at St Bart's. True, we just pretended to do research, but it was a hands-on experience with real horses at one of the world's leading centers for equine biomechanics research.

If nothing else, being in the class reminded me of all I don't know about horses, all I need to learn, how much things are changing and the fact that these courses are out there--all you have to do is sign up. You don't have to move away for a seminar or a year, you can try things out first, see how you like it, and spend time with people like Hilary Clayton and her staff and graduate and doctoral candidates, who will have suggestions of what you might do if you want to pursue education goals once you've been out of school for a while. Progams like Equinology are amazing!

Universities are full of comeback kids like you (and maybe even me, someday). Like most things, once you take that first step, the rest seems much easier. Sitting in a lecture seems more natural, and the whole idea is much less intimidating when you're looking at it from the inside than it ever was from the outside.
The Equinology course required pre-arrival anatomy study but it was still a challenge to apply the gait analysis stickers in exact locations. In other words, before we could connect the dots, we had to place the dots, and there's no wiggle room when you're palpating a joint to mark it for gait analysis.  (Sarah Miles photo)
To learn about the 2011 Equinology gait analysis course at Michigan State with Dr Clayton, visit Dr. Barb Crabbe will also offer a course in lameness identification before the gait analysis course; the two courses can be taken together.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. 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
Follow the Hoof Blog on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Join the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page

No comments: