Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Video U: Watch the UMaine Conference "The Science Behind the FEI White Paper on Equine Arena Surfaces"

On December 7, 2014, a very special seminar took place at the University of Maine at Orono's Witter Farm. You'll wish you had been there. The conference was titled, "For Veterinarians and Farriers - The Science Behind the FEI White Paper on Equine Arena Surfaces."

But maybe it's not too late: we can bring the conference to you.

Videos of the presentations that took place during the conference are now shared with you through the Hoof Blog, so you can actually "attend" this important conference. You can sit down and watch them all at once, or you can watch them one by one, at your leisure.

Two of the speakers were authors of the FEI publication and a third is a leading researcher who has contributed to racetrack surface research.

These videos are provided with the cooperation of Robert C. Causey DVM, PhD, DipACT, Associate Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University, and Ryan Cota, who made the videos.

How to get the most out of "attending" the conference five weeks after it took place:

1. Download (and read) the FEI Equine Surfaces White Paper (2014); speakers Hobbs and Peterson were among the authors of that important and unprecedented document.

2. Set aside either a block of time to watch all the videos or  watch them one at a time. You can watch them here on the blog page or on YouTube. You may want to watch them on YouTube in full screen mode to see the slides better.

3. Watching the videos with someone else may make it easier to discuss something you don't understand, and it will be interesting to have another person's opinion of the content. Or, use these videos as a program for a gathering or meeting, but realize that you will need to have a good sound system to compensate for the audio.

4. Exporting the video to a larger screen, such as a flat screen tv or cinema monitor, is ideal.

5. Additional download links are at the end of this article.

6. If you enjoy the videos, please leave a comment on Ryan Cota's YouTube channel and let him know that his hard work was appreciated. Thanks!

The lectures and lecturers on these videos, linked to YouTube if you prefer to watch them there should be watched in this order:

1. Feet and Footing -- Sarah Jane Hobbs  (University of Central Lancashire)

2.  Feet and Footing -- Jeff Thomason (Ontario Veterinary College)

3. Feet and Footing -- Michael "Mick" Peterson (University of Maine)

4. Feet and Footing -- Arena Testing Clip (demonstration of arena testing equipment)

The sound quality is not ideal if you are trying to listen on a phone; if you have some adjustments, you should be able to manipulate both the volume level on the bottom of the YouTube control panel and on your computer or phone so you can hear it. The audio improves as the video proceeds and people quiet down.

If you have never been to the University of Maine's Witter Farm, it is one of the best-kept secrets in the horse world, and well worth the drive to the far corner of the United States for a visit. It's a great place for a meeting.

Sarah Jane Hobbs, PhD is employed at the University of Central Lancashire in England as a Reader in Equine Biomechanics. She teaches biomechanics at postgraduate and undergraduate levels and is the research lead in equine biomechanics at the university and as such is responsible for development of local and international equine research collaborations. She is also the lead for the Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES) team at UCLan. Dr Hobbs was the lead author of the FEI Equine Surfaces White Paper.

Jeff Thomason, PhD is Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario, where he conducts research specializing in equine hoof anatomy and mechanics. His research goal is to understand the mechanics of the hoof at a level necessary to be able to predict changes in stress and strain in the materials of the hoof resulting from changes in hoof shape and loading.

Michael “Mick” Peterson, PhD is Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and the Libra Foundation Professor for the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. Dr. Peterson's passion for understanding racing surfaces has led him to research the surfaces of various synthetic and traditional Thoroughbred, Quarter horse and Standardbred tracks as well as dog tracks. He has published over 50 journal articles, a book chapter, more than 150 conference proceedings and conferences papers and has received three patents.

About the FEI Equine Surfaces White Paper:

The Equine Surfaces White Paper is the world’s most extensive study to date into the effect of arena surfaces on the orthopedic health of sport horses in the seven FEI disciplines and in racing. It was published by the FEI in 2014 and is the result of a four-year collaboration between eight equine experts from six universities, three equine and racing-specific research and testing centers and two horse charities. The participants were in Sweden, the UK and the United States.

The white paper brings together the latest data and published scientific papers on arena and turf surfaces, and the effects these have on horses in training and in competition.

Key properties of footing, and the effects of footing on horses’ physiological and biomechanical responses, are described in the white paper, as well as the optimal composition, construction and maintenance of arenas for maximizing equine performance while minimizing injury risk.

Current methods of measuring the physical properties of surfaces, and the essential surface preparation and maintenance techniques, are also discussed in the white paper in terms easily understood by riders, trainers, course designers and arena builders, in order to guide future progress in providing suitable competition and training surfaces for sport horses.

The Equine Surfaces White Paper is the biggest international collaboration of its kind, and is vital to understanding how surfaces work in order to reduce injury risks to horses,” said John McEwen, FEI 1st Vice President and Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. “Now, thanks to scientific research, and extensive support and partnership between welfare charities and horse sport, we can fully understand how the right surfaces, with the necessary preparation and ongoing maintenance, can extend the working lives of sport horses and produce the best performances.”

The white paper has been funded by the FEI, World Horse Welfare, the Swedish Foundation for Equine Research and the British Equestrian Federation.

Lars Roepstorff, Professor of functional anatomy of domestic animals at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, said, “We now have the latest scientific knowledge on equine surfaces contained in one place, thanks to an intensive global effort over several years.

The Equine Surfaces White Paper is a living document, and we will continue to update it as we develop our knowledge on surfaces and their influence on horse performance and soundness with new scientific studies and surface data, which is absolutely key as horse sport continues to grow around the world.”

The Equine Surfaces White Paper has benefitted from the input of the following authors:

Sarah Jane Hobbs, PhD, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Alison J. Northrop, MSc, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Christie Mahaffey, PhD, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, USA
Jaime H. Martin, PhD, Myerscough College, UK
Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, Michigan State University, USA
Rachel Murray, MA VetMB MS PhD, MRCVS, Animal Health Trust, UK
Lars Roepstorff, DVM, PhD, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Michael “Mick” Peterson, PhD, University of Maine, USA

To learn more:

Download the 2014 English translation of an additional resource, the Swedish Equestrian Federation's document Equestrian Surfaces--A Guide 

Download the June 2011 Grayson Jockey Club Foundation's "Racing Surfaces" White Paper; speakers Peterson and Thomason were among the authors of that paper.

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