Skip to content
Alison Northtop

Alison Northrop

Senior Lecturer

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Alison Northrop is a lecturer on the Equine degree courses: (BSc (Hons) Equine Science, BSc (Hons) Equestrian Psychology and Sports Science, FdSc Sport Horse Management and Coaching and MSc Equine Performance, Health and Welfare. The modules that she currently teaches on include Analysis of Equestrian Performance, Global Equine Sports Industry, Issues, Ethics and Welfare, Optimising Performance and Sports Injury.

Career overview

Alison has spent several years working full-time with performance horses and racehorses in both the UK and New Zealand, prior to furthering her academic career.

Previous lectureships include:

Research areas

Alison’s recent research has centred on the interaction between the horse and the surface it works on and the development of terminology to define the functional properties of synthetic sand-based surfaces used for racetracks and arenas. Alison co-led a two-year consultancy project to help develop the equestrian surfaces used for the London Olympic Games (2010-2012). The successful outcome of this project initiated the development of a consultancy group, Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES) that now consists of a collaboration between Nottingham Trent University and colleagues from The University of Central Lancashire and Myerscough College. Additionally Alison is interested in understanding more about the physiological demands of endurance riding and the effect that rider fitness has on the performance of the horse and has carried out work with the Endurance GB team and Plumpton College.

Current projects

  • Development of guidelines with which to assess equine surfaces for health and performance
  • Spatial and temporal variation in equine surfaces under various conditions
  • The influence that temperature has on both the physical and biomechanical properties of equestrian arenas and racetrack surfaces
  • The physiological demands of riding horses in endurance events
  • The relationship between rider fitness and the influence this has on horse performance

Adviser for PhD students

Denise Hebesberger (Anglia Ruskin University)

Dani Holt (University of Central Lancashire)

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Claudia Wascher, Dr Dan Gordon, Dr Genevieve Williams, Dr Jenna Kiddie, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Vicki Walker, Animal Health Trust, UK
Professor Lars Roepstorff, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Dr Sarah Jane Hobbs, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Professor Mick Peterson, University of Maine, USA

Recent research grants
Enhancing the student experience, engagement and academic performance through involvement in research projects: Learning and Teaching Project Awards. Anglia Ruskin University (2015-2016)  £3 460

Enhancing track safety; managing the effect temperature has on the consistency of all-weather track surfaces in the UK. Small Research Project for the Horserace Betting Levy Board (2016-current) £9700

Consultancy work for the International Federation of Equestrianism to develop guidelines for surfaces used for International Equestrian events in show jumping and dressage: £3 000

Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES)


Comparison of limb kinematics between collected and lengthened (medium/extended) trot in two groups of dressage horses on two different surfaces. Walker VA, Tranquille CA, Newton JR, Dyson SJ, Brandham J, Northrop AJ, Murray RC, Equine Veterinary Journal 2017, 1-8.

Spatial variation of the physical and biomechanical properties within an equestrian arena surface. Northrop AJ, Hobbs SJ, Holt D, Clayton-Smith E, Martin JH, Procedia Engineering, 2016, 147, 866-871.

Comparison of equipment used to measure shear properties in equine arena surfaces. Lewis K, Northrop AJ, Crook GM, Mather J, Martin JH, Holt D, Clayton HM, Roepstorff L, Peterson ML, Hobbs SJ, Biosystems Engineering, 2015, 137, 43-54.

Postural characteristics of female dressage riders using 3D motion analysis and the effects of an athletic taping technique: A randomised control trial. Alexander J, Hobbs SJ, May K, Northrop A, Brigden C, Selfe J, Physical Therapy in Sport, 2015, 16 (2), 154-161.

Use of surface testing device to identify potential risk factors for synthetic equestrian surfaces. Holt D, Northrop AJ, Owen AG, Martin JH, Hobbs SJ, Procedia Engineering, 2014, 72, 949-954.

Equine Surface White Paper. Hobbs SJ, Northrop AJ, Mahaffey C, Martin JH, Clayton HM, Murray R, Roepstorff L, Peterson M, FEI Books, 2014.

The effect of two preparation procedures on an equine arena surface in relation to motion of the hoof and metacarpophalangeal joint. Northrop AJ, Dagg L-A, Martin JH, Brigden CV, Owen AG, Blundell EL, Peterson ML, Hobbs SJ, The Veterinary Journal, 2013, 198 (1), 137-142.

Measuring hoof slip of the leading limb on jump landing over two different equine arena surfaces. Orlande O, Hobbs SJ, Owen A, Martin AJ, Northrop AJ, Comparative Exercise Physiology, 2012, 8 (1), 33-39.

Development of a method to identify foot strike on an arena surface: Application to jump landing. Hobbs SJ, Orlande O, Edmundson CJ, Northrop AJ, Martin JH, Comparative Exercise Physiology, 2010, 7, 19-25.

Related staff