Alison Northrop

Senior Lecturer in Animal and Environmental Biology

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Department:Animal & Environmental Biology

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Animal and Environmental Biology

Alison's area of expertise broadly comprise of understanding more about the biomechanics and physiology of the horse and rider. Her 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.

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alison.northrop@anglia.ac.uk

Background

Alison graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 1995 with a BSc (Hons) in Biology. She spent six months at Tromsø University investigating the overgrazing of the reindeer herds before travelling to New Zealand to work with performance horses and racehorses for several years. Alison then completed an MSc in Applied Equine Science in 2000 at the Royal Agricultural University and, following this, she gained a lectureship at Myerscough College where she taught and managed the higher education equine degree programmes and the equine research. In 2010 Alison joined Anglia Ruskin University to teach on our animal and equine courses.

Alison co-led a two-year consultancy project to help develop the equestrian surfaces used for the London Olympic Games. The successful outcome of this project initiated the development of a consultancy group, Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES), a collaboration between Anglia, Ruskin University and colleagues from The University of Central Lancashire and Myerscough College. Alison has also built research links with Prof Mick Peterson from the University of Maine and Prof Lars Roepstorff at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

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. Recent work has involved Alison and colleagues working with the Endurance GB team and Plumpton College to investigate this further.

Research interests

  • Spatial and temporal variation in equine surfaces
  • Equine surfaces and its effect on the horse-hoof-surface interaction
  • The physiological demands of riding horses in endurance events
  • The relationship between rider fitness and the influence this has on horse performance

Areas of research supervision

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  • Alterations in equine limb stiffness as a function of surface stiffness
  • The mechanics of equine surfaces and the associated interaction of the horse
  • Rider fitness and how this effects horse performance and welfare

Alison is a member of our Animal and Environment Research Group.

Teaching

  • Animal Behaviour; Equine Science with Rehabilitation Therapies; Zoology

Qualifications

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE, University of Central Lancashire, 2001
  • MSc Applied Equine Science, Royal Agricultural University, 2000
  • BSc (Hons) Biology and Anthropology, Oxford Brookes University, 1995

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

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Consultancy

Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces (RACES)

Selected recent publications

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

Holt, D., Northrop, A.J., Owen, A. G., Martin, J.H. and Hobbs, S.J., 2014. Use of surface testing device to identify potential risk factors for synthetic equestrian surfaces, Procedia Engineering. 72, pp.949-954.

Hobbs, S.J., Northrop, A.J., Mahaffey, C., Martin, J.H., Clayton, H.M., Murray, R., Roepstorff, L. and Peterson. M., 2014. Equine Surface White Paper, http://www.fei.org/fei/about-fei/publications/fei-books.

Northrop, A.J. , Dagg, L-A, Martin, J.H., Brigden, C.V., Owen, A.G., Blundell, E.L., Peterson, M.L. and Hobbs, S.J., 2013. The effect of two preparation procedures on an equine arena surface in relation to motion of the hoof and metacarpophalangeal joint The Veterinary Journal, 198(1), e137-e142.

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

Hobbs, S.J., Orlande, O., Edmundson, C.J., Northrop, A.J. and Martin, J.H., 2010. Development of a method to identify foot strike on an arena surface: Application to jump landing Comparative Exercise Physiology, 7, pp.19-25.

Recent presentations and conferences

Holt, D., Northrop, A.J., Owen, A.G., Martin, J.H. and Hobbs, S.J., 2014. Use of surface testing device to identify potential risk factors for synthetic equestrian surfaces. The Engineering of Sport 10, 14-17 July 2014, Sheffield, UK (oral presentation).

Northrop, A.J., Martin, J.H., Holt, D., Owen A.G. and Hobbs, S.J., 2014. Development of the equestrian arena surfaces for the 2012 Olympic Games Ninth International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, 15-20 June 2014, Chester, UK (oral presentation).

Holt, D., Northrop, A.J., Martin, J.H., and Hobbs, S.J., 2014. What do riders want from an arena surface? Ninth International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, 15-20 June 2014, Chester, UK.

Dagg L-A., Northrop, A.J., Martin, J.H., Brigden, C., Owen, A.G., Blundell, E. Peterson, M.L. and Hobbs S J., 2012. The Effect of Two Maintenance Procedures on an Equine Arena Surface in Relation to Motion of the Hoof and Metacarpophalangeal Joint International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion25-29 June 2012, Stromsholm, Sweden. 

Dagg, L-A., Northrop, A.J., Martin, J.H., Brigden, C.V., Owen, A.G. and Hobbs, S.J., 2012. Comparison of metacarpophalangeal joint flexion-extension: Agreement between planar and three dimensional methods of calculation from in-field measurement International Conference in Equine Exercise Physiology, Winning Ways, June 2012, Aintree, UK.

Northrop, A.J, Blundell, E., Martin, J.H. and Hobbs, S.J., 2011. Effects of warm up on stride characteristics in the horse; a preliminary study International Society of Equitation Science Annual Conference, 26-29 October 2011, Hoogs Mierde, The Netherlands.

Orlande, O., Hobbs, S.J., Northrop, A.J. and Owen, A.G., 2010. An investigation to measure hoof slip of the leading limb on jump landing over two different equine arena surfaces Eighth International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, 7-12 November 2010, Cape Town, South Africa.

Blundell, E.L., Northrop, A.J., Owen, A.G. and Lumsden, P., 2010. The short and long term changes in mechanical properties of a synthetic equestrian surface International Society of Equitation Science Annual Conference, 31 July-2 August 2010, Sweden.