Dr. Sarah Jane Hobbs

Dr. Sarah Jane Hobbs

Reader in Equine and Human Biomechanics

School of Sport and Health Sciences

Darwin Building, DB201

+44 (0) 1772 89 3328


Subject Areas: Sport and Exercise Science

Dr Hobbs is employed at the university as a Reader in Equine and Human Biomechanics and she teaches biomechanics at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. She 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.

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Dr Hobbs gained her PhD in 2007 in equine biomechanics. Her work involved developing instrumentation to measure internal hoof strain and using 3D motion capture techniques to track motion of the horse's forelimb. Since then she has developed a number of important collaborative links with equine research centres around the world. Her international collaborative work includes studies investigating fundamental aspects of balance and stability, exploring the functional consequences of uneven fore hooves, and exploring methods of analysing continuous gait data. Her recent doctoral graduates have investigated hoof growth in foals (Dr Simon Curtis), muscle activity in jumping horses (Dr Lindsay St George) and the effects on gait of an abrupt change in surface (Dr Dani Holt). Her work on surfaces with the RACES team lead to the development of the FEI Equine Surfaces White Paper and since then she has worked with an international team from Kentucky, Sweden and France to develop a complete set of protocols for the certification of showjumping competition surfaces for the FEI.

Most recently, Dr Hobbs has begun to lead a team of experts on a project to investigate the relationship between impairment, functional ability and performance in Para-Equestrian dressage riders for the FEI. This project will lead to the development of evidence-based recommendations to support/refine the current Para-Equestrian Classification system. Dr Hobbs is also a REF manager for Unit of Assessment 24 for REF 2021, a research degrees tutor for the School of Sport and Health Sciences, and she module leads and teaches students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In her teaching, Dr Hobbs usually incorporates aspects of horse and rider biomechanics and many of the techniques and theory that are used in her research work are directly transferrable to the applied biomechanics modules she delivers.

  • Doctor of Philosophy, UCLan (2007)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Research Supervision, UCLan (2009)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE, UCLan (2002)
  • BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering - First Class, UCLan (2000)


… Hobbs, S.J., Nauwelaerts, S., Sinclair, J., Clayton, H.M., Back, W. (2018). Sagittal plane fore hoof unevenness is associated with fore and hindlimb asymmetrical force vectors in the sagittal and frontal planes. PLOS ONE, 13 (8). e0203134.

…Clayton, H.M. and Hobbs, S.J. (2017). An exploration of strategies used by dressage horses to control moments around the center of mass when performing passage. PeerJ, 5. e3866.

… Hernlund, E., Egenvall, A., Hobbs, S.J., Peterson, M.L., Northrop, A.J., Bergh, A., Martin, J.H. and Roepstorff, L. (2017) Comparing subjective and objective evaluation of show jumping competition and warm-up arena surfaces. The Veterinary Journal, 227: 49-57. ISSN 1090-023.

… Hobbs, S.J., Bertram, J. and Clayton, H.M. (2016). An exploration of the influence of diagonal dissociation and moderate changes in speed on locomotor parameters in trotting horses. PeerJ 4:e2190 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2190

Research Activities

Research topics:

  • Kinetics and kinematics of equine gait
  • Equine surface mechanics and hoof-horse-surface interactions
  • Muscle activity during  movement
  • Rider posture, flexibility, strength and balance and horse/rider interactions
  • Hoof structure, growth and mechanics

Postgraduate supervision and examinations:

  • Currently supervising 1 MPhil/PhD and 3 MSc by Research
  • Successful completions 6 MPhil/PhD (5 as DoS) and 6 MSc by Research completions (5 as DoS)
  • Internal examiner for 3 PhD, 1 MD and 2 MSc.
  • External examiner for 1 PhD by publication (University of Bristol) and 1 MSc (University of Edinburgh).


  • The relationship between impairment, functional ability and performance in Para-Equestrian dressage riders: evidence-based recommendations for revising current Para-Equestrian Classification systems (FEI Classification project)
  • Track-in-a-box testing of a prototype surface (Synergy Synthetic Surfaces Ltd)
  • Development of certification protocols for showjumping competition surfaces (FEI Footing project)
  • Effects of temperature on the functional properties of artificial racing surfaces (with RACES for HBLB small grants)
  • Evaluation of a prototype fetlock boot for rehabilitation (Tufts Cummings Veterinary University)
  • Evaluation of a prototype product to reduce hoof slip on slippery surfaces (Equestrian Solutions)
  • Measurement and evaluation of the arena surface designed for London 2012 (with RACES for Andrews Bowen Ltd)
  • Acquisition of equine kinematic data to assist the design of a jumping simulator (Racewood Ltd)

Teaching activities

  • Applied Biomechanics
  • Biomechanics of Posture and Injury in Sport
  • Advanced practitioner skills for sport & exercise scientists

External Activities

  • Advisory Committee Member (Racetrack Superintendent Certification, USA)
  • FEI Scientific Committee Member (Footing project)
  • Review panel (Equine Veterinary Journal)


  • Member of BASES (British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences)


Invited Speaker

  • 2017: SJ Arena Certification Procedures; FEI Footing Meeting. FEI Headquarters, Lausanne, Switzerland, May 2018.
  • 2017: 1) Functional consequences of uneven feet, 2) Effect of dissociation on balance, 3) The effects of loading on hoof shape in Thoroughbred foals (with Dr Curtis). International Hoof Care Summit, Cincinnati, Jan 2017.
  • 2017: Arena Certification Process; FEI Footing Meeting. FEI Headquarters, Lausanne, Switzerland, Jan 2017.
  • 2016: 1) Hoof ground interaction, 2) Injuries in relation to equine surfaces, 3) Arena principles for performance. ProVeto Equine Conference, Arnhem, Holland, Nov 2016.
  • 2016: Functional locomotor consequences of uneven feet. Handmade Shoes, Leighton Buzzard, UK, Nov 2016.
  • 2016: Hoof ground interaction. Myerscough Research Conference, Lancs, UK, Nov 2016.
  • 2016: Locomotion on circles. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, May 2016.
  • 2016: Improving Sports Horse Performance. Leahurst, Liverpool, UK, Feb 2016.
  • 2015: Arena Certification Process; FEI Footing Meeting. FEI Headquarters, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 2015.
  • 2014: Invited speaker at; Feet and Footing: the science behind arena surface recommendations to the FEI to prevent equine injury, University of Maine.
  • 2013: Myerscough Research Conference, Lancs, invited speaker on the Equine Surfaces White Paper.
  • 2013: Myerscough Mustad Conference, Lancs, invited speaker on the influence of footing on hoof mechanics.
  • 2011: Myerscough Research Conference, Lancs, invited speaker on standing and reaching balance in horse riders.
  • 2011: Alltech Conference, Hartpury College, keynote speaker on lower limb biomechanics.
  • 2011: Havemeyer Symposium, invited speaker on torque about the centre of mass in horses, New Orleans, USA.
  • 2006: Havemeyer Symposium, invited speaker on the development of 3D kinematic measurement techniques for horses, Costa Rica.