Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Clinical Groups: Gait Analysis

Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory

Kate is a Post-doctoral Research Assistant working on equine biomechanics in the Structure and Motion Laboratory.

Kate graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2013 with BA and MSci degrees in Natural Sciences. She went on to complete a PhD in Earth Sciences at Durham University, in which she investigated the links between climate change and the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere during the weathering of rock-derived organic carbon in mountain belts. Alongside her PhD, Kate also studied for an MSc in Equine Science at the University of Edinburgh, an avenue that encouraged her towards her current position at the RVC. In 2018, Kate joined the RVC as a Post-doctoral Research Assistant carrying out research on the Horserace Betting Levy Board grant ‘S.A.F.E.R.’ (Shoe Assessment For Equine Racing) in the Structure and Motion Laboratory. 

Riding racehorses is a high-risk profession and optimising safety is paramount. Horseshoes play a critical role in providing traction with the ground surface and are therefore a major determinant of safety. While in other equestrian disciplines new horseshoe types are embraced rapidly, the use of horseshoes in racing is tightly controlled. Before a new shoe can be accepted, rider safety must be considered but practical and ethical considerations preclude testing of new shoes on live subjects. The current study will: (1) develop and validate a bio-realistic shoe tester that allows standardised assessment of horseshoes on different surfaces and conditions; (2) create a reference for the mechanical behaviour of two different shoe types that will allow the testing and development of new race shoes in the future; and (3) investigate the relationship between objective biomechanical data and jockey opinion as the basis for further studies on the risk taking behaviour of jockeys.

This study is funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

Day, P., Collins, L., Horan, K, Weller, R. and Pfau, T. (2020) The Effect of Tungsten Road Nails on Upper Body Movement Asymmetry in Horses Trotting on Tarmac, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 90, 1–5. doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2020.103000.

Horan, K., Hilton, R.G.,  McCoy-West, A.J.,  Selby, D.,  Tipper, E.T.,  Hawley, S., & Burton, K.W. (2020) Unravelling the controls on the molybdenum isotope ratios of river waters. Geochemical Perspectives Letters, 13, 1–6, doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2005.

Horan, K., Hilton, R.G., Dellinger, M., Tipper, E., Galy, V., Calmels, D., Selby, D., Gaillardet, J., Ottley, C.J., Parsons, D.R., & Burton, K.W. (2019) Carbon dioxide emissions by rock organic carbon oxidation and the net geochemical carbon budget of the Mackenzie River Basin. American Journal of Science, 319, 473–499. doi:10.2475/06.2019.02.

Yang, Li., McCoy-West, A.J., Zhang, S., Selby, D., Burton, K.W., & Horan, K. (2019) Controlling Mechanisms for Molybdenum Isotope Fractionation in Porphyry Deposits: The Qulong Example. Economic Geology, 114(5), 981-992.

Horan, K., Stone, P., & Crowhurst, S. J. (2018) Sedimentary record of Early Permian deglaciation in southern Gondwana from the Falkland Islands. In: Le Heron, D. P., Hogan, K. A., Phillips, E. R., Huuse, M., Busfield, M. E. & Graham, A. G. C. (eds) Glaciated Margins: The Sedimentary and Geophysical Archive. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 475, 131–147.

Horan, K., Hilton, R. G., Selby, D., Ottley, C. J., Gröcke, D. R., Hicks, M., & Burton, K. W. (2017) Mountain glaciation drives rapid oxidation of rock-bound organic carbon. Science Advances, 3(10), 1–8.

Stone, P., & Horan, K. (2016) Early Permian climate change in the Falkland Islands. Geology Today, 32(3), 107–114.

Horan, K. (2015) Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in the Permo-Carboniferous. Springer Earth System Sciences. Springer, Berlin.


Kate has experience as a teaching assistant delivering learning materials to undergraduate students in the classroom, the laboratory and on team-led fieldtrips.

Kate has been an ambassador for STEMnet since 2014, which is an organisation involved with science outreach and communication in the UK. Kate was a student ambassador for Geology for Global Development from 2012-2013 at the University of Cambridge and from 2014-2016 at Durham University. In 2016, Kate was involved with the Climate Exchange Workshop at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. She has also volunteered at several science festivals in Cambridge and Durham. More recently, in May 2017, Kate became a part-time Freelance Scientific Editor for Stallard Scientific Editing, a role that has involved editing scientific manuscripts for non-native English speakers within the geosciences discipline.

Top of page