Celeste Wilkins, PhD

I'm a biomechanist. I deliver valuable, science-backed data to athletes and their coaches to empower their performance.
I bring the lab to the athletes, using cutting-edge technology.

Current Projects

Horse-rider coordination during equestrian performance tasks

This collaboration with Dr Franky Mulloy (University of Lincoln) and Asst. Prof Valentina Camomilla (University of Rome ‘Foro Italico’) is examining how rider and horse coordinate during a variety of tasks, such as transitions between gaits, circles, jumping and lateral work. 

Horses are notoriously hard to get into a gait lab, so this project has used inertial measurement units (sensors) to capture horses and riders in riding arenas. 

Commercial athlete testing for high-performance clubs and individuals

I am based in the Hartpury Human Performance Labs. I work with athletes and coaches to deliver data supporting performance, return to play following injury, and pre-season screening. I use a range of measurement tools such as ForceDecks, XSENS, Qualisys optical motion capture, Bertec force plates, and Delsys EMG. I have produced custom-made reports, that are generated on-demand from my MATLAB analysis pipelines.

Commercial Equestrian Rider Performance Analysis using XSENS

I offer rider performance sessions on the Racewood Eventing Simulator at Hartpury University Rider Performance Centre (Hartpury, UK). I have developed analysis software that generates key metrics for rider performance, including harmony, symmetry and regularity. 

If you’re interested in booking a session, please click here for more information.


Current/ongoing projects

Biomechanical factors that influence paralympic classification in para-dressage

Collaboration with University of Central Lanacashire. 

This project aims to provide an evidence base for athlete classification in Para Dressage. Project funded by the FEI (international equestrian federation).

Changes in lower-limb coordination with maturation in children on trampolines

Collaboration with the University of Lincoln.

I am contributing to the analysis of data to ascertain how individuals interact with sporting equipment, applying innovative biomechanical approach to trampoline use

Kinematics and kinetics of band-assisted countermovement and squat jumps

Collaboration with Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

I led data collection for a project in collaboration with Dr John Fernandes to assess overspeed training with banded jumps on ForceDecks force platforms. 

Read the manuscript here

Development of sensor technology to monitor performance in equestrian sport

Collaboration with University of Rome ‘Foro Italico’ and the University of Lincoln. 

I am the principal investigator on a project to create valid in-field methods of analysing the interaction between horse and rider, and rider-equipment interaction using inertial measurement units, in collaboration with Associate Prof Valentina Camomilla (University of Rome). I was awarded internal funding to conduct data analysis at University of Rome in April 2023.

Previous Projects & Published Work

Equestrian rider trunk-pelvis strategies can be identified using self-organising maps

2022 International Society of Biomechanics in Sport abstract. Different strategies of trunk-pelvis rotation during simulated sitting trot were identified using Self-Organising Maps. Read here

Coordination variability reveals the features of the ‘independent seat’in competitive dressage riders

Collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University. 

Coordination variability measures showed that elite riders stabilise their pelvis during simulated sitting trot, but allow movement at their extremities. Read here

Assessing the effects of the EquiAmi training aid on the kinematics of the walk and trot in-hand

Student masters’ project examining horse-equipment interaction of a common training tool. Read here.

Assessing the sport-specific and functional characteristics of back pain in horse riders

Collaboration the University of Antwerp.

Assessing the relationship between functional movement tests and rider back pain in competitive riders. Read here

Static pelvic posture is not related to dynamic pelvic tilt or competition level in dressage riders

Assessment of the relationship between pelvic posture and dynamic pelvic ranges of motion in dressage riders on a riding simulator. Read here.


I am available for biomechanics consultancy, from product development, to performance analysis. My previous projects have included:

thailand national equestrian
Performance Analysis for Thaliand National Team Dressage Riders
Developing a technical model for Downhill MTB with Redbull S&C Coach
Product development for national saddle brand

Interested in how I can help you or your athletes succeed? Get in touch here.

Awards and Media

Winner: XSENS Biomechanics Challenge 2021

BBC's Blue Peter

BBC's Operation Ouch

Pre-PhD career


2017-2018 Science Content Writer, Athletigen Technologies, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

I translated peer-reviewed genetic information into actionable insights for athletes and coaches. 


2015-2016 Marketing Executive, Equinome, Dublin, Ireland

I marketed genetic testing products and services to the international horse racing industry. 

horse&rider mag

2014-2015 Staff Writer, Horse&Rider Magazine, Surrey, UK 

I wrote features and conducted interviews for an international horse magazine. 


2018-2021 Doctor of Philosophy in Sports Biomechanics, University of the West of England

Fully-funded PhD entitled Dynamic Technique Analysis of the Female Equestrian RiderThesis available here


2012-2014 MSc Applied Equine Science, The Royal Agricultural University

Applied life science Master’s degree. Master’s thesis examining the contribution of a genetic variant to showjumping performance in horses. 


2009-2012 BSc (Hons) Equine Science, University of the West of England

Final year project examining kinematics, using optical motion capture, of horses walking and trotting on a straight line and a circle.