bicycle for horses

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Dennis Farr

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Jun 21, 2004, 3:03:45 PM6/21/04
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I posted this last week on some horse sites and got some good advice.
I was wondering if a treadmill could be used to power a wagon and a
horse could be made to operate the treadmill.

I have since found out that horses operated stationary treadmills for
powering machines and ferryboats, but that was almost 200 years ago.

I'm wondering if the technology could be developed that would enable
an ordinary horse and rider to beat Lance Armstrong and/or Smarty
Jones. (I'm thinking 100 relatively flat miles at 35 mph would be a
good goal, better than anything possible by a bicyclist or horse and
rider.) Basic data, a horse weighs around 1000 pounds and can generate
up to 3 horsepower in short bursts. Treadmill would probably have to
be around 10-12 feet long, would need some sort of automatic
transmission to keep the horse operating at it's best speed and keep
it from falling off either end on a hilly road.

On a more practical level, if there are some of you who DON'T think it
would be worthwhile to do this just to see if it could be done, this
could magnify the output of a horse just as a bike magnifies the
output of a human, and in parts of the world where animal power is
still used, it could make peoples' lives better.

I don't own horses, don't know how to weld, don't have any money.
Anybody thinks this is a cool idea, give it a shot and let me know if
it works.

There are lots of challenges, both ergonomic and engineering.

Badger_South

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Jun 21, 2004, 3:21:34 PM6/21/04
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Won't work for two reasons that I can think of.

1. too much weight for the apparatus;
2. four-footed animals use not only their four feet, but also their
midsection at the gallop, which functions like an additional leg or
similar. The mid section contracts and extends adding a lot to the power
and it would be difficult to transfer this power to a treadmill, IMO;
3. lack of proper fit and friction to transfer as much power from the
horse's feet to the treadmill.

OK, that's three reasons... ;-p

-Badger
Oh, and you'd have to change horses well before 100 miles. I think the pony
express riders changed up at like 30 miles or 50 miles, IIRC.

David Kerber

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Jun 21, 2004, 3:32:06 PM6/21/04
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In article <c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com>,
df...@comcast.net says...

> I posted this last week on some horse sites and got some good advice.
> I was wondering if a treadmill could be used to power a wagon and a
> horse could be made to operate the treadmill.
>
> I have since found out that horses operated stationary treadmills for
> powering machines and ferryboats, but that was almost 200 years ago.
>
> I'm wondering if the technology could be developed that would enable
> an ordinary horse and rider to beat Lance Armstrong and/or Smarty
> Jones. (I'm thinking 100 relatively flat miles at 35 mph would be a
> good goal, better than anything possible by a bicyclist or horse and
> rider.) Basic data, a horse weighs around 1000 pounds and can generate
> up to 3 horsepower in short bursts. Treadmill would probably have to
> be around 10-12 feet long, would need some sort of automatic
> transmission to keep the horse operating at it's best speed and keep
> it from falling off either end on a hilly road.
>
> On a more practical level, if there are some of you who DON'T think it
> would be worthwhile to do this just to see if it could be done, this
> could magnify the output of a horse just as a bike magnifies the
> output of a human, and in parts of the world where animal power is
> still used, it could make peoples' lives better.

I think it could work, but don't think you'd get 35 mph out of it for
any length of time. Do some of the math, and figure out how much power
it would take to move 1200 lbs at 35 mph over a typical road, and then
compare that to how much power a horse can put out for 3 hours. I don't
think those numbers will be consistent with each other.

Consider a bicycle: a top human sprinter (Cipo, etc) can put out a
little over 2 hp for a few seconds, and that gets him up to around 50
mph, with a total weight of bike and rider of less than 200 lb. I don't
think you'll get a horse and carriage to 35 for very long, even without
carrying any useful payload.

--
Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in the
newsgroups if possible).

Kyler Laird

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Jun 21, 2004, 5:10:11 PM6/21/04
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Badger_South <Bad...@South.net> writes:

>2. four-footed animals use not only their four feet, but also their
>midsection at the gallop, which functions like an additional leg or
>similar. The mid section contracts and extends adding a lot to the power
>and it would be difficult to transfer this power to a treadmill, IMO;

O.k., I give. How would this power *not* transfer to a treadmill?
Where would it go?

--kyler

Leo Lichtman

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Jun 21, 2004, 10:33:16 PM6/21/04
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"Kyler Laird" <Ky...@news.Lairds.org> wrote: O.k., I give. How would this

power *not* transfer to a treadmill? Where would it go?
^^^^^^^^^^^^
A horse walking on a treadmill could transfer full power to the propulsion
system. But a horse, developing full power (picture a horse at full gallop)
would be out of contact with the treadmill a lot of the time. So, to keep
him from running off the front of the system, you would have to tether him,
and he would end up pulling on a harness. That is what draft horses already
do, except they push against the ground. I believe that is the most
efficient method of drawing power from a horse. And, I believe a rider on
the back of a horse would be using the horsepower more efficiently than any
contrivance you could rig up. A rider at full gallop could surely beat
Lance Armstrong.


Pete

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Jun 21, 2004, 10:37:34 PM6/21/04
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"Leo Lichtman" <l.lic...@worldnet.att.net> wrote

> A rider at full gallop could surely beat
> Lance Armstrong.

Every day for 3 weeks?

Pete


Mike Kruger

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Jun 21, 2004, 11:00:57 PM6/21/04
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"Pete" <p...@usaf.com> wrote in message
news:OXMBc.4021$Il1....@fe1.columbus.rr.com...
How long can a horse sustain a gallop?

Secretariat's time in the Belmont was 2:24 for 1.5 miles, which is about
37.5 miles per hour.
(He won by 31 lengths, and it's one of those records that may stand for a
long time.)

But even Secretariat couldn't maintain anywhere near that pace for many
miles.


Badger_South

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Jun 21, 2004, 11:14:17 PM6/21/04
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On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 21:10:11 GMT, Kyler Laird <Ky...@news.Lairds.org>
wrote:

Because the horse would run off the treadmill, being in the air during that
time.

-B


Kyler Laird

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Jun 22, 2004, 12:10:11 AM6/22/04
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"Leo Lichtman" <l.lic...@worldnet.att.net> writes:

>"Kyler Laird" <Ky...@news.Lairds.org> wrote: O.k., I give. How would this
>power *not* transfer to a treadmill? Where would it go?
>^^^^^^^^^^^^
>A horse walking on a treadmill could transfer full power to the propulsion
>system. But a horse, developing full power (picture a horse at full gallop)
>would be out of contact with the treadmill a lot of the time.

Uh, yeah. But the ground/treadmill is still the only thing against which
the horse can push. The force doesn't go anywhere else.

>So, to keep
>him from running off the front of the system, you would have to tether him,
>and he would end up pulling on a harness.

Or use an incline to offset the resistance of the system, but I suspect
that if you rigged such a device you'd want a harness anyway.

--kyler

Marty Wallace

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Jun 22, 2004, 6:15:40 AM6/22/04
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"Dennis Farr" <df...@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com...

The horse has evolved to cover long distances efficiently.
It's one of the most efficent animals on land. Anything you do to change
it's energy transfer system only detracts from the horses performance.

Marty


Curtis L. Russell

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Jun 22, 2004, 9:05:31 AM6/22/04
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On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 02:33:16 GMT, "Leo Lichtman"
<l.lic...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>A horse walking on a treadmill could transfer full power to the propulsion
>system. But a horse, developing full power (picture a horse at full gallop)
>would be out of contact with the treadmill a lot of the time. So, to keep
>him from running off the front of the system, you would have to tether him,
>and he would end up pulling on a harness.

So I'm thinking lots of hamsters or gerbils. Little arows so they know
which way to run. And maybe a whip.

Curtis L. Russell
Odenton, MD (USA)
Just someone on two wheels...

David Kerber

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Jun 22, 2004, 9:28:49 AM6/22/04
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In article <beujq1-...@lairds.us>, Ky...@news.Lairds.org says...

I think he's saying that their hooves would likely slip on the treadmill
belt, causing inefficient power transfer.


>
> --kyler

David Kerber

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Jun 22, 2004, 9:37:11 AM6/22/04
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In article <MTMBc.112096$Gx4....@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,
l.lic...@worldnet.att.net says...

...

> contrivance you could rig up. A rider at full gallop could surely beat
> Lance Armstrong.

Not for 100 miles, he couldn't.

Jeff

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Jun 22, 2004, 9:59:17 AM6/22/04
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df...@comcast.net (Dennis Farr) wrote in message news:<c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com>...

> I posted this last week on some horse sites and got some good advice.
> I was wondering if a treadmill could be used to power a wagon and a
> horse could be made to operate the treadmill.
>

I think a lot of the discussion on this is missing a basic point... A
horse
on a running on a treadmill is using the exact same motion as a horse
running
on the ground. All the treadmill and wagon can do is add friction and
slow down
the horse. The reason a bicycle is more efficient than running is
that the weight is
supported and the power is transferred directly to the wheels.

If you could design a wheeled contraption to support the horses weight
and let it
transfer power directly to the wheels, you would have something that
would go
very well. Also people would pay to see it :)

Jeff

Badger_South

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Jun 22, 2004, 10:44:53 AM6/22/04
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On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 09:28:49 -0400, David Kerber <ns_dkerber@ns_ids.net>
wrote:

>In article <beujq1-...@lairds.us>, Ky...@news.Lairds.org says...
>> Badger_South <Bad...@South.net> writes:
>>
>> >2. four-footed animals use not only their four feet, but also their
>> >midsection at the gallop, which functions like an additional leg or
>> >similar. The mid section contracts and extends adding a lot to the power
>> >and it would be difficult to transfer this power to a treadmill, IMO;
>>
>> O.k., I give. How would this power *not* transfer to a treadmill?
>> Where would it go?
>
>I think he's saying that their hooves would likely slip on the treadmill
>belt, causing inefficient power transfer.

Actually using bad or no physics, I fsked up, and now I'm trying to do
damage control. It might have been I wasn't awake yet. Yeah that's it. ;-p

-Badger


Dennis Farr

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Jun 22, 2004, 11:04:39 AM6/22/04
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Thanks for all the comments. I'd like to mainly reply to the
objections that were raised.

"pony express changed horses after 25 miles"

Exactly. If Lance had to run and not ride I doubt if HE could cover
100 miles in a day either. Put the horse on a mechanism that can 1)
coast, and 2) has gears for magnifying the horse's power, and I think
the horse could go at least as far as a human on a bike.

"galloping"

The gears on a bike let us move our legs at a reasonable speed while
turning the wheels much faster. Imagine a Clydesdale on a four-tired
vehicle with a treadmill hooked up to a very high gear (what could he
turn on the flat for an extended period of time? 200 inches? 300?) The
horsey doesn't have to go fast, he's a very strong animal, and if he
can push that big gear all day long, he's going to cover some ground.

"too heavy"

Lance's bike weighs about 10% of Lance. If horse and driver weigh 1200
pounds, 10% of that is 120 lb. Double that because we're probably
going to need 4 wheels. Even if you double that again, we're up to
about what a buggy weighs, and horses pulled them around in all those
Western movies without too much evident strain.

"horse evolved to run"

Point well taken. I think the hardest part of this project is going to
be making the apparatus well suited to the horse. But don't forget
that horses walking on treadmills were the preferred power source for
ferry boats for a brief period when the technology for treadmills
existed but we couldn't make steam engines yet.

Again, thanks for all the comments. Hopefully someone will try this
out, if not with a horse, maybe with a dog first.

Dennis Farr

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Jun 22, 2004, 11:08:13 AM6/22/04
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Badger_South

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Jun 22, 2004, 11:26:18 AM6/22/04
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On 22 Jun 2004 08:04:39 -0700, df...@comcast.net (Dennis Farr) wrote:

>Thanks for all the comments. I'd like to mainly reply to the
>objections that were raised.
>
>"pony express changed horses after 25 miles"
>
>Exactly. If Lance had to run and not ride I doubt if HE could cover
>100 miles in a day either. Put the horse on a mechanism that can 1)
>coast, and 2) has gears for magnifying the horse's power, and I think
>the horse could go at least as far as a human on a bike.

Huh? You said a 'flat course'. Of course a biker can coast, and the gears
work. The point, I thought, was 'horse/treadmill v Lance 100 miles on the
flat'. Simple. Simple answer, nope.

>"galloping"
>
>The gears on a bike let us move our legs at a reasonable speed while
>turning the wheels much faster. Imagine a Clydesdale on a four-tired
>vehicle with a treadmill hooked up to a very high gear (what could he
>turn on the flat for an extended period of time? 200 inches? 300?) The
>horsey doesn't have to go fast, he's a very strong animal, and if he
>can push that big gear all day long, he's going to cover some ground.

Even if you made the device of Unobtanium, the lightest metal in the
universe (for sake of argument), the friction of such an incredibly complex
device would be more than enough to bring it to a near standstill, IMO.

>"too heavy"
>
>Lance's bike weighs about 10% of Lance. If horse and driver weigh 1200
>pounds, 10% of that is 120 lb. Double that because we're probably
>going to need 4 wheels. Even if you double that again, we're up to
>about what a buggy weighs, and horses pulled them around in all those
>Western movies without too much evident strain.
>
>"horse evolved to run"
>
>Point well taken. I think the hardest part of this project is going to
>be making the apparatus well suited to the horse. But don't forget
>that horses walking on treadmills were the preferred power source for
>ferry boats for a brief period when the technology for treadmills
>existed but we couldn't make steam engines yet.

So maybe the question should have been, can a horse, walking all day, beat
Lance over 100 miles. Can a horse walk all day? For 2 days? Horses,
depending on breed can go pretty fast for 20-30 miles and that's it.

>Again, thanks for all the comments. Hopefully someone will try this
>out, if not with a horse, maybe with a dog first.

Yeah, not to be argumentative, interesting question for a while. On the
dog, too small an engine.

Best,

-B


S o r n i

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Jun 22, 2004, 11:37:58 AM6/22/04
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Can you even install cleats in hooves?

Bill "and then of course, there's finding a SADDLE" S.


Rick Onanian

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Jun 22, 2004, 11:49:45 AM6/22/04
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On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 15:37:58 GMT, "S o r n i"
<so...@bite-me.san.rr.com> wrote:
>Can you even install cleats in hooves?

Yep, horses often have them. Humans use those cleats to play games,
too...we throw them at a pole and argue if it's close enough.

>Bill "and then of course, there's finding a SADDLE" S.

Argh.
--
Rick Onanian

Teresa Bippert-Plymate

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Jun 22, 2004, 12:09:42 PM6/22/04
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Not in hooves, but in the shoes. You nail a shoe on the hoof, as
usual, with taps to screw in studs. Eventing horses wear studded
shoes (they gallop around a long course jumping large, solid
obstacles).

And yes, a well-conditioned horse *can* walk all day. Think
about wild horses, too. They have to walk all day to find enough
to eat and drink. (BTW, horses normally only sleep 3-4 hours a day).

Teresa in AZ

S o r n i

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Jun 22, 2004, 12:14:30 PM6/22/04
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Rick Onanian wrote:
> On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 15:37:58 GMT, "S o r n i"
> <so...@bite-me.san.rr.com> wrote:
>> Can you even install cleats in hooves?
>
> Yep, horses often have them. Humans use those cleats to play games,
> too...we throw them at a pole and argue if it's close enough.

Ah. So the SHPD standard, then. Pedals must be weighty, matey.

Bill "times four" S.


Mike Beauchamp

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Jun 22, 2004, 8:30:01 PM6/22/04
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Hey Dennis,
I brought this up with a few nerd friends of mine during an IRC chat. I
asked, how fast would a horse go if he could be on somethign that is geared
like a bicycle.

The general consensus is that a horse is specifically designed to run. Thin
aerodynamic body, long legs to amplify (or 'gear') the muscle strength..
etc. Everything about a horse seems to be for speed and running.

Compare that to a human, where running appears to be the least efficient
means of travelling. Look at marathon runners.. pounding the pavement with
their feet, flailing their arms around and presenting the wind with the
worst possible surface for aerondynamic purposes. Exactly opposite of a
horse..

So, that's why I think humans can go so well on bicycles. It compensates for
all the bad design of a human. It gets them bent down aero more like a
human, it is geared as to make use of a human's high torque leg muscles, it
is smooth locomotion etc.. etc...

So my guess is a horse on a bicycle would do not get any better of a speed
or power transfer or whatever.

I don't know if that's what you were asking about, but thsoe were the
results from the discussion that your post spurred last night.

--
Mike Beauchamp
http://www.therevox.com - custom electro-theremins and stuff.
http://www.mikebeauchamp.com - mike's personal site.


"Dennis Farr" <df...@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com...

Tom Keats

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Jun 23, 2004, 2:10:13 AM6/23/04
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In article <c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com>,
df...@comcast.net (Dennis Farr) writes:

> On a more practical level, if there are some of you who DON'T think it
> would be worthwhile to do this just to see if it could be done, this
> could magnify the output of a horse just as a bike magnifies the
> output of a human, and in parts of the world where animal power is
> still used, it could make peoples' lives better.

Just in case it might be interesting to you:
http://www.pedalpower.org/maya.html


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Pbwalther

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Jun 24, 2004, 9:24:05 AM6/24/04
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>Compare that to a human, where running appears to be the least efficient
>means of travelling. Look at marathon runners.. pounding the pavement with
>their feet, flailing their arms around and presenting the wind with the
>worst possible surface for aerondynamic purposes.

>Exactly opposite of a
>horse..

Actually, humans are very good at running but for very long distances. An
early method of hunting was simply chasing an animal until it keeled over from
exhaustion. I have heard that horses can be caught in this fashion by people.
Of course, a horse and many other animals can run faster then a person.

Pbwalther

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Jun 24, 2004, 9:31:13 AM6/24/04
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>Lance's bike weighs about 10% of Lance. If horse and driver weigh 1200
>pounds, 10% of that is 120 lb. Double that because we're probably
>going to need 4 wheels. Even if you double that again, we're up to
>about what a buggy weighs, and horses pulled them around in all

>those
>Western movies without too much evident strain.
>

Yes but in those western movies, the buggy does not have to suspend the horse
and have the mechanism for the horse to propel it. The mechanism you propose
would weigh considerably more then a light weight buggy because it has more to
do.

Another problem is just the emotional one. Horses are reasonably intelligent
but there are things that are very difficult to get them to do or even
impossible to get them to do. None of the horses I ever worked with would have
taken kindly to the notion on getting onto some strange contraption and getting
presumably strapped in so they could do some sort of bizarre energy transfer.

Besides why bother? A human on a bicycle is very efficient. Why would we want
a horse powered vehicle? Machine powered vehicles are much more convenient.
Horses are big and dangerous to work with, they can hurt a person very
seriously without really meaning to. Also why have a horse propel a vehicle?
Do we have any particular objective in transporting horses around. The thing
is that using horses in a conventional fashion is plenty of fun so why bother?

Dennis Farr

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Jun 24, 2004, 2:32:40 PM6/24/04
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pbwa...@aol.com (Pbwalther) wrote in message news:<20040624093113...@mb-m03.aol.com>...

> >Lance's bike weighs about 10% of Lance. If horse and driver weigh 1200
> >pounds, 10% of that is 120 lb. Double that because we're probably
> >going to need 4 wheels. Even if you double that again, we're up to
> >about what a buggy weighs, and horses pulled them around in all
>
> >those
> >Western movies without too much evident strain.
> >
>
> Yes but in those western movies, the buggy does not have to suspend the horse
> and have the mechanism for the horse to propel it. The mechanism you propose
> would weigh considerably more then a light weight buggy because it has more to
> do.
>
I'm assuming a vehicle made with todays materials and technology could
be fashioned which weighs at or below a wooden wagon manufactured with
19th century technology, and still be able to support the horse and
driver and cargo.

> Another problem is just the emotional one. Horses are reasonably intelligent
> but there are things that are very difficult to get them to do or even
> impossible to get them to do. None of the horses I ever worked with would have
> taken kindly to the notion on getting onto some strange contraption and getting
> presumably strapped in so they could do some sort of bizarre energy transfer.
>

Someone in a horse group pointed out that horses whiz around the
country in horse trailers with little discomfort all the time, at very
high speed.

> Besides why bother? A human on a bicycle is very efficient. Why would we want
> a horse powered vehicle? Machine powered vehicles are much more convenient.

The horse provides the power. The human rides along and steers. Horse
and human get where they are going faster and easier. I believe the
horse would have a preference to be in the vehicle if this idea works.
With what little I know about horses I infer they are lazy. Once you
turn back toward the barn, they tend to go much faster than they did
when you are going the other way.

> Horses are big and dangerous to work with, they can hurt a person very
> seriously without really meaning to. Also why have a horse propel a vehicle?
> Do we have any particular objective in transporting horses around. The thing
> is that using horses in a conventional fashion is plenty of fun so why bother?

Cars are big and dangerous, and are using up all our oil. The horse in
the vehicle goes faster and easier. This is why you don't (often) see
Lance pushing or carrying his bike during the Tour de France. It's way
easier and faster to ride. The hope is this would also be the case for
the horse.

chet

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Jun 25, 2004, 1:57:58 AM6/25/04
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jth...@northwestern.edu (Jeff) wrote in message news:<afebe107.0406...@posting.google.com>...

> df...@comcast.net (Dennis Farr) wrote in message news:<c9962ece.04062...@posting.google.com>...
> > I posted this last week on some horse sites and got some good advice.
> > I was wondering if a treadmill could be used to power a wagon and a
> > horse could be made to operate the treadmill.
> >
>
> I think a lot of the discussion on this is missing a basic point... A
> horse
> on a running on a treadmill is using the exact same motion as a horse
> running
> on the ground. All the treadmill and wagon can do is add friction and
> slow down
> the horse. The reason a bicycle is more efficient than running is
> that the weight is
> supported and the power is transferred directly to the wheels.

This is only partly right. If you ride a bike without sitting on the
seat, it's still much more efficient than running. In walking or
running, the same friction that allows you to push yourself forward
also serves to stop you. On a bike, the wheels make for a
comparatively frictionless forward motion. Riding a skateboard or
rollerblades are not quite as efficient as bicycling, but the use of
the wheels makes them much more efficient than running.

I think Dennis' question boils down to: how fast would a horse go if
it had the advantage of using wheels somehow. I have no idea, but I
think the answer is: a lot faster.

> If you could design a wheeled contraption to support the horses weight
> and let it
> transfer power directly to the wheels, you would have something that
> would go
> very well. Also people would pay to see it :)

How about something like a hospital gurney? It could be at just the
right height to allow the horse to push off the ground, then coast on
its belly--kinda like a skateboard.

Or how about roller skates with ratcheted wheels that can only roll
forward? Omigod that's just crazy enough to make me think somebody's
probably tried it on some kind of animal somewhere...

Chet

Marty Wallace

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Jun 25, 2004, 5:35:53 AM6/25/04
to

"chet" <chets...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:b3f994c5.04062...@posting.google.com...

>
> I think Dennis' question boils down to: how fast would a horse go if
> it had the advantage of using wheels somehow. I have no idea, but I
> think the answer is: a lot faster.
>

>
> Chet

The advantage gained by a horse using wheels wouldn't be as much as a human
using wheels.
A horse is already efficient because of its long, light weight legs. It has
a mechanical advantage over humans.
In addition, the difference between an unfit horse and a fit horse is a lot
less than the difference between a fit and unfit human.
Aslo, race times for humans have improved dramaticly over the last 100 years
whilst horses have not changed as much. All this indicates that horses are
doing very well already, in terms of efficiency.

Marty


Bernie

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Jun 26, 2004, 2:16:50 AM6/26/04
to
chet wrote:

Maybe a horse could learn to be more efficient with the "walking
machine" or "hobby horse"? http://www.pedalinghistory.com/PHhistory.html

Note: Tongue held firmly in cheek ;)


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