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Riding and the Physics of Newton

14004 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  roro
Riding and Isaac Newton

It is widely accepted that horse riding is a high risk activity. Riders have died or suffered severe injury in pursuing their sport. Significantly it is not just the keen sports rider who suffers a serious injury, often accidents just happen in the day to day routine of handling horses. The question is why do accidents occur and what could be done to avoid them.
Well to fully understand the problem,perhaps the rider should study elementary physics.

According to Wikipedia, Newton’s three laws of motion are:
1/ An object in motion will remain in motion until opposed by a equal and opposite force.
2/ Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration.
3/ To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Personally I would add a couple of other truisms:
“What goes up must come down”
“Gravity is relentless and all pervading”

Let us look at Newton’s Law No1 and rewrite the sentence in equine terms
“A moving horse will stay in motion until either the horse slows itself down” - or “it falls or it hits an an immoveable object.” It is important for the rider to understand that all the rider can do to avoid the inevitable outcome of going too fast is that only the horse can slow itself down. The rider is fully dependent upon the horse obeying the command to stop.

Newton’s Law No 2
2/ Force equals the weight of the horse multiplied by the speed that the horse is moving.
Therefore the heavier the horse and the faster it is moving makes the job of coming to a halt
more difficult.
Moral: make sure the horse you ride is obedient, light and sure footed.

Newton’s Law No 3
“A horse galloping must employ the same equivalent of force to slow to a halt”
Allow the horse plenty of time to stop.

Truism 1
“What goes up, must come down“ If a horse climbs a hill then eventually it must come down that hill. Remember: riding a horse downhill is more tricky than riding it uphill.
Truism 2
“ Horses can’t fly and riders don‘t have wings”
Moral: Horse and rider always come back to earth,
Truism 3
Even a medium sized horse weighs half a ton - about the same weight as a small car.
One steel shod hoof exerts more concentrated weight psi than the rubber tire shod wheel of a car.
Moral : Wear boots with reinforced toe caps
The big risk of falling off a horse, is that the horse weighing half a ton or more falls on the rider.
Truism 4
A horse and the rider are separate bodies, they stay together only by gravity and thru leverage
Truism 5
It is for the rider to balance himself on the horse, and for the horse to carry in balance both horse and rider over the ground.
Moral : Don‘t take away from your horse, the knowledge of where to put its feet.


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Clearly, 'we' have something wrong with our brains, because an intelligent person would simply be content with petting a horse. :wink:
Clearly, 'we' have something wrong with our brains, because an intelligent person would simply be content with petting a horse. :wink:
LOL! Aint that the truth!!
You take a risk with anything that you pursue, even driving to work! You can push the brake, and the car should stop, but sometimes it won't. You hope that when you see a green light, the opposing car will be stopped at the red light. Sometimes things don't work out so well, but hey, you can't live in a bubble!
The centre of Gravity is in the centre of the horse. As long as you remain in the horses centre of gravity, and not a head or behind the should be just fine :wink:
Just to be nit-picky, they are referred to as 'Newton's laws of motion', not 'Physics of Newton'.
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