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Equestrian Physics


kateh516

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Physics is everywhere. There has never been a more true statement. So let me take a minute to discuss the physics involved in a sport that I love and are blessed to participate in: horseback riding.

There are many different disciplines in the Equestrian world, but for the case of this blog, I'm going to focus on the discipline I am most familiar with, jumping. The physics behind jumping is basic kinematics. To clear a fence, the horse and rider have to approach the jump with the right velocity. If the velocity is too small, the horse could refuse or knock a rail. In a competition, both of these would result in points deducted from your score. If the velocity is too large, you could over jump the fence, which, in the case of someone riding over multiple jumps, could mess up your approach to the next jump, not to mention use more energy than needed. When the horse and rider take off, there is a few seconds where the back hooves stay on the ground, creating an impulse force as they push away from the ground. While the horse leaves the ground to move over the jump, their kinetic energy changes to potential, reaching full potential energy over the maximum point over the jump.

I've attached a few images of the movement of a horse and rider over a jump, to help see the actions I've described.

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equestrian blog post.jpg

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Hmm...  I was watching a cartoon of Sofia the First as she was helping flying horses last night and was wondering why their feet still run when their wings are flapping.  Any ideas?

 

Minimus_and_Sofia.png

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