187: Horses


For the past two hundred years, most forms of mechanical transport have required fuel brought from a distance and artificially made. When that fuel runs out they come to a halt, as they do in extreme weather conditions such as heavy snow or floods.


The horse.

For the past 4,000 years horses have been used for transport. Regarded as a unit of transport energy, one standard horse has an average height of 4.6 to 6 ft. (1.4 to 1.8 m) at the withers, or 15-16 hands. It is capable of a peak power production of 14.9 horsepower. It weighs about 1,000 lbs (454 kg.) and eats 2% of its body weight in dry feed a day or 20 lbs (9 kg.). It will drink 5 to 10 gallons (20 to 30 liters) of fresh water per day.

The Pony Express horses worked 25 mi. (40 km.) a day maximum. Assuming that a horse can average 25 mi. (40 km) a day every day, this works out to a horse going 1.25 mile/pound of feed. Galloping, a horse can reach top speeds of 25-30 mph (40 – 48 kph) for 2 mi. (3.2 km). While a horse may be exhausted after a three-mile (5 km) gallop, that same horse could trot, with a few walk breaks, 15 mi. (24 km) without extraordinary strain.

The electrical unit the watt was calculated from Horsepower and there are 740 watts in one horsepower. A horse can travel over most terrain, including thick snow and rivers. A horse deprived of feed, but supplied drinking water is capable of surviving 20 to 25 days. It has a working life span of 18 years (6,000 recycles). Well treated, it is very user friendly and becomes a companion. It is biodegradable, recyclable and, for some, edible. One or more horses interlinked, like batteries, can provide multiple energy to tow a passenger vehicle.

Aside from therapy, leisure and sport, the horse is a solution for our Planet. Since 1993, the French towns of Rennes, Millau, Nouvoitou, Rambouillet, Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives Cabourg, Grand Quevilly and Paris (at the Bois de Vincennes) have come to use “territorial horses” (cart horses) to take schoolchildren to and from school and to collect trash.

In 2011, around 100 French municipalities were using at least one territorial horse, but by the end of the following year, this number had grown to about 200, while by 2019 that figure stood at 250. In Vendargues in the Hérault, three Hippobuses are in regular service for schoolchildren.

Since 2009, Ramon Garcia, founder of “Aequitaine”, near Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, south-west France, manages a stable of 23 horses which can be rented out to plough the surrounding vineyards of the region. Their lighter weight is better for the vines than mechanical tractors.

Since October 2004, two Brittany horses haul barges loaded with industrial slag along the River Marne twice a day, five days a week, eliminating seven trucks daily, reducing noise pollution, pollutant emissions and the risk of accidents.

Police on horseback, including the United States Border Patrol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mexican Rurales, the British South African Police, and the Turkish/Cypriot Zapiteh are employed for specialized duties ranging from patrol of parks and wilderness areas, where police cars would be impractical or noisy, to riot duty, where the horse serves to intimidate those whom it is desired to disperse through its larger size, or may be sent in to detain trouble makers.

Discover Solution 188: Zero emission hospitals

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Leave a comment

Translate »