1984 - Volume #8, Issue #2, Page #16[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
First Horse-Powered Car
Barnes, who lives near Manea, England, says his horse car has been a big hit in parades, fairs and at energy shows. But, he sees it as more than just a crowd-pleasing gimmick. In big cities, where it's almost impossible to ride a horse due to heavy traffic, his car provides a safe way to travel by horse, he points out.
"The car is fitted with brakes so it's safe on the road. Because movement of the car is controlled by the driver, there's a predictability that protects both the horse and the driver and makes it just as convenient to operate as an automobile," says Barnes.
He's built several prototype "Horseicles", as he calls them. His current model has 4 speeds forward and a reverse. It's fitted with a clutch and shifts like a conventional standard transmission. The driver sits on a platform above the horse. He says you need a bicycle to keep up with the car when it's on the road. "A stronger, more fit pony than our 10-year old Polly will be able to go much faster," says Barnes.
The horse is tethered by its head and wears a bit. The reins are tied to a bar in front of the operator who uses them in part to control the animal. The horse walks on an endless rubber conveyor belt supported on 36 freely rotating rollers mounted on the frame of the machine. The belt powers a driveshaft that connects to the transmission that drives the rear wheels.
"Taking the horse off the road surface and allowing it to work on a conveyor belt enables it to reach higher speeds and go farther. The horse needs some training but all it needs to learn is to walk straight ahead and push. There's nothing complicated. The driver has to keep the horse walking by word of command or touch as he would normally," points out Barnes.
One advantage of the Horseicle is that, at least in Britain, it doesn't require a license to operate. The car is registered as a horse-drawn carriage.
Barnes is constantly rebuilding on the car. His first model, for example, had pedals that clipped to the horses' shoes. Another model had a lower profile with the driver sitting in front of the horse. He is currently working on a horse-powered boat. None of the vehicles is yet for sale.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Philip Barnes, Park House, Manea, March, Cambridgeshire, England PE15 OJA (ph 011-44-035-478-310).
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