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Steering Wheels for Horses

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I have acquired a horse. At least, my daughter has acquired a horse using my money. Head, body, tail; whole arrangement supported at each corner by a leg - basically, as normal as a horse gets.

Having welcomed this beast (who is called Finnley - a point of no immediate relevance) into my family, I feel it behooves me to learn to ride him.

Now, you would imagine (especially if you have seen The Magnificent Seven or the Horse of the Year Show) that this would be fairly simple. After all, the horse is capable of a limited amount of reasoning, and therefore ought to be fairly straightforward to handle. Its sense of self-preservation means that it's difficult to skid, roll or stall a horse in normal use. It also has an inbuilt collision-avoidance system, unlike most other powered vehicles.

But.

I am learning that it is not actually that simple, at least until you learn all of the commands that the horse understands. Basically, you make it start with a gentle nudge on the reins and a subtle movement with your legs. To make it turn, you use a gentle nudge on the reins and a subtle movement with your legs. Stopping involves a gentle nudge on the reins and a subtle movement with your legs. Apparently, these signals are known as "aids", which seems to be a contraction of "arbitrary and indistinguishable".

So.

MaxQuest is currently alpha-testing its new Equine Adaptor Tack, designed to make the transition from driving to riding straightforward.

The saddle remains basically unaltered, except for the presence of a gearshift where the pommel would be. A standard H-gate arrangement selects neutral, walk, trot, canter and gallop by means of linkages which put gentle pressure at the appropriate points on the horse's flanks. (There is no reverse; it's invariably less confusing to just turn around, or decide to go somewhere else entirely.) The stirrups feature a tilt mechanism which either tugs on the reins (left stirrup) or activates the rump-flicker (right stirrup) for fine control of speed. Cruise control is under development.

Steering has also been rationalized, by means of a simple shoulder*- mounted harness and wheel, which provides assymetric pressure on the left or right reins. Trim-tabs are of course provided to counter any drift in the beast's normal movement.

Most horses quickly get used to the radio and cigarette lighter, but results may vary.

*the horse's shoulders. Of course, being part of a horse, they have a special name - possibly "withers". I must ask Finnley.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2010

Finnley's Replacement http://farm2.static...6803_a2d81c1bf4.jpg
An alternative solution to easing the transition from driving to riding. [jurist, Jul 29 2010]

[link]






       You will get more satisfactory results by placing the muzzle of a loaded Colt M1911A1 pistol to the horse's forehead and pulling the trigger.   

       This will result in the horse dying almost instantly.   

       While this may upset your offspring, it is ultimately much, much less painful, depressing and expensive than continuing to own a horse.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2010
  

       It would also solve the local glue shortage.   

       But I'm sticking with the riding lessons until we get to the bit where I hang under the horse's neck and shoot. So far I can trot, if the horse agrees.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2010
  

       Congratulations, [MB]! You have aquired the finest tasting emergency transportation system known to man.   

       //behooves me// - Stay upright, and don't walk behind. You'll get used to it.   

       I think one of the main problems is that, obviously, being from Great Britain, where technology is implemented in reverse order of development, and mainly being borrowed from the French, you're probably using one of those English saddles.   

       Money saving tip: Place said English Saddle upon the horse, trace around it with a felt tip pen, and return the saddle for a refund. Or convert it into a useful coin purse or wallet. Then you can ride the horse bareback; you won't notice any real difference, and the horse will be more comfortable.   

       (Remember: a happy horse is an unpredictable horse. Just like an unhappy horse. Keep in mind the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, from the point of view of the principle party who doesn't get to be in court on the matter.)   

       Anyway, get a decent western style saddle. While you're at it, go ahead with the hip replacement surgery (a special version where the femoral neck is extended by about 15 cm on each side, and you can get a gluteal morphine pump installed at the same time).   

       When you get the western style saddle up on top of the horse, the primary effect is psychological: the horse realizes that he is no longer In Charge.   

       There's also much more room for mounting whatever geetoggery you had in mind.   

       I have this vision, though, of you accidentally activating the saddle while you are carrying it horseward, and it basically beating you to death while the horse looks on in mildly amused apathy. Do be careful, ok?
lurch, Jul 27 2010
  

       Can't you just have one of the servants lead the horse around for you? "Groom" I think is the title--wretched dirty fellows who get stepped on, kicked, and shit on (which is why the term was borrowed for men who are getting married).
baconbrain, Jul 27 2010
  

       // technology is implemented in reverse order of development, and mainly being borrowed from the French //   

       Wethinks that [lurch] is desirous of Putting His Name Down For A Kicking.   

       But the rest of the anno is distressingly accurate.   

       [baconbrain], spot on. But you forgot the bit about being hit with a whip.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2010
  

       //have one of the servants lead the horse around for you.//   

       All well and good, but the First Rule of keeping a sound house is to appear capable in all matters. A servant who saw me riding with anything less than the utter confidence of a Jane Austin Minor hero would have to be dismissed, or at least sent to one of the other Houses.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2010
  

       A quick google reveals the the advantage of the Western saddle is that it allows you to bruise your pubic bone and lumber vertebrae without undue effort. On the English saddle, you need to move more violently in order to extend the bruising much beyond the thigh/perineum region.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2010
  

       Fear not, the horse will be delighted to arrange that for you.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2010
  

       // a Jane Austin Minor //   

       Why don't you just drive that? I know most British cars are wimpy, but you do get some interesting names.
baconbrain, Jul 27 2010
  

       wimpy? bet you can't match our Top Gear. nearly killed Tom Cruise this week.
po, Jul 27 2010
  

       'Nearly?' Damn.
lurch, Jul 27 2010
  

       // nearly //   

       The boy's a wuss. But good on you for trying.
baconbrain, Jul 27 2010
  

       Steering wheel, check. Gearshift, I'm wobbling a bit, but check. Cruise control, you had me till you got to the "control" part. You have gone over to the dark side, [MaxB]. You are now the proud owner of a horse farm. Take it from one who knows; if you have one horse you will get another horse... then another, then another, and... dang, have I mentioned the barn yet, and the big fat haystack, and the farrier, and how you are putting all of the children of your NEW BEST FRIEND (veterinarian) through college, and buying him a boat, and adding an east wing onto his estate? It would be much easier if you just take that pitch fork you are having to scoop horse poop with and use it to heave your fortune into a hole in the ground. Here's a sympathy bun: [+]
Grogster, Jul 27 2010
  

       A low-tech mechanical alternative to the horse has been available for some centuries. These devices, known as bicycles, are available for purchase in most populated areas of human civilization.
rcarty, Jul 28 2010
  

       //f you have one horse you will get another horse... then another, then another, //   

       I'm pretty sure Finnlay is not hermaphrodite, and in any case he's missing some gentleman pieces.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 28 2010
  

       If you got another horse - bolted the two of them together, and added some paneling, you would have the makings of a 2CV.
xenzag, Jul 28 2010
  

       My sister had a pinto with a steering wheel once...
Cedar Park, Jul 29 2010
  

       ....and of course there was the Ford Mustang
xenzag, Jul 29 2010
  

       Right. Who's going to post an after-market kit to make your car's engine respond to subtle buttock-clenching and lumps of sugar?
pertinax, Jul 29 2010
  

       [pertinax], I believe most car engines respond to lumps of sugar already. (Not necessarily positively, but they do respond.)
gisho, Jul 29 2010
  

       My car seems to respond to my buttock-clenching ... at least while my wife is driving.
baconbrain, Jul 29 2010
  

       Hahahaha!   

       Damn I wish I had more time.
This sooo begs to be sketched.
  

       I acquired a five year old mustang and trained him - how did you know I named him Ford?   

       Horsing is a great learning experience, congratulations. I recommend an Australian saddle - too bad [UnaBubba] blew up.
normzone, Jul 30 2010
  

       //I recommend an Australian saddle//   

       There is NO WAY I am hanging upside down on Finnley. I've seen what's down there.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 30 2010
  

       I thought he was missing what's down there.
baconbrain, Jul 30 2010
  

       Some of it. What's left is....just alarming.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 31 2010
  

       Perhaps it wouldn't be so alarming if you hadn't gotten the horse circumcised in the first place.
rcarty, Jul 31 2010
  

       Why not a joystick, instead? Especially since all you need is to modify the saddle horn (and saddle). Cables attached to the part of the joystick inside the saddle horn can run through the saddle to reach appropriate nudge-devices, with respect to the horse.
Vernon, Jan 12 2017
  
      
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