Speed of the Fastest Horse

The Physics Factbook
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
An educational, Fair Use website

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
"Horse." World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, 2000: H343. "… the thoroughbred can run … a mile (1.6 kilometers) in about 1 and ½ minutes." 17.78 m/s
Christopher, David. Winning at the Track. Chicago: Liberty, 1994: 25. "Speed Rating Table:
Distance: 1 and 1/8 mile
Time: 1 minute and 46 seconds"
17.08 m/s
Flatter, Ron. Secretariat remains No. 1 name in racing. Sports Centuy. ESPN. "Secretariat's response went beyond unreal. He won by a jaw-dropping 31 lengths. His time of 2:24 for 1 1/2 miles set a world record many argue may never be broken." 16.764 m/s
Race Results. Horse Racing. ESPN. [page content changes daily] "Race Name: Preakness Stakes
Distance: One and three sixteenth miles
Winning Time: 1:56.04."
16.47 m/s
American Quarter Horse Racing. Horse Racing. ESPN. "The American Quarter Horse is the king of speed. In fact, racing American Quarter Horses have been clocked at nearly 50 mph as they cross the finish line." 20 m/s

In order to find the speed of a horse we must understand the formula for speed. The formula is

v = Δst

where Δs is the change in distance and Δt is the change in time. This is the only formula that is needed in order to find the speed or velocity of a horse.

In order to calculate this formula, the two starting values that are needed are the change in distance and the elapsed time throughout the distance the horse ran, Once these values are obtained you simply plug them in to the formula and get the average velocity of the horse.

For my calculations I obtained many statistics of race results of certain horses. One of these horses was Secretariat (the winner of the Triple Crown in 1973). I found the race results with the race distance and the winning time. From these numbers I found out the velocity of Secretariat when he won the Triple Crown. The velocity seemed to be constant with the other velocities that I had previously found.

All of the results that I Have found in this project have been numbers based on the horse breed known as the thoroughbred. The thoroughbred breed is the common breed used in horse racing and is known to be one of the fastest breeds on the planet.

After all my calculations have been completed, I have come to the conclusion that the average velocity for the fastest breed of horse (the thoroughbred) is about 17 m/s. This is a remarkable fact considering that 17 m/s is roughly 38 miles per hour. This is just as fast as a car yet it is an animal that is running this fast.

Overall, we can see that horses are very fast animals and are fascinating to watch. Especially when the Triple Crown is on the line.

Andrew Sigal -- 2000

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