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Ever went to a reenactment, and tried to reload a musket while marching? Well... it's not easy, it's awkward as threading a needle in strong wind.

The question is, would a quadruped be better at it?

Note: By the advice of Green, I am posting two questions. One for Centaurs, and one for Naga. Here is the other question.

Can Humans reload while marching?

Yes, and seemingly in good time. This man managed to run at a good pace while reloading his musket in reasonable time, 29 seconds to reload and shoot.

Note he is NOT using paper cartridges. His hope is to get his time down to under 20 seconds while running faster, which would put him well into the standard of 3 rounds a minute if he managed that.

Why would Centaurs be good at reloading while moving?

Centaurs have four legs, they're quadrupeds rather than bipeds. More legs may imply more stability on the move, so more ease in reloading?

Would Centaurs be better than a rider, at reloading while moving?

Possibly. Cavalry would reload carbines and pistols while riding. I haven't been able to find any footage of riders reloading carbines or muskets... but I did find some videos of horse vaulting. I think that reloading while the horse is moving is quite possible, based off the complex manoeuvres horse-vaulters pull off. They do not practice this while the horse is at a full gallop, admittedly.

As for why Centaurs might be better... well, they're built into the horse. They don't need to hang on in order to stay where they are. Now, this does mean you don't get the advantage of the spring of your leg muscles counteracting the bouncing motion of the horse. But then, Centaurs might have powerful back muscles that do something similar, or other such adaptations.

So I think it's reasonable to speculate they'll do as well, or better than a rider.

Except for the Fact they can't look where they're running as they reload?

Yes, human riders have that advantage over a centaur. The horse can focus on watching where it steps, while the human can focus on reloading.

However, as the man in the first video demonstrates, it is possible to run while reloading.

What's more, horses can run while blindfolded not too badly.

What was the question, again?

Could centaurs reload muskets while marching or running (canter or gallop)? And more specifically, could they do this more efficiently than humans?

The reason I am curious, is if the answer is yes: then presumably this will be a key point in Centaur military doctrine.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would expect the centaur to be faster afoot than a human, so even if it takes them the same amount of time to reload, the centaur will have traveled farther. Does that disparity concern you, or are you mostly concerned with the time it takes them to reload? $\endgroup$ – MozerShmozer Jan 15 '18 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @MozerShmozer I believe that disparity is not an immediate concern. I expect a centaur cannot reload faster than a human standing still. The question is if they can reload faster than a running or marching human, while trotting or cantering themselves. - Another way to put it: If humans have 100% of their loading speed at standing, and 70% while running, what percentage of their loading speed would a centaur have while cantering? $\endgroup$ – Johnny Jan 15 '18 at 21:33
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I'm not a horse expert, or even an equine enthusiast, but I would say it all hinges on how the Centaurs run. If they were at a trot or a possibly canter I don't see it being especially difficult, but at a gallop or a charge would probably be really hard.

Bear in mind I'm basing this completely off of what I've seen of horses, I've never ridden one at more than a walk.

But I feel the key thing to look at would be the horse's head and its movements at those different paces because they move their hooves in a few different patterns for each one.

Here's a video I found and you can see that at a trot or canter the horse's head is fairly steady, which leads me to assume a centaur's body would also be pretty steady. But at a gallop or charge I would think a centaur would move its human torso in a similar fashion to a horses head to get the right balance. Walk trot canter gallop

I'm sure someone who is actually very knowledgeable on horses will be by soon to provide a more detailed or better explained answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer. I'll analyse the video as you suggest. And I pretty well agree. This is probably not something you'd want to do at a gallop, if you didn't have to. Reloading at a canter likely has some utility, especially since galloping is exhausting. $\endgroup$ – Johnny Jan 15 '18 at 23:39

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