I have a horse race design I think suits the world I created, but I don’t know how it could actually race. I need to resolve the actual propulsion.

In that other question the best answer seemed to be a charriot race, and that’s basically how I imagine it will be. However the horses are mechanical and have no computers. They rely on steam power and clockwork articulation, with hydraulics and basic tactile sensory feedback, as well as limited controls by the jockey.

I used Dall-E for a concept inspiration, and the result looks very good from the perspective of the jockey and stability. But by the way a horse moves (gravity) I don’t know if the forelimbs can be effective at propulsion. The concept I got back is pictured below: Ateampunk Pirate Chariot Race Chariots are pulled, not powered. I would like this vehicle concept in my world. What design modification could allow the forelegs to be an adequate propulsion this as an effective and stable race vehicle?

Assume a track that has slight hills and valleys rather than the flat arena.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ how do you define galloping for a two legged being? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 12:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How could a four legged man run? I don't see your problem, perhaps because there isn't one? what are you asking for? $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ Galloping is a 4 legged gate. Asking how to gallop on two legs is like asking how to have a square with 3 sides. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 13:39
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    $\begingroup$ Upvote for Dall-E! I want to play with Dall-E! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Here is an even more baffling video by the New York Centre of Disease Control about teaching children to gallop correctly. It suggests that teaching children to gallop is a common practice. Imagine if this was the only record the aliens found of our civilization. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 19:08

3 Answers 3


Two legged propulsion is fine

You may not need any modifications. They make wheelchairs for dogs missing their hind legs, and they can still run pretty well. Since your horse is a construct, you could have the chariot and horse body merged instead of the wheels being yoked to the horse.

Also, as some people have pointed out, rickshaws exist.

  • $\begingroup$ Why I never thought of that I will never know! The articulated head serves as a counterweight to reduce "hopping" when at a trot or gallop. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 17:09

What design modification could allow the forelegs to be an adequate propulsion this as an effective and stable race vehicle?

I think that's exactly what people in your world are trying to figure out.

Similarly to competitions like BattleBots, in your world it seems like there would be an extremely competitive underground culture to design the most effective horses. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. There will likely be rules and regulations for how they can be designed. For example, using powered wheels might be banned.
  2. Some people would try to cheat anyway, possibly adding slight power to their wheels to decrease the payload.

Because of the nature of these underground competitions, there would probably be a wide variety of designs, some of which might not even resemble a horse as long as all the other rules are adhered to. (unless of course there's a rule that says it has to resemble a horse)

One idea I came up with would be to use the legs to move the wheels, similar to steam engine trains. This would use a driving rod that connects from the legs to the wheels. The legs in this case would function the same way a piston would for the steam train.


Not a Problem

enter image description here

Some dogs have wheels instead of back legs. Some dogs have wheels instead of front legs. They do not need anatomical modifications to use their wheelchairs. They just learn how to use their legs differently.

Granted, the dog shown above is no good at walking. But in his defense, he is a pug do, and even four legged pug dogs are bad at EVERYTHING. So we can at least agree the wheelchair doesn't slow him down.

Non pug dogs, once they get used to the wheels, can run on uneven ground and do the normal run around dog thing.

The other dogs do not make fun of the different dog and they are all happy together.

Just build your horses front legs to work like dog legs.


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