Among the things that aren’t really what their names say they are, horsepower joins the list of Greenland and Iceland. To paint the picture for you, Iceland is greener than Greenland, and the latter has more ice than Iceland.
In the same breath, the word horsepower resonates more with engines than it does with horses. In fact, when purchasing a vehicle, a boat, or an airplane, one of the factors to consider is the product’s horsepower. With that in mind, this begs the question: how much horsepower does a horse have?
The Origin of Horsepower
While a horse has little to do with horsepower in the modern world, it has everything with the word’s origin. Before the industrial revolution, people were convinced that the horse was among the world’s most powerful animals, which is true.
However, when James Watt, a Scottish engineer, developed the first steam engine, he had difficulty convincing people that his invention was stronger and more efficient than the horse. People were skeptical, so James had to devise a marketing campaign they resonated with. For a start, he coined the word “horsepower.”
How Much Is 1 Horsepower?
Thanks to James Watt, we formally recognize one horsepower as the energy required to lift 550 pounds over 1 foot in 1 second. This translates to approximately 746 watts. To reach this conclusion, Watt observed how much work a horse could do in a day.
Through his calculations, he figured that a horse turned 24ft mill wheel around 2.5 times per minute. Power refers to the work done compared to the time taken to accomplish it. The amount of work done is calculated by the energy used multiplied by the distance covered.
James Watt figured that one horsepower was equivalent to 33,000 foot-pounds per minute. When you convert the figures to Watts, you get an approximate value of 746.
The Horsepower of a Horse
So, how much horsepower does a horse have? It would only be logical if one horse was equivalent to a horsepower. However, many things in the world are illogical, which is true in this situation. Unlike cars, telling the horsepower of a horse is not easy because of many variables.
However, we can approximate that a fully fit adult horse can exert 10-15 horsepower. Some variables that affect the animal’s horsepower include physical fitness and breed. For instance, horses such as Quarter and Thoroughbreds are trained and fed to work, race, and produce more horsepower.
On the other hand, horses with weaker muscles and smaller bodies, such as the Arabian ponies, generate reduced horsepower.