How Much Horsepower Does A Horse Have?

NO! NO! NO! It is not a question of whether a horsepower is 736 w!

I wonder about the power that a horse (a real one!) can develop during a long enough period (several hours) in a reasonable way for it produce electricity with a kind of merry-go-round turning an alternator.

This is to consider the feasibility of production units based on draught horses. Well, yes, why not?

All that I have found on the average power that one can ask of a brave nag is according to Watt (who must be doubted a little because the horse was the competitor of his steam engine).

Watt thus announced that a horse could develop one horsepower over one day, i.e. 736 w. Therefore, he chose the unit—horsepower!

How Much Horsepower Does A Horse Have

A few questions now arise. Isn’t it old- fashioned now? Wouldn’t there be newer measures somewhere? This is an old measure; the breeds of the horses could have been improved greatly since then.

We are talking about a heavy and muscular draft horse.

Our farmers recognized the value of horses thousands of years ago. For regular farm work and sport, horses were used.

Hence how strong are horses? It is quite a hard task to exactly know the strength of a horse, but some horses are known to pull about 3 times their weight!

Engineer Watt was inspired by the horse’s strength when he came up with the term “horsepower” as a new unit of measurement. Horsepower can be converted into watts. One horsepower is equal to 746 watts.

Is horsepower really a horse’s pull?

When we buy a car, we refer to the datasheet to evaluate the performance of the car. Likewise, many people are obsessed with data, such as maximum horsepower and maximum power, which are often flipped by people. After all, these figures are all about the heart of a car, which is the engine.

Of course, many people think that these values are the bigger, the better, such as the McLaren 720s, which can reach 720 horsepower, we all know that this horsepower figure is awesome, but to ask how much is this 720 horsepower do you know? Let’s not cross our fingers, today we’re going to tell you what the heck horsepower, torque, and power are, and how they relate to each other.

How much horsepower does a horse have?


The average speed of a horse at a walk: from 3 to 6 km/hour harnessed.

The average speed of a horse at trot: 10km/hour

The gallop will not be used during the work.


A draft horse can pull about 1.5 times its weight. A draft horse weighs between 600 kg and 900 kg.

The pulling force to be developed depends not only on the weight of the horse but also on whether the vehicle is rolling or not.

The topography of the area where the horse is working also affects the effort it will have to produce. The horse loses 50% of its capacity on a 10% slope.

Working time

A horse can work up to 6 hours a day with a rest/feeding break of 1 hour.

The effort provided by the animal will depend on the mass to be moved as well as on the ground on which it moves, as well as on the dimensioning of the tool as well as many other factors: temperature, wind (for the bulky horses), moisture, number of starting (stroke of collar).

Note that a dry and hard soil will penalize a plough work but will favour the movement of the horse and a vehicle. On the contrary, wet soil will favour plough work and penalize movement. On the other hand, wet soil will penalize both.

The force will increase considerably according to the slope, roughly for a slope of 5% the effort will be multiplied by 3, for a slope of 10% by 6 and by 9 for a slope of 15%.

The work will be proportional to the distance travelled.

The power required will increase according to the speed. Note that experienced animals slow down when the effort increases.

A rough rule of thumb gives for the pulling capacity of a horse 10 to 15% of its mass, for a work of 600h/day at a walk (this rule is approximate because 2 horses of 500 kg have a pulling capacity higher than a horse of 1000 kg).

The exact formula, taken from the book “The horse in its relationship with the rural economy and transport industries” is defined by:

F= 30 x C2/H
F = tensile force
C= thoracic perimeter of the horse
H = height
For a horse of 1.56 m at the withers and with a thoracic perimeter of 2.07 m we obtain 82.4 kg, i.e. if the horse moves at 1m/s (3.6 km/h) power of 808 W (1 horsepower = 735 W).

The horse has a mass of 650 kg, and the other formula gives us a range of 65 to 97.5 kgs.

If the speed of the horse is doubled, the working time will have to be reduced (divided by 2).

The physical condition and training of the horse are essential to avoid overwork of the animal.

The skill of the handler is essential to detect signs of fatigue, knowing that light but daily overwork will cause premature “wear” of the animal.

READ MORE: Why Good Lighting is Essential in Your Home?

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