Who Wanted to Prove Horses ‘Fly’?

Horsemen used to argue about whether the gallop had a moment of suspension. Who set about proving it was true? Answer our Just-for-Fun Trivia question.

H&R file photo

TRUE OR FALSE: In the late 1800s, the man who would go on to found the University of Kentucky hired a photographer to prove that, during one phase of the gallop, all four of a horse’s legs are off the ground at the same time.

T / F

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ANSWER: False. It was in fact Leland Stanford, the former California governor who would go on to found Stanford University, who ultimately paid photographer Eadweard Muybridge the equivalent of $1.1 million in today’s money for a series of high-speed stop-motion photos that proved that a moment of suspension at a gallop did in fact occur.

Before Muybridge’s work, which took six years to complete, horsemen had hotly debated whether horses did in fact “fly” in this manner.

[GALLOP TO LOPE: Clint Haverty teaches a hands-free slowdown.]

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