Case Study

Saving time, energy and costs in exercising horses

Saving time, energy and costs in exercising horses


A horse trainer wanted to be able to walk his horses at different speeds and backwards and forwards on an automated horse walker to make it more like a natural exercise.


An Optidrive P2 was installed to control the motor to allow accurate and smooth movements for the horse at different speeds. It also allowed the horse walker operator to reverse the system.

Invertek Drives Australia

Invertek Drives Australasia was approached with an unusual request - a horse owner in Queensland needed to regularly exercise his herd using an automated ‘horse walker’.

He wanted to be able to control the speed, acceleration and deceleration, along with the stop/start functions to make the experience more comfortable for his animals.

Invertek Australasia Director, Brett Masters, said: “Like humans, horses naturally walk at the speed best suited to them individually. The customer required variable speed functionality along with three fixed speeds to cater for all of his animals.

"He also needed to be able to programme the walker to move the horses backwards as well as forwards to imitate a real-life walking scenario.

“Most importantly, the customer wanted to make sure that the acceleration and deceleration processes were as smooth as possible to ensure the horses weren’t jolted and frightened in any way.”

Additional functionality was requested to automatically respond should the horses try to go faster than the set speed, and an emergency shut-down facility was also needed to ensure the safety of the horses at all times.

Invertek supplied, installed and commissioned an Optidrive P2 with a remote keypad and three speed push buttons, as well as an emergency shut-down switch on the STO circuit.

Brett added: “The high-performance motor control offered by Optidrive P2 made it the perfect solution for this particular application. Each horse can be walked at their own pace and an ambient speed can be set to suit the whole herd if multiple horses are being exercised at the same time.

“The walker comes to a smooth halt as soon as it senses horses entering or exiting, and if a horse tries to walk faster than the set speed and pushes against the gate, the drive increases motor torque to ensure the speed remains constant – this is mitigated by an override facility which automatically ‘lets go’ if there is a chance of injury to the animal.”

Using an automated walker to exercise six horses at the same time reduces the amount of time the owner has to commit to keeping his herd fit on a daily basis. 

However, using this type of machinery without a variable frequency drive incurs additional costs such as increased power usage, regular maintenance and the replacement of worn parts. Using the Optidrive P2 VFD can alleviate some of these costs.

Energy efficiencies on the running costs can be achieved by matching the speed of the motor with the requirement of each horse. Specific functionality such as the soft start and soft stop ensures mechanical wear and tear is minimised - safeguarding the life span of the walker, and helping to reduce replacement costs.

Invertek’s Technical Manager, Kes Beech, said: “The technology used in the P2 offers the most comfortable acceleration and deceleration available. The same technology is used in our dedicated drive for lifts, Optidrive Elevator – an industry that demands the smoothest journey transitions possible.

“Starting and stopping the machine at such a gentle pace means stress to its inner workings is minimised, meaning it can be used for far longer before parts will need replacing than an automated walker that isn’t controlled by a VFD."