Circuits and Systems, 2011, 2, 25-33
doi:10.4236/cs.2011.21005 Published Online January 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. CS
Remotely Controlled Automated Horse Jump
Ibrahim Al-Bahadly, Joel White
School of Engineering and Advanced Technology Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Received October 24, 2010; revised November 22, 2010; accepted N ovember 25, 2010
With the application of automation, a horse jump can be controlled with the push of a button, or even a re-
mote control. This enables the rider to adjust the jump to suit their needs while still on their horse. The ob-
jective of this work is to design and build a wireless remote motor controller which will be applied to a pro-
totype horse jump. The user will be able to control the forward and reverse direction of the motor by pushing
a button or switch via RF remote control. A horse jump prototype consisting of a single jump stand will be
Keywords: Automation, Horse Jump, Dc Motor, RF Remote Control
1. Introduction
Horse jumping is one of the most exciting of all equine
sports and one of the few to enjoy the prestige of being
an Olympic event. For many riders, the tedious routine of
setting up jumps and constantly adjusting their height
seems like an un-avoidable task. With the application of
automation, a horse jump can be co ntrolled with the push
of a button, or even a remote control. This enables the
rider to adjust the jump to suit their needs while still on
their horse.
The objective of this work is to design and build a
wireless remote motor controller which will be applied to
a prototype horse jump. The user will be able to control
the forward and reverse direction of the motor by push-
ing a button or swi t ch vi a RF remote control.
Potential benefits are:
- Inexpensive
- Simple and efficient to use
- Easy control
- More effective horse training
The block diagram in Figure 1 represents the ap-
proach used to implement the automation.
1.1. Power supply
The power supply is two 12 V lead acid batteries in series. It
supplies the power to the converter circuit and the DC Motor.
1.2. User Inputs
The input is two button s that will allow a user to execute
the following operations: Up and down control of the
motor. The input signal is sent to the controller through
the wireless RF interface.
1.3. Wireless Interface
The interface receives an RF signal from the user input
and sends it to the controller. The RF module sends the
encoded signal from a transmitter to a receiver. The re-
ceived signal is decoded to the appropriate logic signal
which is then fed into the control circuit.
1.4. Controller
The controller will receive a direction command from the
user inputs. The appropriate output signal is fed into the
H-Bridge circuit in order to allow the motor drive in the
desired direction.
1.5. H-Bridge
The H-Bridge circuit enables the motor to travel in both
directions. The H-Bridge circuit receives signals from
the control circuit for the user defined action.
1.6. Motor
A 24 V permanent magnet dc motor is used. It operates
at a continuous load at about 100 W.
2. Background
2.1. H-Bridge Drive
The H-bridge drive circuit is shown in Figure 2.
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User Inputs
Power Supply
Figure 1. Block diagram for the overall proposed auto-
mated system.
T1 D1
T1' D1'
V1 V2
Figure 2. H-bridge circuit.
The H-Bridge arrangement [1] is used to reverse the
polarity of the motor, bu t can also be used to “brake” the
motor, or to let the motor “free run” to a stop, as the mo-
tor is effectively disconnected from the circuit. Table 1
summarises the operation.
2.2. Logic Gates
A logic gate performs a logical operation on one or more
logic inputs and produces a single logic output. This is
the simplest yet effective way of processing logical op-
erations. Initially the use of an 8051 microcontroller [2]
was prospected but it was deemed over excessive as the
same result could be attained through Boolean algebra
[3]. From simplified Boolean algebra a circuit can be
developed using inverters AND gates OR gates etc. As it
is cheaper and simpler to produce the same logic gates
using combinations of one type of gate, a circuit consist-
ing of the above gates is converted into a NAND gate
equivalent circuit. Figure 3 shows the NAND equivalent
Table 1. The operations of the dc motor.
T1 T2 T1’ T2’ Result
1 0 0 1 Motor moves right
0 1 1 0 Motor moves left
0 0 0 0 Motor free runs
0 1 0 1 Motor brakes
1 0 1 0 Motor brakes
of logical operations.
2.3. The Horse in Motion
In order to design a good horse jump the mechanics of a
horse jumping needed to be considered. When the horse
is approaching an obstacle it needs to see, appraise and
accept the jump. Therefore the jump needs to be simple
and clearly outlined. As it is seen in Figure 4, during
takeoff and landing the horses forelimbs have potential
to strike the top of the jump, therefore a collapsible jump
pole is needed that will fall when hit with a horizontal
Key jumping factors in horse training are:
- The horse should be able to learn fr om its mistakes
- The horse should be confident
When the rider has to stop and alter the jump, the
horse drops its momentum, with jump height alterations
being made while riding, the horses momentum is not
lost resulting in much more effective horse training.
2.4. Horse Jump Design
Horse jumps are made up of three main parts: Stands,
Cups and Poles [4].
Figure 3. The NAND equivalent logical operations.
Figure 4. The horse in motions.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. CS
The stands are available in many different types of
materials such as wood, aluminium and plastic. Figure 5
shows an example of a stand. The main design require-
ments in a stand are:
- Can be easily transported by hand
- Will not fall over in the weather
- Have no sharp edges
- Can wi thst an d t he weight o f t he poles
The cups main purpose is to mount onto the stands and
provide support for the poles. They are mostly made
from various metals and plastics. Figure 6 shows the
cups. Their design requirements are:
- Can lock into place at desired height
- Can hold poles stable but will release when
- Will fail at 135 kg of pressure (if a horse was to fall
onto the poles)
3. Design and Development
3.1. Standards and Safety
The RF link must be compliant with the Federal Com-
munications Commission (FCC) [5] rules under Section
47, Chapter 1, Part 15, entitled “Radio Frequency De-
Figure 5. Example of a stand.
Figure 6. The cups.
vices”. This section lays out the rules and regulations
involved with operating a radio controlled device without
a license. The device must not cause harmful interference
and it must accept any interference that may cause unde-
sired operation. Part 15, 23 specifies that “home-built”
devices need only be compliant with FCC regulations to
the best of the builder’s extent, but does not have to
comply otherwise.
The horse jump must ideally have no sharp edges in-
case the rider or horse shall collide with the stand or any
other component. The poles must also collapse when a
reasonable pressure is applied to prevent furthe r injury to
the horse.
3.2. The Proposed Horse Jump
3.2.1. Design
The key design constraints considered were:
- Height (a variable jump pole from 50 cm to 1 m)
- Lightweight (a ble to place in yard by one person)
- Durable (can tolerate outdoors, curious horses and
shock loads from jump poles being knocked around or
undesirable collisions)
- Can wi thst an d t he weight o f t he poles
- Poles are held stable but release when knocked
- Stand will comfortably hold load from pole of 100 N
(10 Kg)
Additional design parameters were:
- Sim ple and affor dable due to a low prototy pe budget
- Locking mechanism to hold jump pole in place
- Ease of manufacture
With these parameters in mind 3 key concepts were
Concept design 1
Figure 7 shows the first design concept.
This design seems very ideal as both sides will remain
horizontal. It was decided to disregard this concept due
the larger number of mechanical components and poten-
tial elasticity in load-bearing components. Also with such
a large frame, moving it around will be difficult. Also due
to its sturdiness, if the horse or rider were to collid e with
the sides of the frame, injuries could be caused.
Concept design 2
The second concept design proposed is shown in Fig-
ure 8. This concept proposed a large belt to rotate around
the stand, Poles could then be attached to the rotating
belt where desired. The major challenge with th is design
is that a motor brake needed to be incorporated into the
design which results very inefficient operation. Also the
large belt seemed hazardous and after consulting expe-
rienced horse jumpers, more noticeable moving objects
will be likely to spoo k their horse resulting in ineffective
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. CS
Figure 7. Design concept 1.
Figure 8. Design concept 2.
Concept design 3
Figure 9 shows concept design 3.
The third and final design is ideal. It conforms to all
constraints and parameters proposed initially. The major
advantage is that the screw style lift pr ev en ts the n eed for
a motor brake.
3.2.2. Implementation
The next step of the design process was to simulate ma-
jor points of fatigue while ensuring the prototype can be
easily constructed with readily available materials. To do
this a stress test using CosmosWork™ [6] was conducted.
Detail in [6] indicates major points of stress are expe-
rienced at the nut where the cup is connected to the ver-
tical shaft. An extra block was inserted to improve axial
stress on the threaded rod as shown in Figure 10.
With the added block, the factor of safety was im-
Figure 9. Concept design 3.
Figure 10. Stress test results for (a) without extra block and
(b) with added block to improve axial stress.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. CS
proved from 3.2 to 4.5. Both of these results are accepta-
ble but because the threaded rod used is not purpose built,
the threads are susceptible to fraying. Therefore the
highest attainable factor of safety was sought after.
With a finalized design, workshop staff proceeded to
construct the jump. Small additional changes, such as a
one piece al uminum casing, were made to improve ease of
3.3. Motor Selection
The desired lifting speed of 1 cm/sec was aimed for. To
achieve this, appropriate gearing and motor power needed
to be considered [see Figure 11].
By u s in g a ge a r ra t i o o f 1 : 5 , i n c l i ne a ng l e o f 0 . 1 d eg r e e s
and RPM of 300. The Torque needed at the motor was
0.2 Nm.
From these results the desired power needed from the
motor was calculated as 40 W.
A cost effective PMDC gear m otor [7] was selected and
then tested in the lab for its characteristics.
It produced easily 100 W at 24 VDC drawing 1.6 A at
no load. With a simulated load it was noticed that there
was almost no change in RPM (due to the gearing) and
the motor was drawing 2.6 A. From these results the de-
sign constraints for the motor control module were set to
be able to satisfy 4 A load at 24 VDC.
3.4. RF Link
3.4.1. Analysis
According to a surv ey conducted to pony club attendants,
the desired control of the horse jump was Up and Down
control via portable remote control. Infra Red [8] was not
ideal due to the rider would be uncomfortably pointing
the remote constantly, Other means such as WiFi [9] and
Bluetooth [10] were over excessive therefore RF control
was ideal.
Figure 11. Gearing arrangement for the motor.
3.4.2. Design
The RF link consists of three modules; Transmitter, Re-
ceiver and Logic Control.
The Transmitter design constrain ts were:
- Transmit at least 2 ch annels of data
- Powered by replaceable batteries
- Small enough to meet expected aesthetics of a re-
mote control
Figure 12 shows the schematic of the transmitter w hic h
was developed in Altium Designer™ [11].
The transmitter module was purchased from JayCar
Electronics [12]. When a button is pressed the encoder is
activated, producing serial data to be sent to the trans-
mitter module for transmission. A specific 8 bit data ad-
dress can be set to minimize any interferenc e caused by
any surrounding RF devices. This circuit is capable of
transmitting another 2 channels of data. These channels
can be used for upgrading the horse jump, such as re-
motely activating a pickup sequence when a pole is
knocked off.
The Receiver design constraints were:
- Receive at least 2 channels of data
- Powered by 5 V Regulated sup ply
- P ro du ce log ic al o ut pu ts to b e p ro c es s ed by t he Log ic
Control module
The schematic for the receiver which was developed
in Altium Designer™ is shown in Figure 13.
The receiver module was purchased from JayCar
Electronics. When a data signal is received that corres-
pond to the Data Address, The decoder then demodulates
the signal and pro duces a Lo gic out p ut to be pr ocessed by
the Logic control module.
Logic Control
The Logic Control design constraints were:
- Process logic signals from receiver
- Process logic signals from limit switches (two
switches a t each maximums of travel)
- Powered by 5 V Regulated supply
- Prod uce Desired outputs for M ot or Cont r ol module
A NAND gate equivalent schematic was formed in
Altium Designer™ as shown in Figure 14.
3.4.3. Implementation
The transmitter and receiver were tested running on
bench supply. Data was successfully tran smitted between
modules. Figure 15 shows a 12 bit serial data being tr ans -
mitted and received.
The outputs of the receiver were measured using an
oscilloscope to ensure data can be processed by the Logic
Control module.
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Figure 12. Schematic of the transmitter.
Figure 13. Schematic for the receiver.
Regulated Supply from
H-Bridge Module
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Figure 14. NAND gate equivalent schematic.
Figure 15. 12 bit serial data tr ansmitted and received.
3.5. DC Motor Control
3.5.1. Analysis
The Motor Control design constraints were:
- Process logic signals from Logic Control
- Produces 5 V Regulated supply to power other
modules and itself
- Have forward and reve rse motor control
- Produce 24 V at 4 A for motor
3.5.2. Design
The schematic in Figure 16 was developed in Altium
Designer™ and assessed for reliability.
The L298 Dual H-Bridge driver was used in parallel as
each H-Bridge was capable of 50 V at 2 A, therefore
connected in parallel created potential motor supply of
50 V at 4 A continuously. The 5 V regulator is capable of
regulating an input supply voltage of 36 V but has a
recommended input vo ltage of around 9 V, Therefo re an
input voltage of 24 V is acceptable. Because of the large
voltage difference a heat sink needed to be added to the
voltage regulator. Also the L29 8 needed a large heat sink
due to the High amperage passing through.
3.5.3. Implementation
The motor Control circuit was then tested in th e adv a n c ed
electronics lab, a 24 V bench supply powered the mod-
ule while 5 V logic also created from the bench supply
was used to survey motor response. The L298 and 5 V
regulator didn’t show any major signs of overheating. All
modules were then tested together before integrating
them with the prototype as shown in Figure 17.
4. Conclusions
The finalized horse jump prototype was capable of lifting
two jump poles at a steady rate of 1 cm/sec over a height
range of about 40 cm to 1.2 M. The prototype is only a
single jump stand and further development is needed to
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. CS
Figure 16. Schematic for the DC motor control circuit.
Figure 17. Prototype.
incorporate two jump stands. The prototype is very me-
chanically sound and is capable of several repetitive
height adjustments. The cups can hold standard jump
poles stable, with a solid horizontal tap, the po les can be
clearly knocked off.
The Transmitter module successfully transmits 2
channels of data while being powered by 2xAAA batte-
ries, the dimensions are small enough to fit in an aes-
thetically pleasing remote control case.
The Receiver module successfully receives 2 channels
of data, producing logical outputs to be processed for
motor control.
The H-Bridge circuit successfully controls the direction
of the motor when given the correct logical operations.
Overheating of the circuit was prevented well.
The motor drives the prototype well, operating
wi th in its design specifications. The maximum current of
4 A that the H-Bridge can supply is very unlikely to be
Further development of a pickup sequence needs to be
considered for the horse jump to be fully automated. A
process where a motor “reels” in the fallen pole can be
implemented in the fu ture.
5. References
[1] J. J. Michael, “Power Electronics: Principles and Appli-
cations,” Delmar Thomson Learning, USA, 2002.
5 V Regulator
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[2] J. W. Stewart and J. J. Mistovich, “The 8051 Microcon-
troller: Hardware, Software and Interfacing,” 2nd Edition,
Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1998.
[3] W. J. Eldon, “Boolean Algebra and Its Applications,”
Dover Publications, USA, 2010.
[4] M. Summers, “Building Showjumping Courses: A Guide
for Beginners,” The Pony Club, 2006.
[5] 2010.
[6] 2010.
[7] R. Krishnan, “Permanent Magnet Synchronous and
Brushless Dc Motor Drives,” CRC Press, Boca Raton,
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[8] G. K. Shen, “Remote Control Using Inferared with Mes-
sage Recording,” Master’s Thesis, Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia, 2008.
[9] J. Ross, “The Book of Wi-Fi: Install, Configure and Use
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[12] 2010.