Horse and Cheetah Running

Cheetah vs. Horse

Both lift all 4 feet off the ground when their feet are crossed underneath the body. But the cheetah has a 2nd period in which its feet are off the ground: that's when the cheetah stretches out to its fully extended position. The cheetah's flexible spine curls like a whip producing a burst of acceleration. The movement of that spine adds about 30 inches (75 cm) to the cheetah's total stride. Although a cheetah's body is shorter than a horse they both have the same stride length of about 22 feet (6.6 m). The cheetah completes more than 3 strides per second compared to the horse's 2 strides per second. The horse's spine remains relatively rigid and all the work of running is done by the legs. Over an extended distance the horse can outrun the cheetah. But nothing surpasses this cat in short sprints: it can accelerate from 0 to 45 mph (0 to 72 kph) in 2 seconds.

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