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Publication numberUS20070287139 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/448,610
Publication dateDec 13, 2007
Filing dateJun 7, 2006
Priority dateJun 7, 2006
Publication number11448610, 448610, US 2007/0287139 A1, US 2007/287139 A1, US 20070287139 A1, US 20070287139A1, US 2007287139 A1, US 2007287139A1, US-A1-20070287139, US-A1-2007287139, US2007/0287139A1, US2007/287139A1, US20070287139 A1, US20070287139A1, US2007287139 A1, US2007287139A1
InventorsMarc Andrew Holm
Original AssigneeMarc Andrew Holm
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Riding simulator and method of use
US 20070287139 A1
Abstract
In combination with a computer and software, a horse riding simulator includes a horse body apparatus which imitates an appearance of a real horse. A control device manually operable by a rider is provided for selecting at least one of a surrounding environment, a horse ride setting, a riding discipline and a skill level. A display responsive to the control device for displaying the surrounding environment and for displaying an image of at least a predetermined portion of a horse body and a predetermined portion of a rider body positioned within the surrounding environment.
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Claims(20)
1. A method of simulating riding an animal, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) using a body apparatus which imitates an appearance of a real animal;
(b) selecting at least one of a surrounding environment, a ride setting and a riding discipline; and
(c) displaying, on a display, said surrounding environment selected in step (b); and
(d) displaying, on said display means, an image of at least a predetermined portion of an animal body and a predetermined portion of a rider body positioned within said surrounding environment selected in step (b) and displayed in step (c).
2. The method, according to claim 1, wherein said ride setting is one of automatic, interactive and learning.
3. The method, according to claim 2, wherein said ride setting is said automatic ride setting and wherein such computer issues commands associated with said automatic ride setting.
4. The method, according to claim 2, wherein said ride setting is said interactive ride setting requiring such rider to issue commands in response to a dynamically changing surrounding environment and wherein said display means is capable of further displaying positions of said predetermined portion of said animal's body and said predetermined portion of said rider body responsive to said commands issued by such rider.
5. The method, according to claim 2, wherein said ride setting is said learning ride setting, wherein said simulator provides riding instructions to such rider and wherein said rider issues commands in response to said riding instructions.
6. The method, according to claim 1, wherein said riding discipline is one of a race, pleasure riding, saddle seat, hunting seat, jumping, equestrian, English, western, competition, rodeo and parade and wherein said display means is capable of displaying a respective surrounding environment associated with said selected riding discipline.
7. The method, according to claim 1, wherein said method further includes a step of selecting a skill level.
8. The method, according to claim 7, wherein said skill level is one of novice, intermediate and expert.
9. The method, according to claim 1, wherein said method further includes a step of selecting a difficulty level.
10. In combination with a computer and software, a horse riding simulator comprising:
(a) a horse body apparatus which imitates an appearance of a real horse;
(b) a selection means manually operable by a rider for selecting at least one of a surrounding environment, a horse ride setting, a riding discipline and a skill level; and
(c) a display means responsive to said selection means for displaying said surrounding environment and for displaying an image of at least a predetermined portion of a horse body and a predetermined portion of a rider body positioned within said surrounding environment.
11. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator includes a saddle means secured in a removable manner to a predetermined portion of said horse body apparatus.
12. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator further includes an audio means.
13. The simulator, according to claim 12, wherein said audio means generates riding instructions and commands.
14. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said predetermined portion of said horse body includes at least a head and a neck.
15. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said predetermined portion of said rider body includes a virtual representation of rider's hands.
16. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator further includes a means disposed therein for generating air flow which is directed onto such rider using said simulator.
17. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator further includes a control panel mounted in close proximity to said horse body apparatus, said control panel containing said selection means.
18. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator further includes a camera means mounted in a position for capturing an image of at least said predetermined portion of said rider body and for transmitting said captured image to such computer and wherein said captured image is interposed into said surrounding environment displayed on said display means.
19. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said simulator further includes a means disposed within said horse body for receiving commands issued by such rider mounted on said horse body apparatus.
20. The simulator, according to claim 10, wherein said horse body apparatus includes at least one movable portion and wherein said simulator further includes means disposed within said horse body apparatus for moving said at least one movable portion thereof in response to commands issued by one of such rider and such computer.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates, in general, to riding simulators and, more particularly, this invention relates to a riding simulator utilizing an artificial horse body.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As is generally well known, horse riding is pursued by many for a number of reasons. Some use horses in commercial applications such as cattle grazing while others participate in events such as horse racing and sports competitions. A large number of the public enjoy horse riding for solely leisurely purposes to unwind from a stressful lifestyle or to simply enjoy the nature which is inaccessible to conventional vehicles or requires great physical effort to explore on foot. Yet others simply prefer to experience horse riding in a simulated type environment without having to learn how to ride a live horse.

Those who ride real horses undergo extensive training and are well aware that to communication to a horse one must use vocal as well as body language with the later being a more sophisticated of the two and a more difficult to learn.

Body language of the horse involves, for example, a certain look, a direction and/or movement of the ears, or a slight turn of the head. Learning this subtle language can only help in understanding a horse and improve one's riding skills. It is further important to understand horse's body language as the rider uses reins and certain parts of their own body, such as legs, to control the horse during riding.

Position and balance of the rider's body during riding also affects the control of the horse. That is why the novice riders rely on experience of and instructions from professional trainers when learning how to ride a horse. Riders experienced with one type of a horse or with a particular riding style must also undergo training when they desire to gain expertise in a different riding style or experience riding a different type of horse.

However, services of professional trainers increase the cost associated with horse riding. The general public is also disadvantaged at times by limited choices of the type of horse selected or by riding styles. Climatic conditions further affect ability to train as most training is usually performed outdoors.

Attempts have been made to provide other training and riding options. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,167 to Nishiyama discloses a riding gaming machine which employs a display for displaying game information and a riding horse body imitating a horse body. The riding horse body is provided with manipulation means for performing game manipulation and a control section is connected to the display means and the manipulation means for controlling game information displayed on the display means.

A whip is connected to the control section and is used as the manipulation means, while a contact detection sensor is installed in the contact part of the whip. A contact detection sensor connected to the control section is installed in the buttocks of the riding horse body as the manipulation means for detecting a game player whipping the buttocks. Thus, the player playing the game is able to ride the riding horse body and speed up the horse in response to the number of times the player whips the buttocks of the horse body and the quickness and strength of whipping.

A grip that the game player can hold is installed on the head of the riding horse body as the manipulation means and the turn detection sensor detects the game player holding the grip and turning the head of the riding horse body. Thus, the game player can handle the horse in the display means as he or she handles an actual riding horse by swinging the nose (head) of the horse body left or right for diverting the horse.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,808,458 to Jung discloses a stationary horse riding sporting apparatus which includes a saddle and a saddle support. A sliding assembly is provided for moving the saddle support in a forward and backward direction, while an elevating assembly is provided for moving the saddle support up and down. A load adjusting assembly connected to the elevating assembly is provided for adjusting the load strength for the saddle support. A controller automatically controls the operation of the above described components.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,988,300 to Yamaguchi at al teaches a riding simulator wherein the basic stepping actions of a real horse is closely simulated. The riding simulator includes an artificial horse body, horse body supporting structures for circularly and movably supporting the lower ends of forelegs and hind legs of the horse body, swing adjusting devices for driving the horse body supporting structures and for moving the horse body in both vertical and longitudinal directions, and phase adjusting devices for adjusting the phase difference between the vertical motion and the longitudinal motion of the horse body when the horse body supporting structures are driven. The riding simulator also includes provision for enabling the rider to give aids to the horse body so that the basic stepping actions of a real horse can be simulated.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,964,614 to Tsai teaches a riding device which includes a seat like member positioned over an intermediate base which is pivotally assembled on a bottom base. A power transmission mechanism is operable by a motor to swing the seat like member back and forth, up and down and left and right.

However, the available prior art devices fail to adequately simulate the majority of real life conditions associated with horse riding and fail to provide the rider with a realistic surrounding environment to learn horse riding.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first embodiment, the present invention provides a method of simulating animal riding. The method includes providing an artificial animal body which imitates a real animal. Then, selecting at least one of a surrounding environment, a ride setting and a riding discipline. Next, displaying the surrounding setting. And finally, displaying at least a portion of the animal body and a predetermined portion of the rider body.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a horse riding simulator. The simulator includes an artificial horse body which imitates a real horse. A control device, manually operable by a rider, is provided for selecting at least one of a surrounding environment, a horse ride setting, a riding discipline and a skill level. A display is responsive to the control device for displaying the surrounding environment and for displaying an image of at least a predetermined portion of a horse body and a predetermined portion of a rider body positioned within the surrounding environment.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to provide a riding simulator utilizing an artificial horse body.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator utilizing an artificial horse body which can simulate the motions of a real horse.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator utilizing an artificial horse body which can be controlled by the rider's hands and legs.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator utilizing an artificial horse body which can be controlled by the rider's voice commands.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which enables the rider to select a horse ride setting from one of automatic, interactive and learning.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which provides instructions to the rider who selected a learning ride setting.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which enables the rider to select a riding discipline being one of a race, pleasure riding, saddle seat, hunting/jumping, equestrian, English, western, competition and parade.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which enables the rider to chose a saddle style corresponding to the selected riding discipline.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which enables the rider to select either a novice, intermediate or expert skill level.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which is capable of displaying a surrounding environment in response to the rider selection.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a riding simulator which is capable of displaying a horse and rider image within a surrounding environment responsive to the rider selection.

In addition to the several objects and advantages of the present invention which have been described with some degree of specificity above, various other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent to those persons who are skilled in the relevant art, particularly, when such description is taken in conjunction with the attached drawing Figures and with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 a is a perspective view of a riding simulator of the present invention illustrating a horse body apparatus which imitates an appearance of a real horse;

FIG. 1 b is a perspective view of a riding simulator of the present invention illustrating a selection means which is manually operable by a rider;

FIG. 1 c is a perspective view of a riding simulator of the present invention illustrating a display means for displaying at least a surrounding environment selected by the rider during use of the riding simulator;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the riding simulator of the present invention illustrating an image of the presently preferred embodiment displayed on the display means;

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the riding simulator of FIGS. 1 a-1 c;

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the air flow generating apparatus in use with the riding simulator of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of a riding simulator of the present invention illustrating internal construction of the horse body; and

FIG. 6 is a prior art schematic representation illustrating locations of various sensors of the horse body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Prior to proceeding to the more detailed description of the present invention, it should be noted that, for the sake of clarity and understanding, identical components which have identical functions have been identified with identical reference numerals throughout the several views illustrated in the drawing figures.

Reference is now made, to FIGS. 1-6, wherein there is shown a horse riding simulator, generally designated 10, which includes a horse body apparatus, generally designated 20. The horse body apparatus 20 imitates an appearance of a real horse and includes a body 22 with buttocks 24 positioned in the rear portion of the body 22. A pair of forelegs 26, and a pair of hind legs 28 are attached to the lower surface of the body 22. A head 30 is connected by a neck 32 to the front portion of the body 22.

In the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the body 22 is elevated from a ground surface and is supported in an elevated position by a vertically disposed elongated member 34 and an optional base member 36 when additional support is required.

A saddle means 38 is secured in a removable manner to a predetermined portion of body 22 intermediate the buttocks 24 and the neck 32. The saddle means 38 may be any one of the well known saddles styles including but not limited to saddle seat, racing, hunter-jumper, dressage, close contact, all purpose, English and western. A rider 2 using such simulator 10 is shown as sitting in the saddle means 38 and holding the reins 39 attached to the head 30 in a well known arrangement.

Now refer to FIG. 1 b. Illustrated therein is a selection means, generally designated 40, which is manually operable by the rider 2 for selecting at least one of a surrounding environment 6, a horse ride setting, a riding discipline and a skill level.

The selection means 40 of the presently preferred embodiment includes a plurality of switch means 42 which are mounted within a control panel 50. The switch means 42 are manually operable between a plurality of positions each associated with a respective selection. Furthermore, such switch means 42 may be used in combination with a selection display 44.

Alternatively, the selection display 44 may be configured as a well known touch screen operable by the rider 2 to select ride parameters. The selection means 40 is disposed in close proximity to the horse body apparatus 20 and is mounted in an elevated position in relationship to the ground surface with an elongated member 52 and an optional base member 54. The selection means 40 may further include a computer 12 and software for operating the simulator 10.

FIG. 1 c illustrates another essential element of the present invention such as a display means 60 which is responsive to the selection means 40 for displaying an image of the surrounding environment 6 selected by the rider 2 and for displaying an image of at least a predetermined portion of a horse body 22 and a predetermined portion of a rider body positioned within the surrounding environment 6.

Now in reference to FIG. 2, preferably, the predetermined portion of the horse body 22 includes a top of the head 30, a pair of ears 31 and neck 32. The predetermined portion of the rider body includes a virtual representation of the hands 4. Images of both predetermined portions appear on the display 60 to simulate the view observed by the rider 2 during riding of the real life horse. The display means 60 may be any well known device, such as a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, etc. The shape of the display means 60 is preferably arcuate, as best shown in FIG. 1 c to improve simulation of the surrounding environment 6.

The simulator 10 further includes an audio means 62 connected to a pair of speakers 64. Preferably, operation of the audio means 62 is synchronized with the display means 60. It is further preferred that the audio means 62 is capable of generating a sound which is characteristic of a sound produced by a real horse and which is distributed through the pair of speakers 64. As is well known, the sound which is generated by the real horse includes but is not limited to one of winnie, sneeze, nicker, horse hooves and various combinations thereof. The audio means 62 is further capable of generating a sound representative of the surrounding environment 6 being selected by the rider 2 and displayed on the display means 60.

The simulator 10 may further include at least one microphone 66 for receiving voice commands issued by the rider 2 and a camera means 68 for capturing a portion of such rider 2 and for transmitting the captured image to such computer 12 and wherein the captured image is interposed into the surrounding environment 6 displayed on the display means 60.

Although, the camera 68 is illustrated in FIG. 1 c as being attached to the display means 60, it should be appreciated that such camera 68 may be mounted in other predetermined locations. For example, the camera 68 may be located to the side of the rider 2 to capture the side and full image of such rider 2 sitting on the horse body apparatus 20.

To further improve reality of the simulated surrounding environment 6, the simulator 10 may include means 70 disposed therein for generating an air flow which is directed onto such rider 2 using the simulator 10. The air generating means 70, which is schematically shown in FIG. 4, includes a blower 72, a motor 74 for operating such blower and at least one routing duct 76 which directs the air flow onto the rider 2.

In operation, the rider 2 uses the selection means 40 to select a riding discipline from a variety of riding disciplines preprogrammed and stored within the riding simulator 10, and more particularly the computer 12.

Such riding discipline includes but is not limited to a race, pleasure riding, hunt seat, saddle seat, jumping, equestrian, English, western, competition and parade. The riding simulator 10 may optionally enable the user 2 to select a specific event in any of riding discipline. For example, if the rider 2 selects the horse race as a preferred riding discipline, events such as Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes will become available for further selection. The rider 2 may further select a specific year and a specific horse that was racing in such year and in such event. Accordingly, the rider 2 may select and experience riding a Sea Biscuit, Secretariat or Seattle Slue at a historic race event.

Depending on the selected riding discipline, the rider 2 will then select a ride setting. In the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the rider 2 is able to choose between at least three distinct ride settings such as automatic, interactive and learning. Next, the rider 2 selects a surrounding environment 6 from a menu displayed on the selection display 44 and finally selects the skill level. In accordance with the present invention, the rider 2 will be presented with at least one option. For example, if the rider 2 selects the Kentucky Derby race, the most famous American horse race, the image of Churchill Downs racetrack will be displayed on the display means 60 without further action by the rider. Rider 2 may be further provided with an option to select a specific year and even a specific horse that participated in that race. Alternatively, the rider 2 may manually select a surrounding environment 6.

If the rider 2 selects the automatic ride setting, the computer 12 issues all necessary commands associated with such ride setting and enables the rider 2 mounted on horse body 22 to simply enjoy the race. The rider 2 will be able to view the race from the view point of the jockey riding the horse starting with the gate and ending with the finish line. Accordingly, the simulated images of the race track and other horses participating in that race will dynamically change during the race.

When the interactive ride setting is selected, the rider 2 will be required to issue commands in response to a dynamically changing image of the surrounding environment 6. The commands will be identical to those used to control and handle a real horse. The rider 2 will be required to use their legs and the reins 39 to set rhythm, pace and other riding attributes.

In the interactive ride setting, the display means 60 will be capable of further displaying positions of the predetermined portion of the horse body and the predetermined portion of the rider body responsive to the commands issued by such rider 2. Thus, if the rider 2 issues a wrong command, the effects of such command will be processed by the computer 12 and simulated on the display means 60. With regards to the above example, the rider 2 may observe unintentional behavior of the horse which may be running in the wrong direction or slowing its pace. The rider 2 may then issue additional commands to correct the situation and observe the incremental changes in the images simulated and displayed on the display means 60.

The learning ride settings differs from the interactive ride setting in that the rider 2 receives instructions in response to the issued commands and wherein the rider issues commands in response to the received instructions.

After completing the learning session, the rider 2 may select the interactive mode and apply the skills learned during the learning session.

It will be understood that the surrounding environment, difficulty of the riding discipline and level of the instructions will vary depending on the skill level selected by the rider 2.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the rider 2 may select a difficulty level when selecting a riding discipline. Three presently preferred basic levels such as easy, moderate and difficult are available for selection, although other levels may be available as well.

The computer 12 will adjust the image of the surrounding environment 6 depending on the level of difficulty and further in combination with the skill level selected by the rider 2. For example, when the rider 2 selects an easy leisure ride setting, the surrounding environment 6 may be displayed as a straight level path. At a moderate difficulty level, the surrounding environment 6 may include a winding path with changes of elevation. At a difficult level, such path may cross a body of water or include a bridge which, as is well known in the art of horse riding, require higher degree of control by the rider 2 and are more troublesome to a real horse.

Furthermore, the rider 2 may utilize the selection means 40 to select a skill level from a group including but not limited to a novice, intermediate and expert levels. Advantageously, when the rider 2 selects a learning mode, the instructions will be adjusted based on the selected skill level. For example, at the novice level, each single instruction will be provided to the rider 2 and will be incrementally responsive to actions taken by such rider 2. Wherein, at the expert level, only the most glaring mistakes by the rider 2 may be corrected.

After completing a particular discipline or stops using the simulator 10 all together, the rider 2 may choose, albeit at an additional cost, to receive a record of such use.

Accordingly, the simulator 10 may further include means 69, for example, a digital video disk (DVD) burner 69, for transferring the images generated by the computer 12 and saved within its memory onto a digital video disk (not shown).

It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the horse body apparatus 20 will be constructed to simulate movements of the real horse. By way of example in FIG. 5, such horse body apparatus 20 includes a base 100 attached to a free end of the elongated member 34 and a frame means 110 movably connected to such base 100. The frame means 110 is constructed to movably support the body 22, pair of forelegs 26, pair of hind legs 28, head 30, pair of ears 31 and the neck 32.

There is a means 120 which is attached to the base 100 and coupled to the frame means 110 for moving such frame means 110 in a generally vertical plane and in a forward and backward direction in response to the commands issued by one of such rider 2 and such computer 12. Such means 120 may be, for example, a pair of pneumatic cylinders or a pair of electrically operated drive screws 120. Saddle mounting member 130 is coupled to one of the frame means 110 and base 100 for movably attaching the saddle means 38.

Furthermore, the simulator 10 includes a means disposed within the horse body 22 for receiving commands issued by such rider 2 mounted on the horse body apparatus 20.

FIG. 6 illustrates prior art locations of various sensors of the horse body for receiving such commands and which are adapted for providing distinct signals to the computer 12. Computer 12 will then operate means 120 in response to received sensor signals. Such sensors are taught by U.S. Pat. No. 4,988,300 issued Jan. 29, 1991 to Yamaguchi et al and the teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 4,988,300 are incorporated herein by reference thereto.

Furthermore, U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,167 issued Apr. 3, 2001 to Nishiyama discloses a turnable head portion and a swing detection means which may be advantageous for use in the present invention. Accordingly, the teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,167 are incorporated by herein by reference thereto.

Although the present invention has been shown in terms of horse riding simulation, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that the present invention may be applied to other animal riding arts. For example, the simulator 10 may incorporate a bull's body for rodeo training.

Furthermore, a size of the body apparatus 20 may be selected for a certain category of the public. For example, a full grown five-gated body may be available for adults, while a pony-size body apparatus may be made available for children.

Thus, the present invention has been described in such full, clear, concise and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use the same. It will be understood that variations, modifications, equivalents and substitutions for components of the specifically described embodiments of the invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8047924Oct 6, 2009Nov 1, 2011Roland TirelliRiding simulation system
US8246479Jul 19, 2011Aug 21, 2012Roland TirelliMechanical device for simulating an animal ride
US8277327 *Jan 15, 2009Oct 2, 2012Nintendo Co., Ltd.Horseback riding simulation
US8529310Feb 1, 2011Sep 10, 2013Radio Flyer Inc.Children's riding toy having electronic sound effects
US8827279Feb 20, 2013Sep 9, 2014Michele ClarkHorse riding simulation system
US20100009762 *Jan 15, 2009Jan 14, 2010Genyo TakedaHorseback riding simulation
US20120282588 *Sep 29, 2010Nov 8, 2012Ansible Motion LimitedMobile platform
Classifications
U.S. Classification434/247
International ClassificationA63B69/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/04
European ClassificationA63B69/04