The Three Horses Question

Cliff Pickover's The Galactic Question Center blog asks one interesting question every month. Last July, the question was this:

Consider three horses, each pulling a cart filled with hay. The horses are in a row, walking down the road. As it walks, the second horse gets to eat from the hay that the first horse is pulling. The third horse gets to eat from the hay the second horse is pulling. Which horse would you prefer to be?

The comments are just as interesting as the question! Link
(Photo: mexikids [Flickr])

First horse; my load is lightening, and so am I as I expend energy. This is true for a short trip.

Second horse; my load is lightening, but my energy stores are being replenished. This is true for the longer trip.

Never the third horse. He gets to eat, but his load never lightens.
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I would have to say second horse, then first horse, then the third. The second gets its load of hay lightened while eating off of the first cart win-win situation. The first horse would just have a lightened load, however, the poor third one will still have to carry its load of hay.

I do wonder though about the drivers/farmers whose hay is being eaten! If anything the driver/farmer in the third cart would be happy because he can sell his hay at the market for a better price. No competition! Yay for simple economics! ;)
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I'd want to be the first horse. I wouldn't want to be behind the other horses. I'd get there first. Relax for a minute. Then eat hay from number three's cart. Or maybe I'd get some oats since I'm now presumably at the end of my journey. Plus, if I was #2 or #3 I'd probably be getting my ass whipped for eating from the other's carts.

Or...being the first horse you may have to take directions from the driver which may mean more whippings. The other two just get to follow the first.

Also, I think the load issue might not have too great an impact. As long as the hay isn't baled it should be relatively light...for a horse.

But what do I know. I'm a human.
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Hmm, I guess, being the first horse is the least attractive position, as you will have no hay to eat and your load is getting minimally lighter (I mean, how much would a horse have to eat from the total amount of hay so that it would make a difference noticeable enough). Furthermore it is not said what kind of a weather it is... in case of a storm, the first horse will still have the most difficult position.
But would I rather walk through horse-dung than walk first in a (possible) storm?
Ahh, another sleepless night for me.. ;-D
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Nr 2 can eat and his load gets lighter, so seems the best place.
But Nr 3 is the only horse that gets to eat ánd gets the work done, so he has food ánd gets payed.
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someone in the comments section said this:

"I think the first horse is in the leader role, while having it's burdon relieved by the second horse by eating it.
The second and third horses represent followers, not in control of the direction they are going.
Basically, the three horses represent current society. First horse- upper class;leaders. Second horse- middle class. Third horse- lower class;servants.

if you pictured our society like this, the leader would be eating from the 3rd horse's stack, and they'd be going in circles, just like our society is.
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I'd rather be the guy selling the hay. The horses are all gonna get whipped, and the driver will lose his job for letting the horses eat the hay, and the guy who bought the hay isn't getting what he paid for.
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WAIT! Where does it say that the Third horses load did not lighten? It doesnt. You only assumed it doesnt. Why I dont know considering the other loads of hay are falling. If all load of hay are gradually lessening then the Third Horse eats from the second horse's load and potential from the 1st if he stop and eats some off the ground that might have fallen.Plus his load has lighten. Something to think about.
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