The horse in motion

Interactive viz

H is for Horses

Team Green love horses…[fact]

But what to viz? I was gonna get scrutinised top down with this topic (Mother in-law, wife and both children) so I thought I best do something fun!

Initially I was thinking of visualising data about horse racing (I love a cheeky bet) however with Team Green spending a little more time at home these past few weeks… its been lovely watching the kids taking solace in caring for and riding the ponies (even more than normal). Both children have been insistent on setting up jumps for their respective ponies which has been nothing short of heart attack inducing, but also taking advantage of getting out for an hours trot and canter.

This  got me thinking about horses in motion….

A bit of googling later……I stumbled upon an exhibit at the Tate – Room 5 – Horse in motion and I instantly thought ‘Yep I can recreate that in Tableau’!!!

The inspiration

When a horse trots or gallops, does it ever become fully airborne? This was the question photographer Eadweard Muybridge set out to answer in 1878.


Image attribution

The Viz

A gif

H is for Horses_2


Key Techniques

I used this image as a base:

running horse2

  • Sheet swapping – go to blog here from the Information Labs data school. Blog by Hashu ShenkarSwitch between views dynamically on a dashboard
  • Layering of the grid for the animation part of the viz – I showed an early version to the legend Lorna Brown and she gave me a great suggestion for how to achieve an animated view of this frame by frame grid using a few table calcs on the X and Y co-ordinates, the approach I took is shown below to layer the X and Y co-ordinates.

Tableau calculation –


  • Animation – Quick thanks to Ken Flerlage whom is always willing to lend a brain cell to help diagnose a hick up I had with getting animations working in Tableau Public. It turns out – don’t tick the ‘show history‘ tick box, as this cancels out the animation!!!

The verdict

My 4 year old little girl loves it (which is good enough in my book) and insisted it was done in pink, although she was a little disappointed that I didn’t turn it into a unicorn – but hey you can’t win em all!

Thanks for reading, any questions or feedback most welcome, please get in touch.

Stay tuned for Laura’s take on ‘H is for Horses’ next week on her blog