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"IMHO, having students do computer games projects is absolutely the best possible way to teach programming, graphics, software engineering, object oriented programming, etc."
- Rudy Rucker

Robotic Horse - Faithful Cybernetic Companion  
  A robot that is specifically designed to closely resemble a horse.  

FESS (the name of the horse mentioned in the following quote) had one charming idiosyncrasy; a faulty capacitor would blow just at the most exciting (dangerous) moments.

Rod cradled the robot "brain" in the crook of one arm, leaving one arm free to negotiate the air lock. Outside again, he pressed a stud in the side of the ship. A large door lifted from the side of the pseudo-asteroid. Inside, a great black horse hung from shock webbing, head between its forelegs, eyes closed.
Rod pressed a button; a crane extended from the cargo space. The horse swung out on the crane, was lowered till its hooves touched the ground. Rod twisted the saddlehorn, and a panel in the horse's side slid open.
Rod placed the brain inside the panel, tightened the clamp and the connections, then twisted the saddlehorn back; the panel slid shut. Slowly the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.
"All as it should be," said the voice behind Rod's ear. The horse champed at the bit. "If you'll let me out of this cat's cradle, I'll check the motor circuits."
Rod grinned and freed the webbing. The horse reared up, pawing the air, then sprang into a gallop. Rod watched the robot run, taking a good look at his surroundings in the process.
The asteroid-ship had landed in the center of a meadow, shaggy with summer grass, ringed by oak, hickory, maple, and ash. It was night, but the meadow was flooded with the light of three moons.
The robot cantered back toward Rod, reared to a halt before him. Forehooves thudded on the ground; the great indigo eyes turned to look at Rod, the ears pricked forward.


('The Warlock in Spite of Himself' by Christopher Stasheff)

"I'm fit," Fess reported.
Rod grinned again. "No sight like a running horse."

Technovelgy from The Warlock in Spite of Himself, by Christopher Stasheff.
Published by Bantam Books in 1969
Additional resources -

FESS gets his name from an acronym:

Fess was very dutiful. He was also an antique, one of the few remaining FCC (Faithful Cybernetic Companion) robots, early models now two thousand years out of date. The FCC robots had been programmed for extreme loyalty and, as a consequence, had perished in droves while defending their masters during the bloody Interregnum between the collapse of the ancient Galactic Union and the rise of the Proletarian Eclectic State of Terra.

Fess (a name derived from trying to pronounce "FCC" as a single word) had survived, thanks to his epilepsy. He had a weak capacitor that, when over-strained, released all its stored energy in a massive surge lasting several milli-seconds. When the preliminary symptoms of this electronic seizure—mainly a fuzziness in Fess's calculations—appeared, a master circuit breaker popped, and the faulty capacitor discharged in isolation from the rest of Fess's circuits; but the robot was out of commission until the circuit breaker was reset.

Since the seizures occurred during moments of great stress—such as trying to land a spaceship-cum-asteroid while analyzing an aberrant radio wave, or trying to protect a master from three simultaneous murderers— Fess had survived the Interregnum; for, when the Proletarians had attacked his masters, he had fought manfully for about twenty-five seconds, then collapsed. He had thus become a rarity—the courageous servant who had survived. He was one of five FCC robots still functioning.

Another variation on the robotic horse idea is the horse named Black in Roger Zelazny's stories about Dilvish the Damned. Black is a metallic horse; that is, he is a demon who manifests as a horse made of metal (as opposed to being a robotic horse - hey, it's a fantasy, you can do what you want).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Warlock in Spite of Himself
  More Ideas and Technology by Christopher Stasheff
  Tech news articles related to The Warlock in Spite of Himself
  Tech news articles related to works by Christopher Stasheff

Robotic Horse - Faithful Cybernetic Companion-related news articles:
  - Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
  - Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride
  - Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place

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