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Falling horses

>Pulling a horse up doesn't involve fighting the reins and trying to
>physically haul a horse up -- it involves giving the reins a quick jerk so
>the horse reacts to the bit by pulling its head up, and the force upward of
>that very heavy head lightens the front so it's easy for the legs to get
>back underneath (if you did that and the horse wasn't stumbling he'd
>probably start to rear).  A simple, quick movement -- and it has saved both
>the horse and I from hitting the ground more than once.

     I have given this some thought in the past from a biomechanical
standpoint.  And  I propose the following.
The horse reacting and pulling its head up will cause the rest of his mass
to go farther down making it even harder for him to get his legs back under
himself. (remember for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction)
The heavy head coming up causes the unsupported front of the body to go
   A horse drops his head when he stumbles in front to allow the rest of his
body to go slightly higher to give himself more room to get the legs free
and out in front again.
   Another common sense way to look at it is from the horse's viewpoint and
millions of years of evolution.  Does the horse want to fall? Of course not
so he is doing what he he has learned to stay up.  We help him the best by
staying out of his way.
  It always bothers me to hear somebody say  " My horse almost fell, I
really had to pull hard to keep him up"  This is akin to pulling ones self
up by your bootstraps.  Sounds good but never seem to work. I can't lift
myself off the ground by my shoelaces and you can't lift your horse off the
ground by his reins.
   Reasonable, well thought out disagreements to this train of thought are
welcomed as long as they fit some science (physics, engineering or whatever)
as I am open to revising my thoughts if the engineering shows otherwise.

Jim Mitchell

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