On Driving

carriageThose of you who drive horses, or use them for hauling, dragging, or even plowing, are invited to submit those uses to us as ones we should include in the book’s illustrations. You are encouraged to suggest the breed(s) of horse (or mule or pony, etc.) you use in these activities as well. You’re part of the “horse community” just as much as is the person who rides dressage in a show ring or cuts cattle on a ranch. And the anatomy and basic biomechanical adapations of your horses are the same as those found in other kinds of horses. So the horses you love and work with make good examples in our book’s illustrations.

But we want to be sure you understand that this does not mean we plan to explain the biomechanics of how a horse pulls a load through structures such as hames. There are several reasons we can’t do this, including the fact that the professional horseperson member of our team has experience primarily in riding rather than driving, that the professional scientist member of our team has focused primarily on “speed” rather than “power” adaptations in vertebrate animals, and that there have been relatively few scientific studies of load-pulling power adaptations in horses. So the references we make to the biomechanical adaptations that make horses strong enough to pull a load that’s behind them will be infrequent and generalized — although we do think you’ll appreciate what’s there.

pull 3The thing is, we think you’ll learn enough about horse biomechanics in general that you’ll be able to start applying what you’ve learned to your own situation. And we hope that giving you the chance to participate in this book by suggesting images we can include in the illustrations, you’ll be able to bring your interest in horse biomechanics to the research community’s attention. But until then, the application part of our horse biomechanics book emphasizes riding — which is why the book is titled as it is.