Response to the waspish ghosts of theological thinking.

Part XI

Up and Down Neck

We published recently a study explaining the work of the upper neck muscles as they lower the horse’s neck and of course, the I know all of the equestrian world went on a rampage. When ghosts are not throwing dirt at each other, they are keeping their horse’s nose in the dirt. Ghosts don’t want to know how the horse’s body works. They want to submit the horse’s physique to their beliefs and react angrily when their beliefs are questioned.

The study unambiguously demonstrates that the lowering of the horse’s neck does not stretch the upper neck muscles nor does it stretch the back muscles. But ghosts do not live in reality and they have to convince themselves and, unfortunately, others that they are right. Knowing that the results of scientific experiments are always influenced by the specific angle of the investigative techniques, Albert Einstein wrote, “A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.” Ghosts experiment following a different path; they create experiments designed to support their views but that are totally unrelated to reality. One of the I know all presented a picture of a horse standing still and lifting the back as he was lowering the neck. The demonstration is a joke. The phenomenon is very well known as verticalisation of the dorsal spinous processes. The phenomenon has been observed on specimens in the necropsy room as well as on live horses. The nuchal ligament is pulling on the tip of the dorsal spine of the cranial thoracic vertebrae pulling them into a more vertical position. This can be interpreted as a lift but it is, in fact, a rotation. We have observed in the training ring that such rotation was indeed increasing the weight on the forelegs. In fact exactly the same result can be achieved without lowering the neck but simply touching the pectoral muscles between the forelegs.

I responded that this type of standing demonstration was meaningless and would have no effects whatsoever as soon as the horse was set in motion. The next day, we received the video of a young horse for estimation. The horse is two years old and therefore not under the influence of any riding technique. The horse is in fact a nice mover. As I was watching the video I observed that the horse was lowering the neck one step or two at the canter clearly demonstrating that the lowering of the neck did not induced any lift of the back whatsoever, not in the thoracic, nor in the lumbar area. In fact, the only effect of the lowering of the neck was increased weight on the forelegs. I asked Helyn to capture, on her computer, five or six frames of the canter stride when the horse was lowering the neck and five or six frames of the same sequence of the canter effectuated by the same horse, in the same ring, but holding his neck in a more natural position. For discretion we used the computer program referred to as line drawing, which makes the picture look like a drawing.

Click to enlarge images

Here are the pictures series. On the upper line, the horse is cantering and lowering the neck. On the lower line, he is cantering holding the neck. There is no lift of the back whatsoever. There is no stretching. There is no improvement of the gait resulting from a relaxed upper line. At the contrary, there is rigidity and marked loading of the fore legs when the neck is lowered. Horses don’t lie. Ghosts do, or perhaps by dragging their horses’ nose in the dirt they live in a cloud of dust and can no longer see reality.

Jean Luc Cornille

Copyright 2012

Science Of Motion