Sandra Dodd

Here are some ideas for how you and your children can play with logic
and language. I found an interesting definition. When you find a
definition with a problem or a paradox or oddity, it might be worth
talking about it--not in a critical or AHA! way. Not like the authors
were stupid. But in light of the fact that language makes definitions
difficult, and the details and angles of talking about anything will
always open up another topic.

Tack is a term used to describe any of the various equipment and
accessories worn by horses in the course of their use as domesticated
animals. Saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, harnesses,
martingales, and breastplates are all forms of horse tack. Equipping a
horse is often referred to as tacking up.

Of that first line, I immediately wondered what they were thinking
horses might have worn when they weren't domesticated animals, or
what's being excepted here because it's only worn by wild horses and
so isn't "tack." I'm picturing the wild horse herds dressing up for
May Day or the first day of snow, and thinking of all the little girls
and all the My Little Ponies and Breyer horses in the whole world.

But then I'm thinking it's not that horses "wear" tack any more than
beds "wear" bedclothes. So the problematical concept there isn't
domestication, but the term "worn." And that gets into species
slavery or something very philosophical. Horses don't "wear" anything
their owners don't inflict upon them, sometimes with the extreme
objection of the horse.

So tack is the stuff people put onto horses for one reason or
another. But that's not true either, because if a horse wears
ribbons braided into its mane, that's neither natural of wild horses
nor is it "tack." So somewhere in there tack ends and the My Little
Pony girls begin again.


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