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Every once in a while it's useful to look at the long-taken-for-granted things around us and marvel at them. Take the horse collar. A newspaper column has just reminded us that this is recognized as one of the major advances of Western civilization. Improving the cumbersome yokes and harnesses of third-world work animals could provide a similar advance for the coming years. The horse collar distributed the horse's load in a way comparable to doubling the performance of a truck. To learn from it would simply be horse sense.

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