“Being that my maritime experience is exceedingly limited, I had to read up on mast partners. It’s a simple concept. Basically, the opposing forces of wind and water upon a ship’s mast create pressure that is too much for the ship’s deck alone to bear. Without partners — stout timbers fixed between the deck beams around the opening in the deck through which the mast passes, distributing loads across the deck and into the hull — both mast and deck would suffer damage sufficient to endanger both craft and crew.
Take a look at this image of the mast partners installed while rebuilding the raised vessel Irene. The partners are the cross-pieces between the longer deck beams. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what would happen if you used a substantial joist on one side and a toothpick on the other.”
A trusted horse is a substantial joist, indeed. Don’t be a toothpick.