In his Mythbusters-style workshop in Mount Clear, Ballarat engineer Tom Hotchkin is preparing to test his next project.
An 850kg crash test dummy - an 18-hand horse named Tippy, made of foam - waits suspended above a riveted trailer wall.
Mr Hotchkin's company, Areion Equestrian, is developing the world's first crash-tested horse float.
After months of work, which included designing, testing, and simulating the strength of the trailer itself, as well as Tippy, with Ballarat theatre prop experts Form Imagination, the crash testing can finally begin.
With high speed cameras and a drone set up, builder Jon Rowsell goes behind a plastic screen to pull the rope.
Tippy hits the trailer mock-up hard, rattling the roof of the workshop and echoing into the street.
Mr Rowsell's young son, assisting with the drone control, is astonished at the noise.
The first test is declared a success, if slightly different to expectations - the horse did exactly what it was meant to do, which was find weaknesses in the rivets.
The high-speed footage is fascinating, watching the dummy gently drop through the set-up - a contrast to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it test itself.
The steel frame folded, but the plastic sides and the mechanisms will work, Mr Hotchkin said, and despite a broken camera tripod and ringing ears, he's determined to reload and be more successful next time.
"The whole point of this is we fail here, on some cheap steel, rather than the whole thing, which costs lots of money, and then you have to fix the issue we found now," he said afterwards.
The trailer base itself is another innovative design, from Carbon Equipment - it uses hydropneumatics to allow the bed to lower virtually flat against the ground, making it much easier to load machinery, and eventually horses.
The design for the float, where horses will face the rear to further improve safety, has gone through several iterations, including one with a seatbelt which was eventually declared impractical.
It'll be much heavier than other floats, but that's for a reason.
"The main thing we've learned is that horses are just too big and heavy to restrain - instead we're just going to make the whole thing safe so if they do move around and hit stuff, or get in awkward positions, they don't get cut or stuck," he said.
"There's really no safety bodies relevant to this, which is why there are no other places really doing this, it's just the same as a car trailer."
With a background in road safety engineering and a family interest in horses - Mr Hotchkin's sister runs an equestrian centre - designing a better float became one of those "why hasn't anyone does this yet?" ideas for Mr Hotchkin.
The prototype float will debut at the Equitana event in June, gauging on-the-ground consumer interest and showing off the design, before the real-deal crash tests begin in Warragul later this year to tick off final approvals.
"The main structural component is the divider that goes between the horses, and this is just a quick and easy test to see if that will have the strength to hold the horse on impact," Mr Hotchkin explained.
"The full test would be the rollover test, to an automotive standard which is a 50km/h rollover onto its side with the dummy horse in it.
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"More than half of tests go wrong, but we'll fix it and make it stronger, because we've learned where the weak point is.
"We've done a lot of projects like this before, with crash testing in my previous job - I know to expect things to change as you go along, but we've had a lot of interest, a lot of people are interested in seeing the results."
More information on pre-orders will be available from Areion's website closer to the official launch for the float.
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