View Full Version : Good Sense, Self Defense and Safety on the Trails

Dec. 26, 2005, 04:17 PM
I didn't want to high jack the Trail Tips for Dummies thread. Everyone has such good advice, I thought I'd ask your opinions.

First let me say, I took a Mounted Self Defense Course for riders a few years back, and the subject of "visiting with pedestrians" was very informative and got me thinking. I wish all trail riders could attend this kind of clinic.

Do you ever stop and talk with "strangers" on the trails, especially if you are a woman riding alone or with kids, and the "stranger" is a lone male or more than one male?

Do you know how to defend yourself if a stranger grabs your horse's bridle while you are mounted? Do you know how to prevent this from happening in the first place??

This next one is just as much about liability as it is safety.

When a bunch of little kids come running up to you as you ride by, and they are screeming and jumping for joy over seeing a horsey, do you stop and let them pet your pretty horsey, or do you just wave and keep on going?

I got criticized for NOT stopping to visit. But, I'm sorry, if one of those kids gets stepped on because my horse spooked, and that kid's mom tries to sue me, it's just not worth it. Plus I feel it's not safe to let a bunch of little kids, over whom I have no control, run up to my horse and start petting it on the side of the road. Sorry, but my vote is to just wave politely, say "thank you" for the compliments to your pretty horsey, and keep on going.

What do you all think and do you have any more Self Defense tips? (other than packing heat)

Dec. 26, 2005, 06:49 PM
On previous trustworthy horses I always stopped
and let kids "worship"my horses as it was my
biggest thrill when I was a kid. Times were
more innocent back then too.
This year at the equine affiare I went to the
mounted police clinics and there was one about
self defense for trail riders who meet up with
"suspicious" characters. It was most informative. He sold his video with the same
title. I've shared it with friends who also
picked up some great tips, things you wouldnt
think of or do instinctively for when you meet
up with the "dark side". Knowledge is power.

Dec. 26, 2005, 08:42 PM
I rarely ride alone, and if I do-I take my dog. She's not nice to strangers at all! Very protective of me, and loves to go 'trail riding'. If I do go with a friend, I tell them beforehand, if someone is meaning us harm-don't second guess me, I'm taking off. If I get caught or you get caught-the other one should keep going to get help, no reason for the both of us to get hurt. We also carry mase, and I usually carry a riding crop and a cell phone. It's horrible we have to think about these things.

Dec. 26, 2005, 09:03 PM
We also carry mase, and I usually carry a riding crop and a cell phone. It's horrible we have to think about these

while riding or off your horse with your horse
close by. WHY? the over spray can affect your
horse wich can result in loss of control of horse making a bad situation even worse.

Dec. 27, 2005, 05:56 AM
Good questions, Kellye!

Let's see...if a stranger grabbed my horse's bridle, I would try to spin the horse towards the stranger and have the horse knock him down/step on him...if that failed, I would try to pop the bridle off and leave the stranger holding that instead of us...my horses carry their heads high enough for me to be able to reach their noses and stop in a bridle-less emergency...(I practice this with my Arabian sometimes in the pasture, actually).

What's the "real" answer?

I rarely stop on the trail, and if I do, I keep my distance from pedestrians, as I don't want them to get stepped on if either they or my horse does something silly. Occasionally, depending on my mood and the horse's mood, I will stop and let a child pet the horse, but I always dismount and instruct the child on where and how to pet.

Drive NJ
Dec. 27, 2005, 09:16 AM
OK I have to admit my first reaction to this question AND to all the riding self-defense articles and courses proliferating right now is - has there been a need for this? Have people been attacked on the trail on any kind of numbers? or is it a new industry popping up to sell us another "product"? My circle may just not be wide enough, but I've never heard of any tales of being attacked either personally or third hand.

My old guy loved kids and nothing pleased him more than stopping to visit. So yes we visited, but the first part of the conversation was explaining where to stand so he could see them and preferred petting spots. I agree with gothedistance, we've had some nice conversations with hunters finding out areas to avoid and where it was safe to ride that day and making friends of other land users.

The new guys are in process of learning to stand quietly for visits and especially for kids. We plan to do horse exhibitions at a local historical farm and parents are notorious for letting someone else deal with their kids when away from home. So the guys need more despooking work before they are ready for this kind of interaction. Don't know how many of the little dears want to stand right in front of a cart wheel patting the horse on the gaskin!

War Admiral
Dec. 27, 2005, 09:26 AM
OK I have to admit my first reaction to this question AND to all the riding self-defense articles and courses proliferating right now is - has there been a need for this? Have people been attacked on the trail on any kind of numbers? or is it a new industry popping up to sell us another "product"? My circle may just not be wide enough, but I've never heard of any tales of being attacked either personally or third hand.

Well, there are rumors making the rounds of horsewomen in my area about a deerhunter, armed, who flashes riders and attempts to grab the horse's reins. He's been spotted a couple of farms away from mine, so Avery and I are sticking to the main roads & the home farm at the moment.

Sadly, in this day and age, I don't think self-defense and safety classes are at all out of order, and if there were one in my area, I'd probably take it.

Dec. 27, 2005, 12:56 PM
I appreciate this.

As for kids approaching the horse, for me it would depend on which horse I am on. If it's an older, bomb-proof guy, I *might* allow kids to approach. It would depend on the circumstances.

As for my own safety as a woman who rides alone at times. You absolutely have to be super careful and aware of your surroundings and others on the trails. I stay tuned into my own senses (all of them) and I really try to tie into the horse's senses as well. No lone adult is going to come anywhere close to me, or within the orbit to where he/she can get hold of my reins.

As for the person who asked if these precautions are necessary - absolutely they are. Several years ago a woman camper hiking in Skyline was murdered. A lone female on a horse could make a pretty good target. Better safe than sorry.

And, odd as this sounds, I have had numerous "exposing" episodes. So have a couple of my buddies. I think maybe there is something about a lady on a big horse that brings out the "I have a big weenie, too" personalities!

Dec. 27, 2005, 07:50 PM
I very rarely will stop to chat. Upon approaching hiker, bycyclist, walkers, kids ect
I will offer a hello, nice day ect... and keep
moving. never allow a stranger to approach
you and your horse. Most people mean well others will grab reins, bridle to try to get control. a tell tail sign is person inching
forward toward horse this is when you back up
do not move forward as person will have
more to grab on to as in you, the saddle
breastcollar, BACK UP turn away and ride off

RTM Anglo's
Dec. 27, 2005, 09:11 PM
I have found in life, that strange people linger in the woods. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif I am saying that besides person’s that have a purpose, I.E. Hunters, bikers, hikers, and on and on.

Seems some pretty strange people like to hang out in the woods, most are harmless, just sorta out there. But then, there are others that just seem out of place. I totally avoid these characters, to me they stand out.

I have relied on my instinct many times in life when dealing with people. So far, I am still surviving. I really think when speaking to anyone anywhere, you need to do a thorough look-over for demeanor, and body language. Many times this will help you realize some people don’t wish to converse, and others do. It can also alert you to the possibility of a weapon, or intention.

As I said, I have seen and experience some strange things in life, but have never had a bad experience on a horse. I keep my distance always, even with other horse riders (safety for your horse…getting kicked, bit). I would never as a practice ever allow anyone to get close enough to grip a halter, bridle or such. Even so, I would demand my horse run their A$$ over. A horse will respond to your fear believe me. Many would rear (most will raise their head high enough the average person could not hold at a slight pressure) and ram at a riders insistence.

But even so, if a person has a weapon, you are only as fast as your horse. Be it so, don’t run at a straight path, and stay low. Your horse will get you out of there; seriously they can feel all your emotions. That, and horses natural instinct to flight…that’s a done deal.

I completely agree about the fear of small kids. I usually never stop unless a parent is present and holds their child or stand next to them. Kids are so unpredictable, never know if they will lunge forward and startle your horse. As a rule I usually wave, and do some fancy moves to make them amazed at the horse. I love to bring new young people into the appreciation of the horse.

Dec. 28, 2005, 07:08 AM
My mare is pretty light in front and asking for a rear is not hard.
Might come in handy in this case

Dec. 28, 2005, 07:55 AM
GREAT thread!

I'm ashamed to say I never even thought of these things, other than not letting children approach unless I'm unmounted and can stand between them and the horse.

I attended a rape prevention clinic while in college (there had been several rapes on campus and in the nearby town) and learned a whole lot. But I admit I feel bullet proof while mounted. It never even occurred to me that somebody might grab the bridle or wave a gun. Duh!! I don't hike alone because I feel vulnerable.

Where can we get more info on self-defense for trail riders? Is there a web site?

Also, I don't allow people to approach my horses on the trail. Usually my horse's attention is somewhere on the horizon or surrounding trees, looking for lions, so I can't guarantee they won't spook at a critical moment. My mare spooks in place, but there is always the possibility. If asked, I tell pedestrians that my horse is a former race horse and unpredictable. She's big enough that people usually don't ask to approach anyway. I can always ask for a side step to make my excuse more convincing. She is a TB but washed out in trainig. A grain of truth....

The only thing I've ever heard of attacking a mounted rider is a mountain lion. I'm glad I'm on the East Coast where we only have to watch out for two-legged predators!


p.s. If somebody waved a weapon at me, I'd run like the dickens, crouching low over the neck. It's harder to hit a moving target. He could always go for the horse, I suppose, but with luck (and a rear presentation) he wouldn't hit anything critical and we could still escape. I would think that somebody attacking in the woods would likely have murder in mind anyway, so I'd take my chances mounted and running hard.

Dec. 28, 2005, 11:43 AM
Scot Hansen has clinics on self-defense while trail riding, as well as groundwork and riding clinics. While I haven't taken the self defense one, several folks I know have and they praise it highly. He also has a video. His website is http://www.horsethink.com.

Dec. 28, 2005, 01:08 PM
Thanks for the link! I'm going to order the video as soon as I can find my credit card. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


Dec. 29, 2005, 01:10 AM
Great thread! JoZ thanks for the link to Scot Hanson. The riding club I belong to tries to put on one clinic per year and it's always tricky to come up with something new that will be popular.

Dec. 29, 2005, 09:17 AM
I cant tell you how happy I was to see this thread as this is a constant concern of mine. I ride alone every weekend and alot of it is in very secluded areas. I often wonder what I would do in certain situations as I dont carry a weapon only a cell phone. I never stop when i see strangers only wave and say hello. Also I was wondering what measures you guys take against dogs running loose as this is a constant issue with my trail riding.

Dec. 29, 2005, 12:43 PM
I don't know how safe it is, but I trained my old trail mare to turn and chase dogs that came running up and barking. She really got into it, and we almost caught one once.

I used to do a lot of riding along the road when I was young and didn't have a trailer. I've had horses jump straight up from dogs ambushing us, shy in front of cars, and one particular mare slid on the pavement and scraped her chestnuts off. That's when I got the idea to train them to chase dogs instead. A gamey horse finds this fun. Of course, we had to look for traffic, too. Eventually, the dogs stopped trying to chase us. Or, if they started, I'd growl at them and they'd slink away.

I'm not sure how to handle a pack of dogs. That would be a good thing to know.

Dec. 29, 2005, 01:38 PM
You know I did do that once. I was so angry at these dogs because in this one spot they would come at me and bark and bark so I did what you said... I went after them. I wasnt sure if it was a good idea at the time but it did freak the dogs out.

Dec. 29, 2005, 06:53 PM
Well I hate to say this but I have ridden alone in the Mts. of Colorado and hills of San Diego and had some hairy moments running into men looking for trouble. I got angry about feeling unsafe and not comfortable riding and doing what I want to do just because I'm female. So at that time I would ride
armed. Now that was many years ago and I haven't even owned a gun for a long time . However I am very pissed off by the number of women killed or raped by men just because we can't physically defend ourselves. I refuse to be a victim.
FYI I have worked in the criminal justice system and if you ever sat down and talked with a murderer or serial rapist for an hour you'd be very careful about putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.Forget about thinking you can tell a bad guy by your instincts. Some of the most vicious women killers were smart ,educated, good looking "nice" guys.
And I do love men and hate guns!
Old bumper sticker from the 70's " NObody Rapes a 38"

Dec. 29, 2005, 07:30 PM
I can't stress enough to NEVER EVER EVER use
maise or pepper spray while on your horse or
any where near it. It does not take much
wind to blow the over spray around if this
lands in your horses eyes you will go for a
heck of a ride. (picture what it does to a human
no imagine how a HORSE would react)
When encountering people ie bikers, hikers,
family's use the same trail etiquete you
would if you were encountering other riders.
USE your gut instinct it will tell you alot.
If you feel someone is threatning or threatens
you while on your horse it is best to back up
turn away and ride off. It is always good
to keep a 10 ft rule just don't let anyone
with in a 10 ft circle of your horse again
if a person you feel threatned by starts
inching forward and invading that space for
every step forward they take you make your
horse back up. This imaginary ten foot
circle gives you and your horse the room you
will need to counter act the moves the person
makes. If someone approaches from the rear
STOP turn your horse LET THEM PASS YOU You
want them in front of you as if you ride forward
they can track you YES a horse can move awhole
lot faster than a person on foot but horses
also can leave prominant print trails and can
IF you do ride alone take YOUR PHONE

Dec. 30, 2005, 06:57 AM
I'm with you, Walkers. It makes me so mad that we have to be careful just because we are female. I've calmed down about it as I've gotten older, but the realities come back to bite me as my daughters get older. I've got to sensitize them to the danger and teach them what I can to protect themselves.

As for being able to trust our instincts, I agree we can get false negatives (i.e. "That guy is too NICE to be a murderer). However, if somebody seems unsafe, they probably are. I learned this the hard way.

I like the 10 foot rule. Personally, I don't see why anybody but a child would want to approach my horse. I did have one guy ask about the breed. When I told him TB, he wanted to check the tatoo. I said she doesn't have one (she does), but I wasn't going to let a stranger grab my horse's face. I politely bid him goodbye and went on my way.

I don't want to have to ride in groups, just as I resent having to get a friend to go hiking with me. I love riding with others, but I value time on the trail with just me and my mare (or gelding--the new horse). Luckily, the trails around here are well traveled and there are well-traveled roads within galloping distance. If the area was particularly remote, I'd probably carry a firearm so that it was easily visible. I hate guns, but I don't want to leave my kids motherless, either. I guess I'd first have to bombproof my horse for the noise.

The rape prevention clinic I attended 20-some years ago stressed the importance of not becoming a victim. That is, don't look like an easy target. Remaining alert, having a visible means of self protection, a two-way radio or cell phone easily visible to a pedestrian, etc. Other than that, ride in groups.

Still have to order that tape!

Dec. 30, 2005, 11:02 AM
many years ago I was riding alone in one of the state forests. A guy was walking toward us - looked normal enough. As he was passing by he lunged at us grabing for my leg. My mare (bless her heart) is a master at wheel and peel and is blessed with a well endowed rump (just like me!). When she executed this 'military manuever' to perfection I glanced back to see the 'fellow' crawling to his feet. I stopped at the ranger station on the way out to report the incident. Seems they were looking for him - he'd accosted three people already. Whew, GOOD MARE!
I still ride alone but mostly on private property now. Strangers are readily identifiable.

Dec. 30, 2005, 05:02 PM
I had a guy tie me up and attempt to rape me at gunpoint. The reason he didn't succeed is that I figured I was dead anyway and refused to be a plaything. I truly didn't think I was going to survive the experience whether or not I cooperated; I just wanted to make sure his day was as lousy as mine before he took me down. I grabbed his balls and twisted.
I took a couple of lessons away from the experience. One is that you can't always trust your instincts. This guy did not give off creep vibes. He just seemed like an ordinary middle aged dude catching his breath at the edge of a trail. Another is that there is virtually no time to react when someone with a gun decides to pull it on you. I looked at him and saw nothing amiss. I glanced away and glanced back, and he had a loaded gun pointed at me.(Did you know that you can see the silver tips of the bullets when a loaded gun is pointed at you?) Neither mace nor my own gun would have done me any good. I simply wouldn't have had time to pull them out of my pocket.
I was on foot when I was attacked, so I was pretty much SOL when he came after me. I can't outrun most humans, let alone a bullet. If I'd been on horseback, I probably would have attempted to trample him. The horse's head and neck would have partially shielded me against the bullet if nothing else. Those levades and courbettes performed by dressage horses weren't invented just to look pretty!

Dec. 30, 2005, 06:07 PM
I'm riding a mare right now who has been conditioned (not by me!) to stop for anyone who might give her some strokes and an excuse to take a break. I never considered this actually dangerous until reading some of these posts...

Dec. 31, 2005, 05:37 AM
AlmostDun, you've got some brains AND guts! Your post gave me chills.

Dec. 31, 2005, 12:08 PM
I've been thinking about the first question, and I can't see that it would be a problem if someone grabbed my horse's bridle. After all, I'd be on the horse, so I'd just take my foot out of my stirrup and kick him as hard as I could in his chest or under his jaw if he came near me. Us horsey girls do have strong legs http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I'd be at the advantage, not him. Plus I think if I motivated my horse to move, she'd spin in circles and that would cause a lot of confusion, and might make him let go.

I'd be more worried about having my leg grabbed. I wonder if someone could pull me off my horse? Anyone have a nice sandy arena and want to try it? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Dec. 31, 2005, 01:14 PM
I could be wrong, but it might actually be easier for somebody to push you off (using your leg) than to pull you off. Also, horses can be incapacitated, much as we hate to think of anybody hurting our horses. If a person grabs the bridle, a knife to the throat would take out your ability to move far fast.

It's probably safest not to let anybody get close enough to lunge or grab the horse or us. 10 foot rule?

Maybe we can get somebody to host one of those clinics nearby. I'm from MD. I'd be willing to haul my horse (and one other) a few hours to get to a more central location for a clinic. I don't have a facility, though.

How about it trailriders? Any interest? Could anybody host a clinic? I want to get the video mentioned in this thread, but there is nothing like practice!

Dec. 31, 2005, 04:01 PM
[quote]grabbed my horse's bridle. After all, I'd be on the horse, so I'd just take my foot out of my stirrup and kick him as hard as I could in his chest or under his jaw if he came near me]

If someone grabs your horses bridle you remove
foot from stirrup horse reacts to the person
reaching for bridle and side steps your foot
and leg are in the air to TRY to kick said
person when horse reacts you land on your
arse on the opposite side of horse. Do ya
really want to let someone that close to you?

Jan. 1, 2006, 02:35 AM
as a former mounted patrol officer for MD state parks- we were taught (and trained our horses) to swing your horses hindquarters at the attacker- do not take your foot out of the stirrup and kick- if they grab your leg- it is very easy to pull you off your horse

Spotted Draft
Jan. 1, 2006, 06:48 AM
hey marylanders - i just got the schedule for the Maryland Horse Expo and they are having a seminar on self defense on trail riding... i have to go find the paper and will post on what day and time

Spotted Draft
Jan. 1, 2006, 06:54 AM
Thursday January 19th - 4:00pm - Scot Hansen - Self Defense for trail riders

Friday - 11:00am - Scot Hansen - making your horse road safe
2:00pm - Scot Hansen - the making of a police horse

Saturday - 1:00pm - Scopt Hansen - Self defense for trail riders

Sunday - 1pm - Scot Hansen - Improving your balance and feel using a bareback pad

Jan. 1, 2006, 07:24 AM
Thanks Spotted Draft! I think I'll be hanging around the Scot Hansen clinics that day. I like your tag line. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Last year I led a group of walk-only trail riders through Fair Hill as a benefit for Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding Center. Almost everybody was mounted on drafts (except me), and they were a rowdy, fun group. The horses were playful--and gorgeous. I'd never seen a blue roan Belgian before. I was on a 15hh Appy/Arab former CTR horse. She just wanted to GO. Anyway, I quickly learned that I had to widen my scope looking for branches and logs in the path. Those drafts are BIG!

Jan. 3, 2006, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by WindChsr:
Also I was wondering what measures you guys take against dogs running loose as this is a constant issue with my trail riding.

Well, first I chased them, but I don't have horses that will kick/trample dogs <drat>...so I got a little AirSoft gun, but it wasn't powerful enough to do any damage, so now I use a combination of a dog whistle (works on a lot of dogs) and 1/2" nuts (works on most dogs if you have good aim). I've been very tempted to get a BB gun, but since I ride within a few miles of my house, I don't want some PO'd irresponsible dog owner shooting my horses (or someone else's) in the pasture because their dog came home with a BB in its butt.

And as far as having someone pull/push you off by grabbing your leg, that's why I usually ride in an Aussie! I come off when *I* say so... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 3, 2006, 02:00 PM
I was out trailriding alone one day and rode down to the river that is a popular destination. No one there that day and it was during the summer too. I had untacked my horse (green filly) to let her relax without the heavy saddle on and walked around on the riverbank. Saw two hillbillys making their way down to the river I suppose to take a swim. Hillbilly is the proper term to use to describe these two individuals - the had the overalls with no shirt and fastened with one suspender, the felt hats, long hair, etc.

I watch them make their way down and one said - hey there's a woman over there. Whoops! time to go. I saddled that horse so fast and was on her back in a flash. The last I saw of them, they were wading across I guess intent on having a little afternoon fun at my expense. Filly and I motored out of there at warp speed let me tell you.

I often replay the situation and wonder how I'd react if I had my 38 with me. Would I have toyed with them a little and chased them back across the river or beat feet like we did? Guns do give you a misplaced sense of power though. More people are killed or wounded with their own gun than not but I don't think I'd have any trouble protecting myself or what is mine if threatened.

Jan. 5, 2006, 01:02 PM
Thought-provoking thread. Thanks for starting this discussion. I, too, ride alone a good bit and am probably way too friendly. The 10-ft. rule is one that I will put to use immediately.

Jan. 5, 2006, 09:13 PM
I ride alone a lot and never let anyone come close to my horse when I'm out in the woods. A good trick is to pretend you are barely in control. I've had men ask to pat my horse and while they are most likely harmless, why take the chance.... I just say "sorry, but I have to keep him moving," tighten the reins and dig in my heels a bit to get him dancing around and that usually does the trick. I actually think my horse enjoys those moments of pretending to be a bad boy.

Jan. 19, 2006, 10:10 PM
I ride alone a lot, but in probably one of the safest neighborhoods in the country. What kind of idiot attacks a mounted person? I mean, don't predators tend to seek out weak or defenseless people to attack? I don't think a 1200 pound animal exactly portrays a "defenseless" image. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but I'm just marvelling at the sheer idiocy of someone to attack a horseback rider.

Am I the only one here whose first thought in a dangerous situation is for my horse's safety? I wonder if there's something wrong with me that the thought of someone shooting my horse is a thousand times more distressing than the thought of someone shooting me. Must be that mommy instinct kicking in.

Jan. 20, 2006, 05:13 AM
I attended the Scot Hansen clinic at the Horse Expo yesterday, and he says that between 6 and 10 people at every clinic say that somebody has tried to get them out of the saddle while riding alone before.

Reasons for attacking a woman alone on a horse: opportunity, lack of witnesses. When else will a man find a woman alone far away from witnesses? It may be harder to get us off a horse, but if he can seem harmless, it is actually pretty easy. I didn't even see the move Scot took to take his partner (wife?) out of the saddle. One minute he was talking and patting the horse, the next she was on the ground. That fast.

And if a person can harm your horse, you are a demoralized victim: psychological advantage.

He doesn't want to harm the horse. He wants you. There are worse things than being shot. That is a matter of healing flesh. Healing psychological wounds takes years and years and almost makes you a different person. Isn't who you are, your confidence, your sense of self, worth protecting?

After seeing his clinic, I bought the DVD. I'll post some of his other suggestions later, unless somebody else does. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Excellent information at the short clinic!!

Jan. 20, 2006, 06:27 AM
Originally posted by matryoshka:
I attended the Scot Hansen clinic at the Horse Expo yesterday, and he says that between 6 and 10 people at every clinic say that somebody has tried to get them out of the saddle while riding alone.

This is exactly why I hate statistics. I'm thinking most people that have been attacked would end up going to a clinic, therefore that would make the "60% have been attacked" stat horribly skewed!

But I'm glad you liked the clinic, and we all definitely need the warnings! Don't want to be in that "60%" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jan. 20, 2006, 08:30 AM
I read all through this and am very grateful for this thread! I will use the 10 feet rule and will always depend on my horse for her listening for dangers. Thus far, my horses and I have worked together well; nonetheless, I am always on alert for any type of dangers. However, I have not thought of those sick men. What puzzles me is that why have no one mentioned the good old whip that you can slide through your boot? If this perpetuator comes closer than you'd like, a whip might be helpful as this perpetuator might know how very painful it can be. While whipping the whip, whip your horse's butt to this sick man. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Jan. 20, 2006, 09:16 AM
Where I ride it's rare to see anyone walking or hiking around. However, when I do, I immediately pick up a trot and say hello as I pass them by.

Jan. 20, 2006, 09:33 AM
I agree about the statistics being skewed, but it proves that people ARE being attacked. I don't think it is a high percentage, but each victim is one too many!

For the whip, it is easily defended against. Scot reminded us that ex-cons don't get to do much in prison, but one thing they practice is fighting. Also, if he grabs the whip, it is something he can use to pull you closer. Or if he ducks, you could miss and hit your horse.

There are also problems with relying on a gun for protection. One: when do you shoot them? They can reach and pull you out of the saddle so fast you won't have much time to grab it. Are you going to shoot when he approaches you? How do you know his intentions at that point justify the use of a gun? Are you going to aim a gun at every hiker you see? AND, if you drop it, you have given the attacker a weapon.

Scot went over ways to avoid having the reins jerked out of your hands, how to hold on if somebody pulls you from behind. Also, he goes over how to identify a potential predator. If somebody asks to pet your horse, you hold up your hand and say "STOP! Don't come any closer." If he asks why, you say anything, such as "My horse bites!" Predators are likely to keep asking you questions to get you to pause to think. So keep talking (or stay silent) rather than answer questions--don't take time to think, say anything, and move away!

I've got two daughters who want to ride with me. I plan to watch the video and go over trail safety with them. I'd rather they have a half-formed plan in the event of an attack rather than have to think one up at the time.

Jan. 20, 2006, 10:35 AM
It helps to have a mean horse! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif if you have one. But, all but one are cream in the puff. Good point about the whip; no weapons are superior to mind. So, I better watch the tape if it is captioned. Thanks for your pointers.

Jan. 21, 2006, 04:42 AM
I'm really glad I ran across this thread. I plan to do some solo trail riding this coming season and the thought never occurred to me of getting targeted while on a horse.

The 10-foot rule goes in my book immediately, it sure seems like a great avoidance.

But I have to ask... even if someone grabbed my horse's reins, it would seem a good kick would send 1100 lbs. of animal and hooves flying into them!

As for Mace, there are three forms of delivery--spray, mist and stream. The stream requires a little better aim but is least vulnerable to blow-back. May not work for all circumstances, but it sure seems worth having along.

Jan. 21, 2006, 05:41 AM
I hope you guys don't mind my frequent responses, but since I just attended the self-defense clinic, my memory is fresh.

One thing, Scot didn't say 6 out of 10, he just said that between 6 and 10 people at every clinic--there were quite a few people just at the horse expo who attended. I'm sure it is a VERY low percentage of people who are attacked, but it does happen.

Okay, if somebody grabs your reins and you try to kick, it stiffens your leg. These guys are used to fighting so they'd be looking for a kick. He grabs your leg and pushes you off the other side of the horse. If you keep your leg relaxed, he can push and you don't go off. That gives you time to move your horse.

If you are going to turn your horse, he recommends turning it away from the attackher. That way, even if he hangs on to you, he eventually gets bumped by the horse's hip and gest flung away. Keep turning until he has to let go, then move off down the trail at a reasonable clip (don't gallop unless you have a lot of control of your horse).

If you plan to run an attacker over, all he has to do is grab the reins to stop your horse. It's even worse if he gets the bit.

The problem with mace is that wind may carry it into your horse's eyes. If you don't know how your horse reacts, you have to be careful. And things happen so fast, you almost have to have it ready right fromt the beginning. Also, not every person is affected by mace. I had a dog come right up to me to bite while I was jogging, and the mace/pepper spray did NOTHING. It can't hurt to have it along though, because you never know what situation might occur.

I tried to watch the DVD last night, but it was flawed. I'll have to send it back and ask for another one. I don't really expect to be attacked out on the trail, but I'd much prefer to have some idea of how to handle a confrontation if it ever does aris.

Jan. 21, 2006, 05:43 AM
Prieta, pedestrians on the trail don't HAVE to know your horses are cream puffs. They'll believe what you tell them. I've told people all sorts of nonsense about my horses to keep them from asking to pet (or ride!) my horses. It helps that my current trail horse used to race--I can tell them he's a crazy race horse and I can't be sure what he'll do (he's actually a sweetheart). http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Jan. 22, 2006, 03:17 PM
I usually do not tell anyone that my horses are cream puffs for purely selfish reason! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif also, I do not trust people coming in to pet horses. I recall an incident that got me really upset with the staff for not taking care of my client. Once, the staff took a class out on a field trip to a local stable. My client required 24 hours supervision otherwise, he'd either hurt himself or the others. Well, his staff left him alone who then went under a horse to pull that "thing that was sticking out of his belly"! I shudder at the memory of this and am very thankful that this horse did not do anything. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif

Jan. 22, 2006, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by WindChsr:
I ride alone every weekend and alot of it is in very secluded areas...... Also I was wondering what measures you guys take against dogs running loose as this is a constant issue with my trail riding.

I ride by myself a lot, 75% of the time, on my rural neighborhood roads and a nearby state park. I do make it a point to carry my cell phone, on my body verses hooked on the saddle, nowdays. Usually I can get a signal. I'm trying to get better about carrying a whistle, that would be a back up to the cell phone to signal "help". You and I and others who ride alone owe it to our family and loved ones to take these simple precautions. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Regarding dogs. Just today my daughter and I rode around our rural neighborhood on a route we don't usually take. We came across many new obnoxious dogs looking for something to do on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, like chase horses on the road.

I ride hunt seat, daughter rides rodeo and she had her "over-under" on her saddle horn and I asked her to give it to me. An over-under is 4'-5' length of stiffish rope which is hooked on the saddle horn and used in place of crop during racing events. As each new set of dogs ran barking towards us I trotted my mare directly towards them swinging this short piece of rope and fussing at them. Kept threatning to "catch" one and drag it's sorry hiney to the pound if it got out on the road. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif Anyway, I liked having the over under instead of short stick to ward off dogs. In the past I have carried a pocket full of rocks to throw and hit the various dogs. I want encounters with my little red mare to be very painful to dogs and hopefully they'll remember to leave me alone. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif However, my mare is bombproof so a swinging rope and "yippie-ki-yi-yeah" attack didn't faze her at all so this style might not work for everyone.

Jan. 22, 2006, 07:02 PM
Just a reminder, no matter how strong you think you are it is fairly easy for most men to grab your leg and pull you off that horse before you know what has happened! I like the 10 foot rule but how about 15'. It also sounds like a great idea to teach your horse to spin that butt around from a simple leg que. However non horsemen don't know to be afraid of that butt. I know this from all the folks on bikes who insist on going around my horses rear end TO BE SAFE and not in front of him. Our trail footing is so soft I can't hear them coming and turned around yesterday to find two bikes tailgaiting my horse and they laughed at me when I explained to them that that was a good way to die.
I hate that we have to have this thread but was thrilled to read that everyone was taking it seriously.I love to ride alone but if I can't relax it's not much fun. I do like to ride with my big dog and he is protective of me and his horse.

Jan. 23, 2006, 04:57 AM
SLW, you sound like a fun person to go trail riding with!

I've found that barking at dogs actually helps delay them while I get my horse collected and either turned toward them or out of range. I know it sounds silly, but it surprises them enough that they pause or stop in confusion. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Since I did it so much on horseback, when a dog came after me while I was toe-clipped into a bike (he was hiding behind the bushes), I barked at him and he stopped about a foot away from my hamstring. I'd have been shredded if not for that gut reaction. After that, I always passed on the other side of street in case the sneaky bugger was behind the same bush.

I LIKE the idea of a whistle. It alerts anybody who may be nearby, too.

Jan. 23, 2006, 07:51 PM
Oh yes, the whistle is to summon help- perhaps you've fallen off your horse and you can't walk. It would also assist in a "creep-alert" situation. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif However, as with sleigh bells & horses, it's probably a good idea to introduce the horse to bell being blown from it's back. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

A neighbor who runs cattle (500 head) a mile from me has a vee-eee-eee-ry clever and bored aussie dog. When that canine sees a horse coming down the road he sneaks into the tin whistle (the metal under the road gully) and hides. At just the momment you have passed him he darts out from under and behind barking and giving chase. Once I can ride my horses by that silly dog I call them "road broke".

Another darling neighbor, a now 82 year old WW2 veteran, decorates his yard at Christmas with all sorts of 4' high plywood Christmas theme cutouts, candy cane poles, blinking light thingy's and general overdone wonderfully country special stuff. All of us who have purchased a horse since the previous Christmas live for Thanksgiving weekend when Frank sets out his "loot". Then we hook up and do the "ride by Franks" because if you can ride your horse by Franks in December it is damn near road broke!! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif Bonus points if you ride by Franks in December on a loose rein!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Jan. 24, 2006, 06:03 AM
LOL SLW, that's great...our training ground is a neighbor's farm, complete with braying donkeys, grunting/squealing pigs, bleating goats, barking/charging Great Danes/Rotties, cats that don't move until you're on them, gobbling turkeys, and what is that noise that peacocks make? That and having them jump off a fence and spread their feathers usually makes a horse or two completely lose it for a few seconds. It's great fun! I have thanked the owner for providing us with such a great training experience.

Spotted Draft
Jan. 25, 2006, 11:01 AM
I didn't make it in time to see the Self defense seminar on Saturday, but i did catch the bareback riding one Scott did on Sunday. I didn't realize how short he was ! I'm very interested in seeing his DVD, do you know if he will be at the Pennsylvania horse expo ?

Spotted Draft
Jan. 25, 2006, 11:04 AM
And did you see at the expo that there was one booth (cicky's maybe) that was selling a long strip of sleigh bells ? I meant to go back and pick one up for when we go trail riding. I'm sure my horse will appreciate that alot more than my wonderful singing to scare off deer !

Jan. 25, 2006, 12:37 PM
SLW--What a hoot! We have our own takeoff on Frank's down the road with the paintball arena in the neighbor's yard. They have all kinds of barriers and stuff set up at all kinds of angles. Verrrry interesting.

AngelCat--Your post reminded me of the time over the summer when I took our new critter on his first big group trail ride. I knew this little horse was a definite keeper when I pulled him off the trailer at the campsite where he was met immediately by a giant draft mule bray. He just kind of looked at the mule as if to say, "Hmm, that was interesting" and went about his business. Now bicycles on the other hand are another matter completely! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Jan. 26, 2006, 09:07 AM
while riding or off your horse with your horse
close by. WHY? the over spray can affect your
horse wich can result in loss of control of horse making a bad situation even worse.

Just so you know, I have deliberately maced my horse (I am a cop and there are times when I may have to use my OC (another form of the stuff) while mounted). Strangely enough, he could not have cared less. I sprayed him directly in the face- from nose to eye. He sneezed once and that was the end of it as far as he was concerned. (I didn't get off as lucky, I had to smell the stuff for the rest of the shift!)

I know quite a few other horses that have also been OC'ed. Not a one has done more than sneeze a couple of times.

FWIW, the foam is, IMHO, the way to go. It sticks to the assailant, and, at least temporarily, blinds them (if your aim is good), even if the actual pepper in it doesn't affect them. The drawback to it is they can wipe it off and fling it back, but I have never had that happen. The spray is easier to control than the mist, but you have to be able to aim.

Jan. 26, 2006, 09:29 AM
huh? uh no...I will never spray mace on my horses. Once someone sprayed mace on my dog, my poor dear spent her time trying to clean it off by rubbing on the grasss. enuff said. If you are saying that mace does not bother horses, then I'd like to see a research article stating that horses do not get bothered by mace at all due to the differences in physiology. It'd be an interesting read.

Jan. 26, 2006, 10:29 AM
Can't say there is a scientific article. Never said there was. Just stated my personal experience, as well as the experience others that I know have had. CS, OC and regular mace have not affected any horse that I know of, that have been sprayed.

Jan. 28, 2006, 12:29 PM
Hi I'm a new member here. My 17 year old daughter and I ride out a lot by ourselves in the deep woods in our area. Most areas that we ride have very spotty if any cell phone coverage. Twice we have come upon and been approached by men on the trail that I would classify as *strange* or threatening looking. Both times we were able to see them from a distance and were on high alert when passing them. My first instinct would be to kick someone who grabbed at me or my horse. I'm pretty frightened to think of what could happen if someone managed to unseat me and drag me off. I am ordering the DVD and will share it with my friends.
Thanks for bringing this to people's attention, hopefully no one will ever need this information.

Jan. 29, 2006, 04:23 AM
Posse977, Scot Hansen only had anecdotal info on how horses react to mace. He said he called around to mounted police forces. One place told him they'd put their best rider on on of their horses and sprayed it with mace. He asked what happened, and they said, "He got bucked off!"

Since I'm not willing to spray my horses, and I've limited success with it against dogs, it's not something I'll carry. However, I will get a whistle (and try it at home, first, so my horse doesn't try to run out from under me).

So far I haven't gotten a knife, either. I'm a terrible proctrastinator!

Welcome Dusty!! I liked the DVD. Unfortunately, mine stopped playing halfway through--it looks like a computer error when they laid it down. You might be better off with the video. I've got to send my DVD back and ask for another copy. But there's the procratination problem I've got...

Jan. 30, 2006, 02:47 AM
As far as defence when riding is concerned I'd say never forget that you're the one in control of the horse.

If someone grabbed my reins I'd walk the horse all over them and get him moving quickly.

No doubt that's easy for me to say, having had a lifetime of experience but there are times when the ability to manouver a horse quickly to your own advantage comes in handy.

Working cattle, as I do, hones that skill. If you've trained your horse to move away from the leg the combined weight of you fighting for control of the reins and the horse pulling away should be sufficient to give you the advantage.

Get the assailant at arms length by using your leg, give the horse a kick and get moving.

Hopefully it will never come to that. If you se any scary looking characters canter off in the other direction. Just don't give them the time of day. Hope this is helpful.

Jan. 30, 2006, 05:00 AM
Hey Phil,

Welcome to the forum. Glad you are willing to post even though you've got the karma "greenie." Just post lots of times and you'll get rid of it quicker.

I hate to sound like a Scot Hansen fanatic, because I'm not. I just like to attribute the quote properly. Here's another one:

"Ladies, if two men come up to you on a trail and grab your reins, it's you they want. Gentleman, if two women come up to you on a trail and grab your reins, they want the horse!"

It made me giggle, and I'm 41--haven't giggled in years!

Too bad the "greenies" in your country have no sense of proportion. Tree huggers are looked at equally badly around here. There is a state park nearby where the rangers do controlled burning, because a researcher realized it is actually better for the forest, and that all our fire prevention keeps nature from doing its own upkeep. They maintain fire breaks throughout the park. It is refreshing to see that they are looking at the bigger picture.

Jan. 30, 2006, 07:59 AM
Ahh! Scott Hansen and Posse can write an emperical article for Vet journal about the effect of mace on horses. It'll be worth reading and perhaps, it can be used to help increase the statistics on the effects of mace on horses. This way, we will have a documented study showing that mace can or cannot be used on horses. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jan. 30, 2006, 10:17 AM
That's interesting. I will have to chat with Scot about it in Columbus in April. We have video tapes of horses being sprayed. Not one of them reacted in any negative fashion. Perhaps it's something like humans- some are affected, some not. Or perhaps the type of applicator used made a noise and the horse was not p[leased. I shall definitely have to ask. But, for me, I KNOW without a doubt that I can spray without problems with my horses.

Another note about mace. All police officers go through a training program before they are permitted to carry (at least in Ohio). We are sprayed to find out what it's like, and to try to learn to fight through it. I am of the opinion that civilians who wish to carry the stuff should have to go through a training program as well.

Lou Maguire
Jan. 30, 2006, 11:05 PM
Yeah Matryoshka, like an old girlfriend once told me - "it's your horse I like, not you! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 30, 2006, 11:07 PM
Woops, the missus 'll shoot me for posting that under her name. I thought I was logged in but she was!If you don't see me again you'll know what happened!

Jan. 31, 2006, 06:23 PM
Hi everyone,

My first post is not a nice one, but I felt I had to contribute here, as I have unfortunately had some experience in this.

If you want to be absolutely safe don't ride at all...(is this really an option???)

If you want to minimize the risk of being attacked when riding alone, take precautions: the absolute best advice I have seen in this forum is the 10 foot rule.

If you sense danger, get your horse moving FAST!! If this is impossible, shout loudly and assertively and try not to show fear. Get your cell phone out and even if you don't have a signal, speak into the phone - this deterred my attacker - he just saw the risk as being too high and eventually ran away.

This @#$hole came out of nowhere and grabbed my leg. I was on a narrow path with no way of getting out, so I yelled POLICE and then pulled my phone out. Luckily M (all 1100ibs of her) stayed really calm. It was enough to get the rapist/pervert going and for us to canter off really quickly.

Afterwards, I noticed blood on my hand and a huge cut in my boot. He had tried to stab me! Very fortunately, I had worn my new Dehners and was trying to break them in. I was saved by my booties!!!

I don't think the attack lasted more than 30 secs, but the whole thing seemed like an eternity. The cops have fortunately caught the guy and say he is suspected to have raped 3 other women in the area.

I can't say much else, as this has brought on some PTSD, but I will say these things probably saved me:

Be aware
Take precautions
Have a cell phone with you
Get away
Shout like hell!


Feb. 1, 2006, 05:54 AM
It's interesting that no one has mentioned stun guns. I've never seen one or been hit by one, but if someone is close enough to grab your leg, you're close enough to them to give them a good jolt. Personally, I'd aim for the temple.

I ordered the Scot Hansen video, it hasn't arrived yet. But I really DO want to be able to trail ride alone. There's enough danger to that in getting knocked off your horse during a totally unexpected spook, let alone dealing with some dork who thinks it would be fun to pull a woman off her horse. I do believe my feminine ways would go right out the window if I ran across some idiot intending to do me harm. Like if I killed 'em, I wouldn't care. "He asked for it."

The foam is worth looking at, but I'm curious about any responses regarding the stun gun.

One thing in reading all this, and thinking about it (plus the other dangers inherent in trail riding alone)... A couple of things occurred to me.

Where I live, police departments are small. I'm wondering about just calling them and letting them know "Going trail riding at so-and-so place." That could annoy them but they also may find it just fine. You never know, but with an 8-officer staff, they may be just fine with that.

Secondly, it just wouldn't hurt to have a luggage tag on your saddle, not only to identify the horse but also, why not... put your intended route on it with the date and time.

Third, a friend brought up a good point... Try to only go solo trail riding where you first went with a companion, just so you know what the trails are like, whether there's anything that spooks your horse or you think might if you came back alone. In other words, not go exploring new trails by yourself since you have no idea what's down the lane.

Just some thoughts. Reading this thread spooked me some, I admit. So I've been thinking a lot about it. But I am NOT willing to give up trail riding by myself if I suddenly get the urge because of some ***hole who decides "let's have some fun with the little lady."

Oh, one more thing. Looking for input on this too. IF you got thrown, and IF you cracked ribs (or a variety of other injuries) I'd be concerned about being able to blow the danged whistle. What about flares, are there any small versions of flares you could pack in your lunch bag, lol??

Feb. 5, 2006, 04:49 AM
Well, hopefully nothing I said killed the thread. It just stopped. ???

I did order the Scot Hansen tape on self defense. I want to watch it again a couple of times and will offer to show it at next trail riding club meeting, but then will offer it up for sale at a discount. I do think it's a tad overpriced, but if several people can get use out of it, that's legal and cost effective. It's a good tape. There are some good tips in there.

Feb. 5, 2006, 06:15 AM
There is an item called a 'Pocket Rocket' that you open up, point up skyward, then pull the tag. I got a couple years ago, gave one to my dad who hunts alone, and keep one in the saddlebag. I have never tested these, I imagine they are very noisy, so you might want to be away from your horse if you have to set one off.

I believe that I bought them at a sporting goods store.

Feb. 5, 2006, 06:10 PM
Wow, I started this thread back in December and everyone is still giving excellent advice! Thanks for participating everyone! I had no idea when I posted this that so many of you would join in.

I love the idea of putting a luggage tag on the horse's saddle. I have a gelding who leaves me in the dirt when I fall off, so ID on his tack would sure help someone figure out where he belongs and where he may have left my butt when he and I get separated....not that this has happened in a few years, but you never know.

I hope everyone keeps more great ideas coming. I feel strongly that this is an important issue for all of us female, horse-loving, trail riders. We all need to stick together and take each other's advice seriously.

Happy Trails

Feb. 5, 2006, 07:47 PM
ZOOM! that rocket sure will send my horses flying! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Feb. 6, 2006, 12:46 PM
One thing that no one has mentioned is while you are on the ground. If you are busy grooming and tacking your horse, you are distracted and could be easily attacked. I ride a lot on Mondays, and the parking lots of the county/state parks are deserted.

I haul my horse tacked up, but with a loose girth and my irons run up. He has a Bitless Bridle, so I unclip one side of the reins and loop it over his neck a few times. Even if they slide down and he steps on it, he won't hurt himself.

When I get to the trailhead I allow him to turn around (stock trailer and I never tie my horses when hauling) and open the door. We immediately start walking towards the picnic tables for mounting. I do a few holes up on his girth as we go, then we are off and running.

Of course I'm already scoped out the lot and made SURE I can't get blocked in by another vehicle.

Be aware when on the ground!!! Coming back is the same thing. Scope out the lot; call the police on your cell phone if you see something you don't like, and stay mounted until help comes. If everything looks good, dismount; open door; put horse in; take off.


Be sure you check your hitch assembly BEFORE driving away. My truck/trailer was vandalized; we think someone was trying to steal the truck. We saw a man at my rig behind the trailer, but we thought he was answering Nature's Call. No big deal; loaded up the horses and took off. On the way home I kept hearing weird noises from the hitch, and finally stopped the truck going up a steep hill 'cause "something didn't feel right."

The guy had unhitched the safety chains; pulled the cotter pin out of the drawbar, and disconnected the emergency break-away cable on the auxillary brakes!!! I got the horses out immediately, but as we tried to get the jack out from under the bumper (long story) the trailer broke free, went over the chock and rolled down the hill. It smashed into some trees and a mailbox. Thank God I got the horses out! Trailer was fixed and is fine now except for some dings and dents.

So, moral of the story. Get locking hitch pins for your drawbar AND your trailer tongue. Any time you stop and leave your rig, do a full 360 degree walk-around. Check the chains and entire assembly. That is a Federal Law, as well as common sense.

Just my experiences...

Feb. 6, 2006, 03:29 PM
That moron who tried stealing your trailer! that is so sickening! thankfully, you were sensitive to your environment....

Were you able to describe that moron to the police???

Feb. 6, 2006, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by Prieta:
That moron who tried stealing your trailer! that is so sickening! thankfully, you were sensitive to your environment....

Were you able to describe that moron to the police???

Actually I think he wanted the truck, and was trying to get rid of the trailer. A complete rig is very easy to spot; a white p/u truck in traffic is easy to miss.

By the time I got home with the horses in a borrowed trailer, I was exhausted. I did call the police and the county park department the next morning, but they both kinda blew me off. Neither my friend nor I got a clear look at him; it was across the parking lot. Once he saw us coming around the bend on the horses, he hightailed it out of there.

I could cheerfully kill him. I drove up a steep hill with 5000 lbs of steel trailer and horses unattached to my truck. And my girlfriend was behind me in her Ford Escort.

I later found out that I didn't have a seperate insurance policy on the trailer, and had it caused damage or death to something/someone, I would have been completely liable. My agent got me a policy for the trailer the very next day.

Get locks; get a seperate insurance policy. Always check everything before driving off. God forbid this happen to you.

Feb. 6, 2006, 07:40 PM
Erg, there was an article in an Endurance magazine on this a year or so ago, very good article on "what to do if a person grabs....." ( a breastcollar, stirrup, you, bridle, rein, etc. ) and had very through explanations of how to turn the horse, if to run away or run into the person, so on, so forth. Very interesting. But, I cannot seem to remember where that magazine is.
Anyway, to answer the questions.
1. Do you ever stop and talk with "strangers" on the trails, especially if you are a woman riding alone or with kids, and the "stranger" is a lone male or more than one male?
It depends on the situation. If in an emergency, yes. But, just random people on a trail, no. I don't need to stop and talk, so I just be polite, smile, and continue on my way.
2. Do you know how to defend yourself if a stranger grabs your horse's bridle while you are mounted? Do you know how to prevent this from happening in the first place??
A. What to do: Turn the horse into the person strongly and get the horse "nervous" about the person. Yell, kick, and turn the horse into the person if they are on the side, then keep turning. They will let go and you will keep moving. ( Do NOT turn away, they will pull the horse back and then gain confidance and angle to grab you! ) If they are in front, if your horse is "bold", put the heel in the side, yip and yell ( let your horse know they are bad and they must get away or get "eaten"- rely on the prey to predator relationship in a horse- ) and gallop over them. Seriously. If you know your horse is not going to attempt to run over the person and will just get nervous and antsy, (know your horse well ) get them antsy and nervous, and turn away to the side of the person, and then towards them. (Putting them toward your side).
B. Prevention is the key. Dont stop to "chat" about the nice day or "your pretty horse" to the random stranger. Be polite and put off a good impression, but leave it there. Be sure to keep eyes on the person, and know your horse. If the horse gets nervous and is wary of the person, just use it as an excuse to keep the person at bay. (Or, once stopped, announce to them that your horse WILL bite and kick if approached by a stranger, and that they might get hurt if they get too close to the horse. ) If the person is advancing towards you, repeat the above again, and if they dont stop, get away and say "Have a nice day!" as you canter off. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
3. When a bunch of little kids come running up to you as you ride by, and they are screeming and jumping for joy over seeing a horsey, do you stop and let them pet your pretty horsey, or do you just wave and keep on going?
This is hard, it really depends on the situation. We once rode on the beach, and 2-5 kids came up ( 5-10 yr. olds I'm guessing ) asking if they could pet our horses. *We were walking* Our horses were relaxed, parents were with the kids, and so we agreed, letting them have a photo with the horse. (We were off our horses.) Then, in an opposing situation, we have been going along (walking) down a trail, and a dad and his 2 kids were hiking. We were alone, and our horses were not relaxed, so no. Seeing us, they stopped, the kids wanted to pet the horses, but we just were not in a right situation for it. So, no, they didnt get to pet them, but we do say "Thanks", and move on.

Feb. 7, 2006, 07:07 AM
My insurance co., USAA advised each one of the members to always carry disposable camera with us in case anything like yours happen. Your situation is a good example. I do not like when police blow us off.

Will that "red bar"' on the steering wheel help prevent them from stealing the truck? I have seen that in Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington DC and wonder if they are effective.

Thank you for sharing the article with us. There is one minor or major problem with me...I have to tell my girls to speak in another language whenever some strangers approach us. Sometimes my girls would get scared that they'd need some time to speak in another language. 99% of the time, it works. But, at any rate, we will review this board and practice.

Feb. 8, 2006, 07:27 AM
Well, I don't know about the article referred to, but the Scot Hansen tape specifically says not to turn your horse toward someone who grabs you. Picture it. They can stand in the middle of a circle and your horse is doing all the work in vein, just riding around them in a acircle. No effort for them, and they don't have to turn loose of whatever they have grabbed (your leg, etc.)

Hansen says to turn your horse away from them and keep him going in a circle. If the person wanted to hang on, they would have to keep up with the OUTSIDE of the horse. That's the largest arc around the circle your horse turns. If you can speed up the turn, then he's going to have a heck of a time keeping up.

Tape also said to be sure your legs are relaxed, not stiffened. If someone tries to push you off, all that will happen is your leg will bend. If he tries to pull, put your weight on the outside buttock.

If he grabs onto your saddle in the middle of any of this, great. Don't grab at his hand, but smack yours down on top of his and trap his hand there and start the turning or fast pace. He will have to get free or get dragged. (Fine with me, I'd like to see him getting dragged.) But as soon as he's off balance, then grab his hand and fling it free.

While the tape didn't suggest this, it occurred to me bigtime. If he's close enough to you so you can reach his head, jamb your thumb into his eye and with the force as though you're aiming to reach the back of his head through the eye socket. Not too many people can withstand that kind of pain and injury. If you blind him, "Ooowell."

It says not to try to hit him with a riding crop, it's too easy to grab the thing. However, if I had one and could get a clear shot, I sure wouldn't aim for his shoulder, but his face, and slam as hard as possible.

I think the tape has some excellent advice, but after watching it I mentally stepped up everything into more force.

One thing women have to overcome because it is in our nature. We do not have it programmed into our psyches to do serious damage to someone. Swat at them, flight, that is. But doing serious damage (as in "injury") is not natural to women.

A friend of mine is a cop, and several years ago we were talking about self defense (though not on a horse). But the one thing I remember is he said if you get a clear shot at an assailant, treat that shot as though it's your only one and inflict as much damage as you possibly can. Anything unexpected is good. Eyes, flat hand slammed over an ear (can burst an ear drum, but in any event causes grave pain), if your only shot is a kick, aim for the face, ideally the nose.

In other words, it's impossible to predict what athey "will do." You don't know what they "will do." Attacks rarely follow text book patterns. If someone tries to attack you, forget that you're a woman, pretend you're a mean, vicious marine out to kill. And don't look back if you leave the ***h*le in a bloody heap except to see he's not still coming at you.

When on the ground, keep a good eye out at all times (every second). If someone starts approaching you and you tell them to back off, and they don't, be sure your horse is between you and them. Get that horse sidestepping, and as fast and frantic as possible, right into them. They try to run to the other side, get the horse turned and keep it coming at them. Whirl the end of your lead rope toward the hindquarters and follow (run if necessary) along with the front to keep things going sideways.

I'm still for carrying some serious quality pepper spray. Not that pap you buy in convenience stores, but Fox Labs (law enforcement), and preferably bear strength.

Forget stun guns. Apparently they have to have a couple of seconds of contact to be effective.

Also the 10-15 foot rule is great. Main reason (in addition to keeping someone away from your reins) is... if you tell them at THAT distance to not advance any closer (and use a voice as though you are used to giving commands and have something to back them up with) and they keep coming? You know immediately you have a problem, so gear up to be one miserable b**ch that he wishes he never ran across. Also use the universal flat hand faced and pushed (with authority) outward, which signifies in any language "stop NOW."
The tape had great suggestions but it didn't go far enough. He had her doing an "eye flick" with her fingers to make the assailant flinch. Forget the eye flick. Jam your thumb into his eye socket with the intent of ramming it through his skull.

Last but not least, I sure wouldn't be afraid in a situation like that to act like I am totally off my rocker, sheer, flat out insane, and now proveably unpredictable. Let's say you said "Stay back," and put your hand up and you saw them coming still. What if you suddenly yelled really loud, "You ate my son's broken glass! And it's not January!!" (whatever the month IS)

I mean, whoa, that would buy you a brief back-off hesitation on his part, he'd have to take a split second to evaluate how dangerous YOU might be.

A split second is sometimes all you need. I know if I were attacking someone and they screamed something totally bizarre at me, I would definitely hesitate, self-preservation would kick in.

Feb. 8, 2006, 07:44 PM
Good stuff, JoJo. I took a karate class 20 years ago. The guy took a day to show us how to break holds by attackers. He said it is not enough just to break the hold, but you must do something to keep them from following you. On horseback, we'd be hard to follow, so getting away should be enough.

But on every trail ride, there are times when we are NOT mounted. In these cases, eyes are prime weak spots, but also one of the things we're programmed to protect. If you are on the ground, it only takes 8 lbs of force to break a knee from the side. The instep is also fragile, and if you are wearing heavy boots, you might be able to stomp on it with your heel and break the foot. The floating rib is also relatively easy to break with an elbow. All of these things should help slow down an attacker to give you some time to get away. We were also taught that if you are holding a key or some object, a punch to the eye or throat can be very effective for disabling an attacker.

It sounds easy in the abstract, but picturing it in the moment is a whole other matter. I think the poster who was attacked on foot and said she was going to make it the worst day the attacker ever had was right on the money. She showed courage that would be hard to match. What she had was an ATTITUDE that helped her think clearly and act decisively.

Feb. 9, 2006, 12:30 AM
Matryoshka, I just recently purchased Scot's video. Very informative. I was looking into having him do a clinic for a riding club I belong to. The cost was prohibitive( we usually do one clinic a year as a fund raiser) so I bought the video instead and am going to do a talk and show the video for one of our meetings.The techniques he teaches are very simple, but totally opposite of what you think you should do if attacked. Most people think you should kick or hit if attacked, but this just gives the predator something to get ahold of. I like the use of the horses's butt as a weapon. I also like the date method of getting rid of the assailent. I would highly reccomend this video to any one who trail rides.

Feb. 9, 2006, 03:03 AM
Matryoshka, I just recently purchased Scot's video. Very informative. I was looking into having him do a clinic for a riding club I belong to. The cost was prohibitive( we usually do one clinic a year as a fund raiser) so I bought the video instead and am going to do a talk and show the video for one of our meetings.The techniques he teaches are very simple, but totally opposite of what you think you should do if attacked. Most people think you should kick or hit if attacked, but this just gives the predator something to get ahold of. I like the use of the horses's butt as a weapon. I also like the date method of getting rid of the assailent. I would highly reccomend this video to any one who trail rides.

The only thing I didn't like about the video was that the rider did some stupid stuff. When they were demonstrating her hitting the assailant, she was feebly pounding him on the back of the shoulders. She wasn't hauling off and bashing him in the ear. The "eye flick" I thought was a joke. If she can get that close to his eyes, why sit there flicking when you can jab? Another weakness I felt was when he was pulling at her leg, she centered her weight on the opposite cheek. That makes sense for balance, but come on, all he'd have to do is suddenly push instead of pulling, and she'd be easily shoved off the other side.

I thought the video was excellent in terms of what it covered, but that people watching it should consider taking those ideas and escallating them to more aggressive action.

As for being on the ground (say you go into the woods to piddle) and your horse is tied, that's when some "bear strength" mace would come in handy. That stuff has a long shooting range.

Simbalism, I didn't know about the knee or instep. Those are great points.

Something else just got recalled, my cop friend said if you're being grabbed face to face and your hands are disabled (held to your side) use your forehead to bash into someone's face (skulls are harder than noses).

I do agree totally with getting behind the ATTITUDE the poster had who was attacked on the ground. She got mean and aggressive and OFFENSIVE instead of locked into "defensive" mode, and obviously decided any shot she had, had to be used as completely as possible.

Matryoshka, the tape doesn't let you know there are two out-takes after the video is over. I only happened to not turn off the video quick enough the 2nd time I watched it. Did you happen to see those? Very funny! I was wishing there were more. However the way Hanson got that horse side stepping so fast into the assailant until he physically couldn't afford to back up anymore but had no choice but to turn around and run... that was a model for some GREAT ground training!!!!!!!!!!! if anyone approached you at the trailer or in a more open area. All he was using was his lead rope spinning, but he created enough havock in that horse's mind so it sure wasn't worrying about what was on the other side of it that it might run over.

Also, as for the mention in the first part of this thread to warn a suspicious person "my horse bites," I'm thinking if it's a guy or two (worse yet), even if they MAY be okay, from a long distance (20 feet) it might be good to hold out your hand, and call out, "Keep a wide distance, my horse doesn't like men." That's more believable and if they do step off the path (one on each side) you're set up to ask them to stand together on the same side but into the woods. For that matter, if they do ANYTHING that looks at all weird, including demeanor that doesn't gel, it's time to turn around and hightail it in the other direction.

I am really glad that whoever started this thread did. Just talking about the various possibilities gives us a lot of things to think about. Key is awareness at all! I never even THOUGHT about being attacked while on horseback. Just didn't enter my mind. I guess I thought I would be higher off the ground enough so it just wouldn't occur to anyone. In fact, you are actually every bit as vulnerable. You're not standing on solid ground, you're balancing. Sheeeesh!

Feb. 15, 2006, 06:42 PM
I can NOT identify with "being a woman so I don't want to hurt anyone." My husband has always said that if the cops call and say, "Your wife was assaulted," he would say, "Ohmigod, how is he?".

If anyone tried to harm me or one of my animals, I would have no problem trying to kill them. I'm not looking for a fight, but if one came my way, I sure wouldn't curl up and die. Or be a victim. I might lose the fight, but by God they would be sorry they tangled with me.

OK, and on a happier note. I've been investigating blaze orange gear to wear for me and my horse when I ride. www.loristack.com (http://www.loristack.com) has a BEAUTIFUL blaze orange saddle pad (English) for about $32.50. I also attach a luggage tag to the saddle w/my name, address, phone number and email addy, as well as my neighbor's. I wear blaze orange; either a jacket or vest or something. There is also a company that makes blaze orange helmet covers. If we ride alone (like I do) it's great to wear that color so we can be spotted easily if necessary.

So, here's my thoughts on safety.

1. Let someone know where you are going; when you leave, when you get back, what trail you are taking.

2. Wear blaze orange, and outfit your horse, too.

3. Put a luggage tag on his/her saddle; put a card/luggage tag on YOU with blood type, ICE number and other info.

4. Carry a dressage whip.

5. Enforce the 10/15 feet rule.

6. If possible, trailer with tack on if riding alone in order to have a fast takeoff at trail heads.

7. Check out the situation before dismounting at a trail head if riding alone.

8. Thoroughly check out your rig before driving off. Call someone on your cell and talk to them whilst doing this, so that any "bad people" see you on the phone.

And know some basic self-defense both on the ground and mounted!

Feb. 18, 2006, 11:33 AM
wow, this is a great thread !!
lot's of things to think about. i really think my horse would have no problem at all running somone over, especially men, who he isn't very fond of to begin with, when he meets one he doesn't know already, even if theyre outside his stall, he will turn away from them and put his but to them, and has been know to move agressively toward them in the field, for what seems to be no apparent reason. i asked hubby if he felt the same, that yes, he would run someone over if encouraged to do so, and he just burst out laughing, and said " oh no doubt" lol so funny that my sweet wonderful boy is percieved as such a threatening beast by my husband http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif however, as i said, it is that whole , he doesnt like men thing.
also, i'd like to point out that while the mace may not be a good idea while mounted, if you are somehow dismounted, it may indeed be a wonderful idea.
and lastly, as a woman whose first husband beat her for years, i can say that i have NO hesitation in inflicting SERIOUS bodily harm on someone, ANYONE , who was intending to inflict it on me, to the point that yes, i truly belive that i could kill somone in self defense, and i agree, don't bother hitting an attacker unless you mean it, if it isn't going to disable him, it is only going to anger him.
and yes, it is a sad reflection on society that we have to worry about these things, mostly due to the fact that the vast majority of women are smaller than the most men. The average woman who is atacked is small, both heightwise and weightwise, and that's not due to sexual atraction reasons, it has been stated by MANY criminals that it is do to the fact that smaller women are easier to control.
and a funny sidenote is that women with ponytails are said by predaters to be an easier target, because it's a nice nifty handle to hold on to, the whole "control the head control the horse" theary, as it relates to humans.

Dressage Art
Aug. 26, 2007, 10:45 PM
If you are planing to fight back - be prepared to fight to disable your attacker with 2 max blows. If you can't do that - it's better to run. They will fight back and will lock you in to position that you can't even move from your own pain.

+ How do you know if the attacker doesn't own horses himself or knows how to deal with them?

Aug. 27, 2007, 08:55 AM
Here's a small business that makes nice Safety Orange items: http://blackdogfarm.biz/ModShop/ShowCategory/8649/#bottom

I have the Blaze Orange Halter Cheek Strap. It's much brighter and eye-catching than the picture shows.

P.S.....And their ear nets are DA BOMB too. That's my very own Percheron, Tank, modeling the X-large sized ones :D

Aug. 27, 2007, 09:33 AM
Dressageart, you can pretty much tell whether or not an attacker is familiar with horses by his actions around horses. On the other postings, an attacker familiar with horses would try and grab the reins. He might be dumb to even try that? I'd be more concerned about trying to protect ourselves than to gauge on whether or not this attacker is familiar with horses.

Heck! :D Any person familiar with horses know how very protective and bossy we are whenever we are on our horses so they'd stay at a respectable distance away.

Aug. 27, 2007, 04:54 PM
Just browsed through this. The only problem we ever had was was my girlfriend getting bucked off because a mounted officer was traveling with his personal unleashed dog that bolted her horse. Uniform and gun does not equal brain. He tried to slink off without checking on her. I ran him down on my old QH, nearly trampling his dog ( this one goes where you point, regardless of what is in the way). Now theres an addendum to his personnel file.