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.
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.
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_c.../icon_wink.gif
Will get a dream horse!
More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting
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.
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:
Have a cell phone with you
Shout like hell!
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.
ALSO VERY IMPORTANT!!!
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...
Tulsa-QH; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten
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.
Tulsa-QH; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten
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_c.../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.
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.
Will get a dream horse!
More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting
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.
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.
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.