Rode my first 3-day horse bareback and bridleless...holding a lunge whip with a carrot tied to the end of the lash. Yes, it does work! I could steer him by pointing the whip/carrot out to the side, just out of reach. Lift the carrot toward the eyes to stop (as horse goes bug-eyed and cross eyed snatching at carrot!). By lowering the carrot near the ground, you can get a pretty nice stretchy trot circle, too!
Some horses really are saints.
A few years ago, I used to ride my adv/2-star mare regularly without a bridle, including during long hacks and trot sets (perhaps a string of baling twine around the neck). Did one of our last gallops before a 3-day bridleless, just a neckstrap for safety. Gave me a lot of confidence in our partnership, taught me to use my body (and her to listen to it), and showed me I didn't need my reins to balance up/down hills, even at speed. Not something I'd do on just any horse...especially leading up to a 3-day! But we developed a pretty strong relationship over the years, and I know her inside out. Proved to me that you control the horse's body by riding it's mind...and you don't need a bit for that (though it is a nice thing to have!).
I didn't try the lunge whip/carrot with her-- an insult to her intelligence. She probably would dump me, eat the carrot, and beat me with the whip.
“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
? Albert Einstein
Jumping two barrels that were laying down, bareback, bridleless...no helmet.
My horse is a saint. Or he was back then, lol.
Another one...Back in the day of early riding, a friend and I decided to go for a quick trail ride on the bridle path on a cool, breezy day...bareback, in snaffle bits. We got to the end, and turned around to head home. Horses started snorting, dancing, and acting like fools. We were able to hold them back for a little while, but they eventually decided to ignore us, grab the bits, and race for home. I would have loved to see what we looked like...I'm guessing we resembled the monkeys they put in a saddle on the back of a Border Collie. I fell first, and landed on my left side. My horse stepped on the inside of my knee and on my stomach. Thankfully we both had helmets and mine actually cracked on the back. My friend held on for a little while longer but landed on gravel on her back. We were both hurting, and the horses were snortin' and prancing around at the gate when we got back to the barn.
Once a friend of mine and I decided to ride to the country store down the road. We got there and both had to go to the bathroom, so we tied the horses up to a sign post on the side (*eeek*) and went in. Got sodas and such.. and decided to take a "short cut" home on the lake front biking trail (which while not marked "no horses", isn't really a riding trail). I don't know who was more shocked/scared/surprised when we came around a corner.. us or the guy on one of those adult tricycles... almost under the front of the horses.
In high school, I'd do trot sets on my horse in a field that still had fences up from a long-gone race course. Each timber fence was totally overgrown with brambles that reached close to 5 feet high (and wide).
On one of the last hacks before I left for college, I took advantage of the same "good approach" idea, pointed him at one of the jumps and chucked the reins (and the draw reins, to make it extra dumb) at him.
He flew over that fence. It was one of the stupidest, most exhilarating moments of my young life.
I was never terribly silly as a kid. Just never occurred to me to do stupid things, and I was too far out to ride to anywhere fun, like a drive thru! Rode Neigh a lot in just a halter, which, considering how he could (and can still!) be, was pretty silly. But I learned to stick, and he learned that no matter how big of spook he wanted to be, we were still go to go out of the ring.
Probably the silliest, stupidest thing I have done, and this is fairly recently, was while at a party at the farm, after several margaritas, a friend and I went out, caught a couple of the ponies, and hacked them around the farm, in the dark. Did I mention we were barefoot (we'd been dipping out feet in the pool)? And possibly helmetless. I believe I tried to practice the one star test on mine (in just a halter, no less). Thank GOD for saintly ponies.
I was 14, so a very very very long time ago. I had my first horse, and oh he was so gorgeous. A really, REALLY, REALLY big Palamino...he stood at least 15.2.... Small now, but back in the day.
I was in awe of Bruce Davidson, and all those big names of the time, and I decided in my teen wisdom, to teach my horse to be an eventer. NOW this was a closet dream, ok. We did the little 4-H stuff, and some little play day things, but in my heart, I just knew I was the next BD. Sooo.....we lived next to a cemetery. They knew me well, I often rode through there on the way over to the store, or into the woods, and they had a big field that all of us neighborhood kids would race through....no big deal. They even donated flowers for me to make up my own flower boxes...on my whole .75 acre lot. I had jumps over there, in the field next to my house.
So one day, , in my wisdom, they had just dug a fresh grave, and lo and behold, my wildest dream had just come true, there, in front of my eyes, was the best combo ever, ditch, mound, and upright. ( do I need to fill you in on what the upright after the mound was? ) Anyway, we galloped up, and I just know you are thinking, she landed in that freshly dug grave...well I did not! NOPE, My boy just went right over it, up the mound, and right on over that double headstone, like it was nothing.
I was so proud, I drew a picture and sent it to BD. I don't think it ever made it there, and about an hour later, here came the poor guy from the cemetary, to ask me to refrain from "teaching" my horse to jump, using cemetery fixtures. LOL. It was awesome, and unfortunately, my closet dream to become an eventer in middle-class neighborhood Indy, never happened. But I sure loved that horse. He was so cool. So probably, I suspect, that was the craziest thing I ever did. There were a few others....
There was the huge snowstorm of '76 that my friends and I were the only thing out to get to the store, that somehow had managed to stay open....we did the food runs for a week. That was more fun then crazy. It was so simple, easy, and fun then. A far cry from the busy life of being the Mom of a real eventer. I sure did love that ole boy.
Growing up, my best friend was a wild child who's family owned a huge piece of property (about 300+ acres of valley in South Central Indiana). They had a large herd of horses at all times who roamed free on in the valley (no fences for the most part, only up by the barn). Some of our wild shenanigans that I recall include...
Riding bareback at a full gallop "herding" the other horses in the valley, with just a halter (reaching waaaay forward to steer by the crown piece) on the horse being ridden… sometimes double... sometimes no halter or way to control the horse at all .
Playing "Cowboys & Indians." This game actually resulted in more than one concussion for my friend.
Picking weeds/wild flowers in the fields... at a full gallop (stupid, stupid, stupid!).
Jumping 4+ foot fences in western saddles (ouch!).
Galloping through the neighbors corn fields - that $#!* hurts!
Galloping full speed down the old wagon trail on the property - jumping anything in site (without checking the height/approach/footing most of the time).
Also riding down the old wagon trail (2+ hours) to the busy/curvy highway... and then proceeding to ride down the side of the highway. We would take side trips down random country roads. Some of these rides lasted all day, with no one knowing where we were/no phones…
Swimming in the neighbor's pond... which, in itself is not really dangerous. However, when your saddle slides under your horse’s belly and horse therefore spooks… well, that hurt. Luckily, the pond/mud was deep, so I only had a 1/2 hoof print mark on my forehead and a small scrape on my back. I believe we told my mom I'd run into a tree branch
And much, much more... We pretty much thought we were invincible. And apparently we liked going FAST - notice most of our stupid activities happened at full speed gallop! (And rarely with helmets on... I know... ).
Guts and Glory reminded me of something stupid we did. I rode my QH, about 8 miles, unannounced, to my cousins house, on the south side of Indy, and I was on the east, but there were shortcuts over to the fairgrounds, and from there, it was easy. One saturday, feeling particularily lonely, I sat out. I got all the way over there, to find out that the parents weren't home, but the kids were. OH man.
So, we took turns riding my horse in the back yard. All was good, untill the one, Evie, wanted to trot, so we chased the horse, to get him to trot. Golden Boy was a great guy, and he trotted. At the time, I didn't really have money for a saddle, so I had gone bareback. So, she was bareback. He went between a tree and tall, old, chain link fence that was 5 foot high....
The branches started to tug her off, so she reached out with her left arm, and grabbed for the fence, missing it, and having the points of the chain link, literally rip through her arm from hand to elbow. I never, ever, ever felt so bad as I did that day. And I think that is when I realized bad things CAN and DO happen on horses, and from that point on, no one ever rode my horse without a helmet, saddle, and in an enclosed safe place.
Owning a teaching facility now, people often comment on how much I go out of my way to ensure safety. NO one gets a first lesson without a helmet, saddle, on a lunge line, in my round pen, on my most broke horse. NO ONE. And there are a few eventers and H/J riders out there who can attest to that, and would poke fun. But it is so much safer! So, one incident was crazy, the other just plain stupid. My cousin regained full use of the arm, but still bears a horrific scar from that episode.
You did not take the horses in Mellencamp's pond!? No wonder they kept running you scallywags out of there.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree --
we used to ride under a big interstate, down through an underpass that would fill with water (snakes??) and was so low (spiders) that we'd have to lay on the horses' necks, with the big truck traffic roaring overhead - to get to the open fields on the other side. And sometimes we'd ride on a full moon (thru the underpass w/ a flashlight), all night and then end up at the House of Pancakes at 4 in the morning. And we'd swim with the horses in the borrow pits by the interstate too.
I also rode my horse 18 -20 miles through the countryside to attend a dressage clinic b/c I didn't have a trailer yet. We had to cross over those plank bridges (two plank sides for tires, no between) and ride thru small towns.
I happily and innocently bought a 4 yo OTTB that I later came to find out was Kicked OFF the 'bush' tracks (how bad is that) and had been nicknamed JBoo by the folks there. He was the horse that I rode under the highway!
Horrors, I survived, so did you all.
Last edited by pony grandma; Feb. 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM.
The truth is what you can get other people to believe.
Not counting galloping bareback double and taking that same blessed saint of a horse to the pizza parlor with my best friend when we were teenagers, or going out to steal pumpkins mounted (again bareback) on a fat pony with a roached mane and only a halter and leadshank . . . no place to stash the pumpkin . . . I'd say the wildest ride I ever had was a "dude rance" cattle drive out in Aspen, where the cowboys took me with them and we shagged a whole herd of cattle up and down the sides of a mountain for a few hours. Yes I did have a helmet on, whereas we NEVER did when we were kids, but that was an INTENSE ride. Actually the horse took such good care of me I never once felt anything but safe, but WOW I would never ask a horse to do stuff like that on purpose!
You did not take the horses in Mellencamp's pond!? No wonder they kept running you scallywags out of there.
No, not Mellencamp's pond. The Dicks' pond up on the ridge... you know.. That you get to by galloping through all of the valley fields, jumping over barbed wire fences onto their property, scampering up the hill, and then galloping along the ridge top jumping everything in site? The pond there? We would be hot and tired and would go swimming
We never ventured down to Mellencamp's pond with the horses... that would have been fun though We just kept going up to his house to swim in the pool and hang out in the hot tub, so John kept running us off for that.
Cantering through the snow and jumping off into snow drifts was one of my favorite things to do in the winter. Going swimming in the summer and standing up on Sunshine's butt to dive into the deep side of the swimming hole. (In bathing suits, no shoes, just a halter/lead). Squelling (sp) and splashing when the poop floated by. Good times!
"Looked bigger when I couldn't see him."~ Jayne Cobb
we used to "joust" bareback with halter and lead, knocking each other off our horses with these big weeds (I don't remember what the plant was, but a bit softer than a branch - though sturdy enough to knock you off your horse)