Imagine riding a galloping horse around the arena. Then imagine dropping your stirrups, letting go of your reins, and performing some acrobatics, all while your horse continues at a gallop. The feat takes some serious confidence and skill, yet it's all just part of another day for this family of children trick riders.
Trick riding is dangerous. Riders must be part gymnasts, part skilled equestrians. They must trust their horses to maintain an even path, to not trip, and to never veer off course. And the riders must trust their own skills enough to know that they won't fall off or lose their balance in the midst of a trick. It's no small challenge, yet these child trick riders make it all look easy.
According to the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders, trick riding originated with Cossack soldiers who used it as an advantage in battle. It was gradually adopted by the American cowboy and then became a rodeo competition. Today, trick riding is commonly seen as entertainment and is often featured during rodeos.
Think you have what it takes to become a trick rider? The Trixie Chicks recommend that a background in dance or gymnastics can help. Expect to spend plenty of time developing your strength, too - trick riders have to be able to do pull ups and push ups.
In order to get started, you will need to find a trainer who is experienced in trick riding. You'll need a horse who is trained to hold a trick rider, especially since the rider's weight moves all over the horse during the ride. Trick horses wear special saddles and breastplates designed to hold the tack in place. A qualified trainer will be able to help you get started in as safe a manner as possible.
Trick riding isn't for everyone, and it's a very daring form of riding. If you think you'd like to give it a try, never attempt to do so on your own. Find a trainer and an experienced horse to help keep you safe as you learn.