Rodeo daredevils

Wow . . .

A high point of the rodeo I just saw, for me and for my eight-year-old, was watching a guy who, standing with each foot on the back of a horse (known as Roman riding, for some reason), jumped those horses over a car. Okay—it was a small car, a convertible in fact. But still. As daredevil feats go it was pretty amazing.

And I would have just one question for this guy if I could interview him. (No, not “what were you thinking?” because this allegedly retired bullfighter–if you believe the announcer’s hype–obviously is an adrenaline junky and an entertainer.) No, it would be: “The first time you did this, how did you know you could do it?” Or maybe rephrased, “What would your practice regime be, before attempting such a feat?”

(The announcer said he was the first person to attempt this stunt in five decades. Anybody know who was doing this in the ‘50s? I know horses jumping over cars is not a big deal—looks splashy, but High Hat did it in a Marx Bros. movie. But . . . two horses?)

BTW—at this rodeo two cowboys were carried out on stretchers, several more exited limping. All animals left the ring under their own power, none limping. And a 24-year-old bucking bronc got a retirement party.

Apparently this guy isn’t the only person in recent times to be doing this:

A woman on Icelandic horses

Is this the guy you saw? He certainly has guts.

This guy does the Roman riding jump over fire, too.

Here’s another woman doing Roman riding. Again, on an Icelandic horse. That’s not surprising, BTW – you’d need horses with calm, easy-to-train dispositions and smooth gaits for this sort of thing.

The Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, features Roman riding among many other spectacles, though I don’t recall the Roman riders jumping when I saw it. It’s a great show, lots of fun. If you’re ever in the area, go see it.

As to how these people get these horses to do this stuff: Patience. Choosing the right horses to start out with. Patience. Years of training and building bonds of trust. Patience. Oh, and did I mention patience?

Oops! Both of those references to a woman riding Icelandic horses were to the same person, it appears. I’ve found the link to the StoryBook Ranch’s home page, which offers a video clip of Roman riding.

Nice links. Actually I’ve seen people do the Roman riding thing over fire before, and it’s impressive, but the car was more so, for some reason.

I can’t make out if it was that guy . . . don’t think so but it could be.

No–he was aboard Thoroughbreds–that was one of the impressive things. A few hours earlier, when we were strolling around the practice ring, he was warming up for an earlier show. Not standing up then, but I told my son I knew, from the saddles, that he was going to ride standing up on the horse, and the kid said, “Wow.” They were definitely not horses with calm dispositions although their gaits were smooth enough.

Trust would be important, for sure!

When I meant training I was not thinking about the horses. Although obviously, that would be pretty important. I was thinking, how do you practice to jump over a car. And probably like anything else, you start by jumping over something small–like a garden hose–and work up.