This month, I decided to confront a challenge that I wouldn’t know the outcome of until trying. I drove to Rutherglen, to a place called “The Pony Patch” which can be found at www.theponypatch.com.au, here I met with an amazing team of individuals who where going to help me. When I arrived at the stables Emily Wright from High Velocity Riding, introduced me to the horse I was going to ride “G6”, The horse was MASSIVE, and the first thing I was told was watch out for his front legs, he kicks – not really the first thing you want to hear!
Anyways, after signing my life away on a disclaimer, we went to the arena and I started to learn the basics of horse riding (which I hadn’t done in years). This was GREAT fun and I picked up all those old skills of horse riding quickly! The only difference this time, being that I had no stirrups for my feet, so in effect i was bareback! A bit scary! An interesting experience, seeing as the last time I rode a horse I fell asleep on it (Thanks to Dad for reminding me of that)
The horse is a reasonably new horse for stunt horse rider ‘Emily Wright’ and she has been working hard training ‘G6′ to be a brilliant stunt horse!
So anyways, the scene is now set! This is where the adventure started too!
Like I mentioned before, we did some warm up exercises;
Excercise 1 – Horse Walking, me with no hands on top
Exercise 2 – Horse Walking, me on knees on horse
Exercise 3 – Horse Trotting, me with no hands
Exercise 4 – Horse Trotting, me on knees on horse
Then after these excercises we tried to involve the juggling balls. At this point, was when I realised the “dream” of standing on a cantering horse and juggling was not a ‘close’ achievement. Juggling on a moving object such as a horse is a complex and intriging art. A horse, unlike circus apartus is unpredictable, it can stop whenever it feels like it, as much as a rolla-bolla can fly from under your feet or a you can lose balance on a unicyle, with a horse you are in the control of something else.
G6, the horse, also wasn’t a big fan of the ‘sounds of juggling’ which was an interesting thing to see. The sound of a club hitting my hand made G6 go a bit crazy. We tried to get him used to the sound, but ‘breaking’ a horse into a new trick or anything like that isn’t a one step process. Actually, even when we put the club in front of his face, he backed away, like it was an enemy!
From there, we ventured into balls, which G6 was much more comfortable with, although the noise did still affect him a bit. To solve this problem, we put on the “Top 40” music on my iPhone and suddenly he was a horse with a juggler on his back, but also a horse with a taste in music! Anyways we tried a whole bunch of juggling with the horse and all where impressed! I did fall off the horse 2 times! One time I was standing and the next I was laying on its back (it wasn’t even moving) and I fell off and landed in a pile of shit….
Standing and juggling on the horse (The Dream) proved to be a hard stunt….. We had to work out a safe way to practice it, which involved Emily sitting on the horse backwards, holding my hips, while the horse was walking, then I was to let go and juggle the 3 balls. You see, normally, when stunt horseriders stand on horses they have a rope which they use for balance, which is attached to the horses neck and then held in the riders hand (kind of like a counter balance i guess). Also, when the russian circus’ etc juggle on the back of horses they have a special horse, but also a platform on the back of a horse to stand on, they are also just CRAZY!
After trying to juggle etc on the horse and having a GREAT day, Emily and I decided that the “dream” would be possible in maybe 6 months or more, so we would keep practicing. I had an AMAZING Day! ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE, and the team at “The Pony Patch” and of course “Emily Wright” from ‘High Velocity Riding’ where incredible mentors and teachers. To finish the amazing story off, I have found a new hobby, and I AM going to continue trying to live my ‘dream’ in terms of juggling on a moving horse, but on top of that, I am going to learn some horse riding stunts under the guidance of Emily, and hopefully we will also work our skills together to come up with a fun and unique show…
I can’t finish this blog without mentioning the ‘fun’ I had on the Pony! I couldn’t juggle on the horse, so I juggled on a Pony, and it was hilarious. The pony sneezed and scared me to jump off… Also when I sit on a pony, my legs touch the ground so it looked like a ‘6 legged pony’ which also had the DANCE moves aswell!
You can view a short video of the day here;
Photo’s are also available to be seen on my facebook fan page @ http://www.facebook.com/jamesbustar
Thanks again to Emily Wright and the team at http://www.theponypatch.com.au
Visit Australia’s Funniest Juggler here http://www.jamesbustar.com