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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  10:46:43 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
I was reading a discussion about women riding alone on trails, which tend to be remote and woodsy. The premise was that there can be some really creepy types who lurk around on hiking / trail paths, and that they have been known to grab a horse by the reins and try to pull (or push) off the rider by grabbing onto a leg. Such a thing has never occurred to me, mainly because it's easy to feel fairly invulnerable when you're on a horse. But really, would you be??

Someone mentioned not to use Mace because of "blow-back" with a breeze, or the assailant being, by that time, right next to your horse's face. Another mention was that all you'd have to do would be to run the guy down, but again, if he grabbed the reins from the ground, you'd be in kind of a pickle. The general consensus was to keep a 10-foot distance rule in case someone approached your horse too close, which sounds like a good idea in any event.

Apparently there are occasional clinics held on this subject, but I've never heard of one. Nor had I even thought of it.

I thought this could be a very interesting topic to get some ideas from others how they would handle such a situation. The consensus was that we wouldn't be as invulnerable as we may think. And when you really stop and think about it, that very well could be true.

Thoughts???

Parrothead
Trainer



USA
559 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  11:25:34 AM  Show Profile Send Parrothead a Private Message
Yvette Rollins of the Indiana Trail Riders gave a talk about this.
Of the things I can remember were,

Keeping a space between you and any stranger
Always try to stay mounted or keep your horse between you and any stranger
Telling someone when you leave, where you are going and when you expect to return.
Your horse can be weapon. Use it. Knock 'em over. If they have your reins, spur that horse up and outa there anyway you can. If they don't let go, drag 'em
Carry a cell phone and a map.
She has stopped carrying her gun in favor of pepper spray, and not in the saddlebag.
Carry a whistle on a cord around your neck.
Men, ladies are not the only ones in danger. There are real pervies out there
Ladies, don't be one. You don't have to mannerly, answer anyone's question,or engage in a conversion of any sort.
If it feels wrong,or you are the least bit uncomfortable get the **** outa Dodge.

Jill
Life is too short to ride bad horses.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  12:43:58 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
That all sounds good Jil, I forgot about the whistle but that's a really good thing. (Hmmmmm, should be interesting desensitizing a horse to THAT sound in the back yard, lol!) I suppose in a case like that, however, a little "fright/flight freakout" would be a welcomed time as any though. I would imagine also tht if someone grabbed your reins, a good long crop slamming as hard as possible into their face could put a dent in their arm reach also.

I don't know, it just never occurred to me that anyone would have the nerve to grab the reins on an unknown horse, but apparently it happens. And when you think about it, unless everything worked pretty well, you really *could* be vulnerable.
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Reining-addict
Tenderfoot



Netherlands
17 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  1:32:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Reining-addict's Homepage Send Reining-addict a Private Message
I surely think you need to be able to protect yourself when you're going alone. Two weeks ago a girl in Holland was riding alone in the woods, she was pulled from her horse and that sick guy raped her. Luckily she survived it and the guy was caught 2 days ago. Just yesterday he confessed...

Most girls who go riding here don't take their whips with them to use it on their horse but to use it on a creep in case of an emergency. I don't want to give you a bad perspective of Holland but in some areas (mostly parks) there are many encounters...

For that little country we sure do have a lot of creeps.
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ree7
Advanced Rider

USA
164 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  1:34:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit ree7's Homepage Send ree7 a Private Message
All good advice. Also when a stranger looks like they are going to approach... tell them "Stay back! My horse bites and kicks!!!"
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  1:37:31 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
In a case like that, it'd be a real advantage if your horse responds well to your legs and seat. If anyone grabbed hold of my horse's reins, I hope I'd have enough sense to cue my horse to swing sideways and right into him. A 1000 lbs. of horse is a great weapon to use in a case like that, and I doubt if a person on the ground could be quick enough to get out of the way.

Another thing that comes to mind is that both of my horses are usually aware when anything is crawling around nearby or off the trail. They've spooked at things that I didn't even know was there! Unless the assailant was incredibly quiet and where my horse couldn't scent him, I doubt if he could get close enough to grab my horse. Just thinkin' out loud.

I'd love to be able to talk to a mounted police officer on this issue. They use their horse to intimidate suspects on foot all the time.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown

Edited by - Red Hawk on 01/21/2006 1:43:41 PM
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  2:51:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
I believe I read somewhere that if you feel at all threatened by somebody on the ground, to turn your horse AWAY from the person. This makes it impossible for the person to grab the reins, puts you in a good position to get away quickly, if necessary, and, also, you can also position the horse's hindquarters to back into someone or knock them down.

Can't resist adding that it is better NOT to ride alone. However, even people riding in pairs, could be in danger.

EZ2SPOT
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  4:00:41 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by EZ2SPOT

I believe I read somewhere that if you feel at all threatened by somebody on the ground, to turn your horse AWAY from the person. This makes it impossible for the person to grab the reins, puts you in a good position to get away quickly, if necessary, and, also, you can also position the horse's hindquarters to back into someone or knock them down.

Can't resist adding that it is better NOT to ride alone. However, even people riding in pairs, could be in danger.

EZ2SPOT



I read that also, the idea being that if you turn your horse away, the hindquarters are harder for someone to get around, but if someone grabs your leg, it would sure be good to have something in your hand to whap them with. As long as they don't have a hold on you it would SEEM anyway that giving the horse a good kick would make it jump in who knows what unpredictable direction. I'm liking the idea of ordering a fresh can of "bear quality" pepper spray more and more, or maybe playing "lance-a-lot" and bring a sword, lol.

By the way, a useless bit of trivia. I heard that what started the convention of mounting on the left was because that's the side the knights carried their swords on.

Wonder how big a stun gun is. Or a cattle prod. It seems insane that we would even have to talk about a subject like this, but when you think about it, what more remote place would there be than trails people would be riding on?

RH, just curious... why would your horse react to the scent of a person who's hiding any differently than the scent of a person who's innocently hiking down the trail?? I missed something there.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  4:08:26 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Reining-addict

I surely think you need to be able to protect yourself when you're going alone. Two weeks ago a girl in Holland was riding alone in the woods, she was pulled from her horse and that sick guy raped her. Luckily she survived it and the guy was caught 2 days ago. Just yesterday he confessed...

Most girls who go riding here don't take their whips with them to use it on their horse but to use it on a creep in case of an emergency. I don't want to give you a bad perspective of Holland but in some areas (mostly parks) there are many encounters...

For that little country we sure do have a lot of creeps.



Reining, what kinds of whips do they tend to bring? Are you thinking of something like a dressage crop or ??? Probably not a bad idea, but if someone grabbed your leg (which I read was the standard thing, either to pull you off or push you off the other side) the automatic tendency would be to hit their arm. Seems to me it would be worthwhile to try to program our brains to go for the face.

All really creepy thoughts, but hey, better to think of it now than if it happened...
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  6:42:15 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I see I've been misunderstood. When I said to move my horse sideways into the person coming at my horse to grab the reins, I was talking about swinging the hindquarters and not the forequarters. Sorry about that.

OTW; My horses will usually spook at hikers or people on foot if they can't tell what it is and the people don't say anything. All they see is a big monster moving around that might be fond of having horse for dinner. If I see them before my horse notices them, I will ask the people on foot to say something so my horse will know they are a people and not horse eating monsters. It's not unusual for a horse to spook badly at people on foot in the woods. A horse's #1 defense to stay alive is to run, and they're ready to do it quickly if they feel threatened.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  9:30:41 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Wow, RH then I am in for surprises. I just assumed a horse would be able to recognize a person as a person and would associate person with "okay" since that's what they're used to. Maybe out on the trail I'll find it's different though. (I'm sure I'm in for surprises anyway though, lol.)

Yup, the advice I read was consistent with yours, to turn away from the person so the horse's hindquarters are swinging around toward them, not turning into them. Just the thought of the nerve of someone trying to grab my horse's reins (so they can then attack me), however, gets me so hot under the collar that my urge would be to just run them down. And that ain't turning away from them, lol. But it sure seems smarter to just turn away to the outside.

I'm curious what kind of whip they tend to pack in Holland for that purpose. And where, by the way, DO you carry a whip when trail riding... sticking out of your boot?

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beccajane
Trainer



USA
985 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  10:51:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit beccajane's Homepage Send beccajane a Private Message
I never really thought about this subject! It would make me uneasy for a stanger to come close to my horse anyway. You all gave really good advice. Thanks and I hope I never have to use it...
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  12:50:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
One of the best pieces of advice I have heard about any type of self defence is that there are no rules. And there isn't. Swing the butt into them is best but if you can't use the horse's forehand. If you can't get in a classic self defense move then get in anything you can. So you can't get to the eyes the nose is another touchy place so is under the jaw. A thumb to the inside of the lower jaw can hurt like crazy.

Anything can be a tool. Your reins can smart if you hit someone with them. Your stirrup, even a set of horn bags can be used to hit someone with.

Know your horse and use him. If a horse will act up and you know how to make them act up then do it. Of course this works best in cases where you are trying to scare someone off that might be trouble but is far enough away yet. Some horses hate to back up and will toss their head. If back him up and make him look big and mean it does three things, gets you farther away from them, makes the horse look mean and gets you more set up for a roll back to to spin around and get out of there.

One of the major magazines had an article about it and I think when given the chance all riders should go to clinics on it. Groups or not things can get scary at times. Use your head, be aware of the weapons you have and don't forget to use your mouth. You can scream your head off but also lie through your teeth if you have to. Some people aren't bad(or are 'friends') but still making you uncomfortable lie to get away if you have to....even if it means to get out of the house and away from them.

This is just one more reason why I think horses need to know to more then go from Point A to B. If you need to depend on your horse to move his hindquarters to save you life don't count on him doing it if you haven't put in the time on it to teach him how to do it.
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Reining-addict
Tenderfoot



Netherlands
17 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  04:51:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Reining-addict's Homepage Send Reining-addict a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by OnTheWay

Reining, what kinds of whips do they tend to bring? Are you thinking of something like a dressage crop or ??? Probably not a bad idea, but if someone grabbed your leg (which I read was the standard thing, either to pull you off or push you off the other side) the automatic tendency would be to hit their arm. Seems to me it would be worthwhile to try to program our brains to go for the face.

All really creepy thoughts, but hey, better to think of it now than if it happened...



The dressage crop, it's way longer than all others and the first thing they do is aim for the face. It's also better to have a long crop because if they want to use a knife or something like that, you always have some distance.

(I'm sorry if a whip is a whole different thing, I forgot the word crop)
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  06:13:55 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Stormie



This is just one more reason why I think horses need to know to more then go from Point A to B. If you need to depend on your horse to move his hindquarters to save you life don't count on him doing it if you haven't put in the time on it to teach him how to do it.



Stormie, good point, so being the shameless neophite that I am I'll bite... How do you teach your horse to specifically swing his hindquarters around?

Seriously, I'm not sure what is meant by "moving his hindquarters" as opposed to just making a turn away from the person, which would also involve moving his hindquarters. How do you ask for that from in the saddle?

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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  07:44:50 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Well, I just ordered a Self Defense video for trail riding. I figure if it has anything in it that would add to confidence or safety, it could be worth its weight in gold.

Here 'tis in case anyone is interested...
http://www.horsethink.com/Videos.htm
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EZ2SPOT
Clinician

USA
3785 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  10:23:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by OnTheWay

Wow, RH then I am in for surprises. I just assumed a horse would be able to recognize a person as a person and would associate person with "okay" since that's what they're used to. Maybe out on the trail I'll find it's different though. (I'm sure I'm in for surprises anyway though, lol.)



Here's something newer riders might not know...even though a horse may be used to seeing objects or people at home, they may spook when confronted with the very same thing if it is in an area where the horse doesn not expect to see it. That is why seeing hikers on the trails may frighten even the friendliest of horses. Of course, once a horse gets used to seeing something not only at home, but also on the trails, they will usually relax. Horses not at all afraid of seeing vehicles around them or being ridden in traffic, may panic at the sight of a truck that has been left to rust in the woods.

Warsong loves attention...but if I am riding her in the pasture and someone comes out to tell me something, she will get ready to go into "flight mode". I usually holler for the person to stop a minute, tell them to start talking, and turn the horse slightly to one side (appears to be less threatening to them to see something coming from the side, than head-on). Then they can approach, & she will be fine. Unfortunately, you can't always do it this way when hikers come along on the trail. Best thing is to ride enough so the horse gets used to seeing everything out there.

EZ2SPOT
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  8:43:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
OTW

To me turning the horse away from the person is to make a small circle or to move the forehand over. In the first case the butt would move but not a swing action. In the second the butt would stay where it is and the forehand would swing around. Neither one would work all that well if the person was at the horse's butt and you wanted to knock him off balance.

It's really called Yielding the hindquarters and the start of it would be on the ground like what was listed as something to do with Cloud. Once you can get a horse to move the hindquarters from the ground you start under saddle. At first you will need to shift your weight, look at the hip you want to move over, tip the nose lightly and use your leg to push the hindquarters over. Hold the cues until the horse's front end stays put and the hind leg crosses over the other, swing the butt away from your leg. I think this is a better move then swing the forehand around because if the person is at the middle or behind the horse it will push him away from the horse. Swing the forhand will pull him towards the horse if he is holding on. He(or she we have to remember that also) would have to let go and move away to gain balance if the horse's butt is moving into them. If the horse is moving away they can hang on better and let the horse pull them back to it.

Basicly you do whatever move you have to do to get them off you and then you away from them BUT if you don't have contral of the horse's body it would be harder to contral it in this case. You could use a horse that knows just the basics of turning, stop and go but you would be able to use it better if the horse knew how to leg yeild, sidepass, back,...move is his body when, where and how you wanted.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  12:52:46 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Actually, with Cloud, if someone gave me a problem I have a feeling all I'd have to do is push into her sides with both heels (even wearing sneakers) and they'd be sitting there in a cloud of dust. Anything resembling a kick, I think, would send her flying regardless of who was standing in front of her. Let's put it this way, I haven't tested it out obviously, but even if someone had her by the reins, if I were on her back (or someone else) and gave her enough impetus to take off, if she couldn't get forward, I have a feeling she'd dance around and maybe even rear up, but I doubt she'd stand there docile and I doubt, not knowing her, that they'd be standing there in total control of balance.

I ordered that video this morning (Scot Hansen) so will see if there's something in there that adds to the plan, but until I have a better one, I really like the 10-foot distance rule. Maybe even a little more. If a stranger was getting too close and with that much distance you told them to stop and not come closer, they'd either stay put (in which case likely not a problem) or IF they kept coming, you'd know right away they're going to be a problem. So that seems like a good place to start.

Stormie, I've watched Clinton Anderson, et al on "yielding the hindquarters" and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between that an a flat our plain old turn-around. From what I've seen though Cloud is pretty good at turning on a dime.

I may not get "getting it" but I'm just not sure how comfortable I'd be grabbing some strange horse's reins and not being worried about being blasted out of the way if a rider on its back caused a human-to-horse message, "Lezzz FLYYYYY!!" LOL.

The only cantering I've done with Cloud so far was a walk-to-trot, then extended-trot-to-canter... EXCEPT the day I was trying out a saddle and had zero time left, and wanted to see how it felt under a canter. I dug in, by no means hard, and Cloud went from a walk to a canter and had I not held her in, she would have been at speed in a heartbeat.

I'm now in one of those "Can't wait until Spring!" modes, because I really want to spend some time getting to know her better under saddle. I haven't put her to much test in the time I had her before the weather went wet on us. First thing that went was our ground, so that put a huge crimp in everything. I mean when a guy is digging a post hole inside your barn and under two ft. down he hits solid water, THAT is wet ground!!

Will be interesting to watch the tape. But I think it's good to have some semblance of a plan. Hmmmm, maybe trail riding with goons around would be a good reason to learn roping. Snare the idiot and see how fast and long he can run behind a horse. (Nooooo mercy when it comes to things like that, none.)
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  12:35:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
The point of yielding is to move one part of the body. The point of turning is just that turning. You can use a yield to turn if you want but it isn't the same as turning either. It really depends on what You mean as turning. If you only think of turning in terms of yielding then yes they are the same but if you also think of turning as a forward movement of the animal and not just a sidewards movement of one part of the animal they are not the same even though in the end the result can be the same.

But still what I said hold true no matter which one you do. If you don't work on this stuff you can't plan on it working when you need it. I know people that actually do nothing to train the animal unless a problem comes up. My sister is like this. Her gelding is broke to ride but he knows nothing beyond the very basics. He never had any real training on bending or flexing. She she trained him it was get on go around the yard for a few minutes. Then a few times of that and then follow another horse on the trail. She can turn him around bends in the trail and turn him around to go the other way if he ever ask him to do anything like move his butt over or yield over to a safer part of a trail he would have no clue what she was asking. So if someone was brave enough to get close to him and he didn't pull his "Don't get near my mommy" things she wouldn't be able to swing his butt around, move his forhand, sidepass, even backing would be a problem for him. I don't know how easy it would been even to turn him around from a stand still if she was trying to beat on the guy with a whip at the same time. So you have to work on these things, not just for safety from other humans but just moving safely on some trails.

I personally would not count on a horse taking off when you kick them in a case like that. I would rather know that I can move the horse in other ways not just forward which isn't always possible. But keep in mind that I want a horse I can move around no matter what the case. It's so much easier to ride a horse you can place where and when you need. And these are horses we are dealing you. You can feel safe in thinking that she would take off or act up or you could work on it and know she would. Many horses spend a lot of time learning to stand and behave when someone has the horse's lead or reins. A horse will be more charged and more likely to over ride that training but you never know and being able to move the horse in other ways might work where jumping forward doesn't. With the horse charged up the training isn't going to want to kick is as easy so you have to work on this stuff.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2006 :  2:13:52 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Stormie, that all makes good sense. I really should put some time in on teaching her some of these moves, or to be more accurate, learning them myself so I can teach them to her. I admit to feeling a little overwhelmed by how to really go at it in a right way. Maybe between now and Spring I can define some very specific moves I want to work on, and read up on those so it can be a regular thing to school on. Points well spoken!
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2006 :  10:40:08 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
How about this. Say you're riding along, fat, dumb 'n happy, and some guy is ambling down the trail trying to look a little too nonchalant. You get within 20 feet of him and say, "keep a wide distance, my horse doesn't like men." Say he keeps coming at you, "Awwww, I have horses, they sense I'm okay." (This is not a good sign.)

So you suddenly scream at the top of your lungs, "You ate my son's broken glass and it's not January!!!" And start reaching into your pocket like you have a horrible thing hidden in there while keeping a mean eye bead on him.

Wouldn't the dude just want to get away from you??? ROFL!!! I mean self preservation alone would make him at least stop and think, "Hmmmm, maybe this one isn't my best bet."

ROFL!!!!
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  12:12:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
How about just looking all freaked out but not looking at him and say odd things to your horse like "I can't believe I just shot him." "Can you believe that he is dead" and as he gets closer look at him and yell "OMG you killed him, it was you, you shot him. This guy just killed someone!"

Well it might make him think you lost your mind and that might back fire and make him think you are and easier target.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  05:13:26 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
LOL. I was half kidding, but half not. To me that scenario could make you look like an easier target because you're still looking potentially sane and it's still a submissive message (calling for external help impression). No, I'm talking about looking really, certifiably insane and dangerous, off the wall, unpredictable, nutcase, potentially aggressive. Facial expression and all, nothing related to reality, explosive.

Rape crimes, they say, are about power, and I'd imagine any creep on the trail stalking for women would have overpowering in mind. Anything that would make you look like just way too much trouble, iffy, unpredictable, potentially dangerous yourself. I'm not talking about carrying on this act forever, just long enough to throw him off balance and turn and run or blow by him.

Anyone stalking expects a certain range of reactions -- fear, self defense, maybe anger, and would seemingly find any of that adds to the experience. But they wouldn't expect a lunatic who's unpredictable and looks like she's on the verge of becoming an unprovoked predator herself. I mean, you'd have to take action immediately (either turn and run or if that's not feasible, blow by him) but any part of his brain you can get off balance and unprepared would be an advantage.

If not a tad of fun, LOL.
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  1:07:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
I was joking too. The more off the wall you sound the more it throws them off but you only have a few seconds in most cases.
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FLOOPER
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  2:10:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit FLOOPER's Homepage Send FLOOPER a Private Message
I just would not ride alone, and would never let my daughter or wife ride alone either. Not only dangerous because of the pervs, but dangerous in case you have a wreck and get hurt bad enough that you couldn't use your cell phone etc. Besides, more fun to ride with buddies!!! My other advice would be to tell the guy, if I had asked firmly and politely for them to stop, and if they kept coming closer anyway, in no uncertain terms that "If you come one step closer, I will run this horse right over the top of you." And then, if they took one more step, I'd do it. No second thoughts.

Flooper

"I'm a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess."
The Man's Prayer from the Red Green Show
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