I used to love galloping bareback in the woods on my lease pony when I was teenager — back in those days in which I was young, fearless and had the ability to bounce and then get right back on. I credit those years spent goofing around on sun-dappled trails for teaching me a lot about how to use my seat and my legs and ride with feel.
That said, I think I had a fair amount of control the entire time, and had prepared for those bareback gallops with lots of practice time at slower gaits. Had someone suddenly whisked my saddle away while I was cantering around a course of jumps, I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful.
Which is why this video of an “oh crap” moment from Salon-de-Provence racecourse in France is all the more impressive: watch jockey Elaura Cieslik not only contend with a saddle that slips and nearly drops her on the track amidst the galloping field, but hang on to win the race too aboard First Wood:
Oh crap indeed. Fortunately, horse and rider both made it home unscathed despite saddle and stirrups flapping about beneath the horse’s belly. Kudos to Ms. Cieslik and her amazing stickability.