Last Updated on November 3, 2020
Riding an ostrich is different than riding any other animals. Even a horse feels safer at a fast gallop for inexperienced me. After all, it has four legs and even without a saddle has more room for comfort. An ostrich has two legs. You can look into the eyes of a horse and get some indication of how it is feeling. Glance into the eyes of an ostrich and all you get is your reflection.
Keep in mind that I am not saying these birds are not intelligent, they just are not as capable of showing their ‘thoughts’.
A horse has options for you to grab on to. Riding an ostrich you have to hold on for dear life, with its wings slightly covering your legs, while gripping onto the wings. Grab its neck and you could possibly strangle it. Plus, if you were to touch its neck, it would coil away and you wouldn’t get far. The neck did not seem like it was very strong and I wouldn’t want to hurt this beautiful creature.
Keep in mind that there is a weight limit when riding an ostrich (150lbs). Any heavier and you could break its bones and the bird would not be able to survive. That said, ostriches are not trained to be ridden. For an amateur there is no way to control the bird in the least. One of the workers did give us a demonstration of Ostrich riding where he did a great job of controlling the movement of the bird; at least he made it look easy.
As we approached the paddock where the ostriches roamed, a sign read “Riding Of Ostriches At Own Risk” and I admit, intimidated me (Debbie) for a moment. What was I just about to agree to? Riding an ostrich without a helmet.
We were instructed to put on coveralls and two staff members set out to catch an Ostrich. Putting a cloth bag over its head to calm it down made it easier to get the Ostrich over to the board fence for each rider (all females, might I add!) to climb up onto the bird and lean back slightly. They gently held out the wings while each rider sat and placed the wings over your legs. The wings felt strong and this is why you gripped the wings during the ride.
The cloth bag was pulled off and the farm workers helped direct it away from the board fence and two farm workers ran along side each rider so they could attempt to catch each rider if they fell.
Luckily, nobody fell. It was a complete hoot. Even the workers thought our riding was great, or perhaps it was the expression on our faces. After a short ride (maybe 10 seconds?), the workers grab your arms and instruct you to let go of the bird. Thankfully, they caught me.
Ostrich facts…. Did You Know?
- If ostrich eggs are laid in sand, the egg equalizes and you can step on the eggs without breaking them, as long as there were no cracks to begin with.
- Ostriches do indeed give a good neck massage, as long as you are holding a bucket of food in front of you.
- The flightless Ostrich is the world’s largest bird.
- Contrary to popular belief, Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. However, ostriches will lay low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible if in danger.
I rode the ostrich and we took part in the other Ostrich activities at Cango Ostrich Farm.
Is ‘riding’ an Ostrich cruel?
Perhaps some people would think so, but in Africa it is an acceptable practice. It is the norm.
We were able to learn so much about Ostriches during our time at the Ostrich farm and it gave us a new respect for the birds. We once just thought the birds looked funny. We now realize how incredible they are, and actually, that they are kind of cute!
Have you ever had the chance to ride an Ostrich? Would you?