No! Of Course I Never Text While Riding

I was shocked the first time I saw someone talking on their cell phone while mounted. I’m amazed at how acclimated to technology one can become.

The other day, I saw Bella cantering cardio laps on Dinero, and waved, calling out a hello before I realized she was on the phone.  Oops.  My bad. Almost interrupted her call. She dropped the reins on Dinero’s neck, so she could wave back. She said something into the phone.  Picked up the reins.  I went on down to the barn.

Totally normal.

Shaun called me the other day, to see if I needed her to pick anything up from the store on her way home from work.

“Are you at the barn?” she asked.

“Yup”, I said, shifting the phone to a better place against my ear.  I hate that it’s impossible to cradle a cell phone between ear and shoulder.

“What’s your ETA for being home?” she asks.

Dinero, knock it off“, I say firmly, jiggling the lead rope.  He’s trying to sneak past his ponying position.

“What?!” says Shaun, startled.  “Did you just tell me to knock it off?  Knock what off?”

Hudson starts jigging underneath me. Oh.  I have the Dinero’s lead and Hudson’s reins in the same hand.  I accidentally shook the reins.  Interesting response. Wonder if he could learn to passage with a jiggle of the reins?

“Sorry honey, I was talking to a horse.” I say.

“A talking horse? I think you’re breaking up?” Shaun says, “the line is kind of…jumpy.”

I almost blurt out the line is jumpy because the horse I’m on is bouncing and the horse I’m ponying is picking at him.  Luckily, I remember The Handbook.

Do not discuss immediate horse issues with spouse while on the back of said horse. It kind of freaks them out. They want you to get off and stuff.  Never tell your spouse your horse is bucking while you’re talking on the phone.

“Okay” I say, “Let me try calling you in a bit.”

I called her later, and forgot about the episode, except to decide that talking on  my cell while handling two horses with one hand was not a bright idea. It’s kind of right up there with stupid.  For me, at least.

Out of the blue this weekend, Shaun brought up that call, and said “You were on the back of a horse, weren’t you?”

I’m a terrible liar.  I hedge, and answer “sort of..”

We both know this means yes, I was on a horse. You can’t be sort of on a horse.  She’s been thinking about this? Why has she been thinking about this?

“You said: knock it off, Dinero. When you called later, you said you rode Hudson?” “Why would you tell Dinero to knock it off if you are on Hudson?.”  This is rhetorical.

In a court of law, the Defense Attorney knows to ask only questions to which they know the answers. Shaun should have been a lawyer.  I’m doomed.

“I was riding Hudson and ponying Dinero, you know, like I usually do”, I say, trying to deflect.

She is so not deflected.  I see her lips tighten.  I try not to cringe.  I want to confess immediately and rend my clothing, beg the court for mercy.

“And you answered the PHONE while you were riding and ponying?” she says.

“I know, I know…I knew right away I blew it?” I say, perversely sounding like I knew nothing of the sort.

Shaun puts her hand over her face.  Her voice is muffled and full of pain.

“Please tell me you do not text and ride.” she says.

Whew.  Won’t have to lie. (She DID ask me to say that.)

“I do not text and ride”, I repeat back to her.

“Repeat after me”, she says, “I will no longer text from the back of a horse for any reason.”

Sigh.  There goes texting Daisy and asking her to pick up a pizza for family night…

There are horses on which it would never occur to me to touch the cell for any reason. (Hudson is not one of them.)

What is your personal cell phone policy?

14 thoughts on “No! Of Course I Never Text While Riding

  1. Okay I’ve been working backwards through your posts. First, my horse definitely stops when my phone rings. Same with Alicia’s (my trainer). He knows that we will both at least come back to a walk and answer the phone. Second, I text and ride all the time when I’m in the ring by myself (no one to crash into) but will at least park the horse by a jump no one is using before texting when others are in the ring. Kind of better? Is it really unsafe to use the phone on a horse? I never even considered it. I don’t text and drive obviously, but my truck doesn’t know better than to crash into stuff. It has no self-preservation. Tucker is much better at avoiding collisions.

  2. I carry my phone, but after last week (see blog), I have it on silent. I check periodically because when I got pregnant I developed an oversized sense of momma worry that is only kept in check my periodic phone glancing.

  3. I don’t ride alone, so don’t carry my phone with me on a horse. If I had a significant other, I can only assume he would feel somewhat neglected by my many hours at the barn, so I’d likely use a headset of some sort to talk while riding. I’d just have to explain to him that if I kiss or yell at the phone, it’s not about him…
    I do regularly drop my reins and ride without them, but still wouldn’t want to hold the phone while riding – in large part due to my tendency to drop my phones.

  4. Bluetooth is awesome for this. Just get one that fits snugly (like the jawbone with the blob earpiece). Or failing that, the old earbud headphones can work just as well (my previous phone didn’t have bluetooth).

    Personally, I was never a huge talk and ride person (once in awhile… but not enough for it to be a habit)… but I was way guilty of doing the iPod and ride thing when I had horses, especially when I was having riding anxiety days. Get the right song going in your ear and it helps immensely without irritating the whole barn (I tend to endlessly loop one track when I find one that works, for some reason that tends to annoy people).

  5. I used to answer my phone while riding but no longer do so – I figure the person can leave a message and if I’m riding my horse, I should be riding my horse and not doing two things at once.

    Also, there’s an award for all of you guys over on my blog – no obligation to pass it on unless you feel like it.

  6. I do not have a personal policy. My horse does. The ride will be going fine and then the phone rings. She hears the phone and knows that I now have both reigns in one hand. She has decided that is her cue to take me for a ride around the arena at a pace of here choosing (usually a gallop) in the direction of her choice (usually towards the gate). Needless to say, I don’t answer the phone. Unless its the spouse calling! (She always wonders why its so windy when I’m at the barn.)

    I might mention at this point that I have only had Mariah for about a year. The previous owner had trained her for dressage and she actually won two blue ribbons. You would think that a blue ribbon dressage horse would be well collected and be able to hold a pace and respond will to the reigns and leg cues. We have come a long way in the past year, she no longer throws me when I get on, but we still have a long way to go. But it is fun. A whole bunch of just plain old fun!

  7. LOL I love your post.

    I carry the cell phone in case of emergency. But, I will answer certain ring tones, when I know something is going on with a particular person and when I know that I am in a position to talk – ie not when I’m trotting down a trail. The strange thing is that I can’t swipe my phone on (an iPhone) with my gloves on. It’s faster to use my nose!

  8. I can talk and ride. I can text and ride. I can even EAT and CANTER. I try not to do cell phone things on the horse, though, because she’s very tall and I’m very clumsy and it would suck to drop the phone then hike a mile to a rock to get back on.

  9. My phone is so old and useless (by smartphone standards) that I am afraid using it in public would cause accidents.

    Some unlucky rider would see it in my hand, do a double take, and run their poor horse into a fence or something.

    Really. It’s so old that when I lost it in a parking lot, some kind soul dropped it off at the customer service desk. The general consensus at work is that they assumed anyone who owned a phone like that probably couldn’t afford to buy a new one.

    So yes, I have it at the barn. I keep it on me if I’m riding alone. But I don’t use it.

    Unless, you know, there are lesson kids around who need to be scared off. It comes in handy then.

  10. I always carry a cell phone on my person for safety. I used to be bad about answering when it rang, but I no longer do that – I figure my horse deserves my full attention (and it’s safer!).

  11. You could always get one of those hands-free thingies… (The only cell phone I have is one of those pay-as-you-go ones, that I only turn on when I’m hauling horses, or driving the hay baler, so I don’t have a problem with talking and riding. Texting…What’s that?)

  12. I usually ask the horse to stop and stand still (a very important skill I try to teach every horse I ride regularly – to stand still and don’t move no matter what until you are asked to move again by me, no matter how long I say to stand there, or how much fiddling with the saddle bags/stirrups/girth I do in the mean time) before I answer the phone. Much the same way I pull over if I’m driving and my phone rings.
    I’m not so good at doing two things at once… which makes my dressage lessons interesting. “You mean I have to pull back my shoulders AND keep the horse on the bit? What? I have to ride a corner AND maintain impulsion? Impossible!”

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