Riding the Ostrich

Kim McKinney
Oct 18 · 3 min read

Or Doing Things That Scare Me

Photo by Jon Hunter on Unsplash

We were in South Africa. Our agenda for the day was to go to an ostrich farm. I heard they rode ostriches there. I’d never ridden an ostrich before. I didn’t know anyone who had ridden an ostrich. It appealed to me. So I was determined I would do it.

I seem to be reversing the trend. This is not something I would have done at 20. Now I like doing things that scare me. Certain friends and family members always wonder what I will try next. Because there always is a next.

I was on a big bus of people and found out on the way over that only a few people would be able to ride. Three, as a matter of fact. There were a lot of people on the bus who were interested. I started to get discouraged.

The owner of the ranch greeted us when we got off the bus and was putting Ostrich Ranch stickers on everyone. When he greeted me he said “Oh, I have something special for you.” I got a white sticker with the number “1" on it.

I was a bit disappointed. The other stickers were prettier. And yes, I may be an adult woman but I think about these things. I’m only slightly embarrassed that I do.

After a short tour they said it was time to show us how to ride an ostrich. One other woman had been given a sticker like mine. We found out we were the chosen ones. He asked who else wanted to do it then, and many of the rest of the folks raised their hands. Another lady was chosen.

He pointed to me. Evidently the number one meant I had to go first. I didn’t want to go first. They did no ostrich riding demo….showed no film. Nothing. I wasn’t prepared. OK….I was scared.

He didn’t care. He just smiled and insisted I go first. Even though one of the other ladies said she would. I obviously was voted “person we most want to humiliate in front of everyone.”

They helped me onto the back of this ostrich and told me to hold on underneath the wings. Let’s just say that my new ostrich friend wasn’t a big fan of this riding thing. I felt a bit sorry for him. Then a bit sorry for me. He wasn’t seeming to warm up to me.

They let him go. One of the workers ran after us and attempted to make sure I didn’t kill myself. Or maybe that I didn’t kill the ostrich.

I screamed the whole time. Loudly, I understand. Truly I think screaming enhances certain types of experiences… roller coasters, haunted houses, ostrich rides. It felt like the thing to do.

It was over too quickly. I loved every minute of that out of control feeling. The other riders that came after me were much quieter and less wild. They got to watch my obvious lack of style and do it with more dignity.

But I loved it. I even loved going first. I had the added adrenaline rush of having no clue of what was about to happen. I could have done it with more finesse had I known what was to come. But sometimes you find that the best preparation for a good outcome is knowing absolutely nothing. Then you keep going, whatever life throws at you.

Afterwards they served lunch. Ostrich steaks. I felt like it was wrong. What if it had been “my ostrich”?

This story is published in Writers on the Run. If you’re interested in submitting your travel stories please visit our submission guidelines.

Writers On The Run

For those who love to travel, live for travel, and always have a story to tell.

Kim McKinney

Written by

I write mostly essays about life and people and the issues that interest me. I love a good story! kimberleymckinney.com is where my blog is found.

Writers On The Run

For those who love to travel, live for travel, and always have a story to tell.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade