Riding an Ostrich: A Wild Experience Worth Remembering!

Just because it’s not on your mood board doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. That’s a life lesson I’m reminded of occasionally, but never more so than the time with the ostrich.

A few years ago I was hired to ride an ostrich for a print ad. I was old enough to know better but too proud to say no. There was a day or two of prepping at the ranch with the ostrich trainers to get us more comfortable and accustomed to balancing our weight on the giant birds, but I was already committed to another job those days. At least the other two riders were able to practice.

julie getting ready to ride the ostrich

I arrived on the day of the shoot and was immediately sent to the wardrobe trailer to be dressed. As a jockey. My silks were black and cream, so I appreciated the colors, if not the overall effect. At this point, I was nervous. As I opened the door to exit the motorhome, I looked out to the open arena and saw one of the gorgeous (much younger) trainers riding one. As my mind was processing, “She’s doing a great job,” she completely somersaulted forward over the bird’s neck and onto the unforgiving ground. That’s not for me. At this point, I questioned all the decisions that led me here, but I continued down the three steps and out toward the ostriches and cameras.

julie riding an ostrich

When it was my turn, the trainers brought me over to an extremely leggy fellow and helped me get onto his back, where there was a leather handle amongst the feathers, similar to what a bull rider holds onto, and then off we went. There was not a lot of control over the situation, but it was actually a pretty good time for a couple of hours!

ostrich print ad