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How to Ride a Horse Bareback

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People have been riding horses for over 4500 years, and from the start, they’ve been doing it sans saddle. But riding bareback isn’t easy. If you really want to become more interesting, though, here’s how to ditch the saddle without eating dirt.

1) Saddle Up

You’ve got to use it to lose it. Ditching the saddle right away is a recipe for disaster—it’s better to slowly wean yourself off it. So lose the crutches one by one. Start by taking your feet out of the stirrups. Afterwards, stop relying on the pommel and then the cantle (the slopes of the saddle seat). With practice, your balance will improve.

2) Know Thine Horse

Get familiar with your horse’s quirks. It’s important to know how it behaves, since mounting without a saddle may confuse it. Also, double-check the horse’s withers, the ridge between the shoulder blades. A horse with low or narrow withers may make you slide around, whereas high withers may be uncomfortable for your nether region.

3) Mount It

Since there are no stirrups to help you up, you may need a friend to give you a boost. If you’re alone, a stepladder or mounting block is handy. Another method is to stand at the horse’s side—the barrel—and hoist your torso onto its back. Swing one leg around as if you’re climbing a fence.

4) Visit Your Chiropractor

Sit a smidge higher than usual, resting your legs between the shoulders and barrel. Sit up straight and pretend your feet are still in stirrups, angling your heels below your toes.

5) Go with the Flow

Start with an easy walk. You’ll be able to feel the horse’s muscles rippling beneath your legs. With each step, your center of balance will shift. Stay relaxed and pretend your bottom is loaded with springs. Don’t lean back or hunch forward. That may cause your legs—and center of balance—to shift.

6) Give Yourself a Hand

It’s easy to clench your legs if you lose balance. But your horse may think this is a cue to speed up, which will make falling off inevitable. If that happens, it’s okay to gently grab onto the mane. When you’ve mastered walking, gradually speed up. You’ll now arrive as the toughest hombre at any pony ride!
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Riding a horse bareback will definitely make you more interesting, but it’s also pretty terrifying and will require some practice. Looking for an easier way to give yourself a little swagger? Crack into a Dos Equis.

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How to Shave With a Straight Razor
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Our Be More Interesting series will teach you new skills to wow your friends. Today, Max Silvestri learns to shave with a straight razor. 

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How to Cross a River Without a Bridge
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Need to cross a roaring river? It’s always best to find a bridge, but if you absolutely must make it to the other side on your own, a few easy steps can keep you high and relatively dry.

1. Scout Around

Invest a little time in finding the best place to make your crossing. Avoid bends in the river, where water whips around the fastest. Once you find a suitable spot, walk downstream a few hundred feet to make sure there aren’t any hazards. It’s always good to know about the pesky 30-foot waterfall around the bend.

2. Don’t Be Narrow-Minded

They look tempting, but narrow crossings can be the most dangerous—they’re often the deepest part of the river. Look for the widest section instead. Keep an eye out for mild ripples—which are safe to cross—and avoid whitecaps, which can be treacherously slippery.

3. Ditch Your Duds

If the water will reach your knees, strip down to your skivvies - your pride isn’t worth getting hypothermia from wet clothes. Even if the river is shallow, remove your socks and put on a second pair of shoes if you have them. If you’re backpacking, unbuckle your front straps so you can quickly slip out of your pack if you fall.

4. Shuffle Up

Face upstream, lean into the current, and move across the river with shuffling sidesteps. You’re less likely to fall while sidestepping since you don’t lift your feet as high. If you’re with a group, link arms. The technique creates more contact points with the streambed and gives everyone a more solid footing.

5. Become a Bump on a Log

If the rapids are too fast, shuffling across may be a bad idea. Look for a log that spans the whole river instead. But don’t walk on it! Wet wood can be dangerously slippery. Instead, straddle the log and scoot along until you reach the other side.

6. Float Away

In situations where the river is deep but the current isn’t very swift, a football or soccer ball can be a handy improvised flotation device. Tether it to your wrist and grab on when you get tired of swimming. Or hug it with one arm as you sidestroke for extra buoyancy.
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Once you make it to the opposite shore, dry off and toast your successful crossing with a round of Dos Equis.

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