What is Ostrich racing? It’s not a new sport. Many people consider it an unusual and it can easily be considered as one of the weird sports to play. It is not much different from horse racing. The rules are pretty much the same as well, but still, it is considered unethical or illegal in many cultural contexts.
There are various reasons for this opinion. But before moving on, let’s first understand the sport.
Firstly, Some Background About Ostrich Riding Sport
Ostrich is a flightless bird with a weight of around 250 to 300 pounds and the brain size of a walnut. People have used ostriches for adventurous sports like racing since the late 90s. It is quite prevalent in the US and South Africa, where it is practiced in controlled environments for purely entertainment purposes.
Originating from South Africa, this weird sport has expanded worldwide and has attracted many adventure enthusiasts, animal lovers and tourists towards this sport. Consequently, they also get to know about this exotic bird as well.
Can You Ride an Ostrich?
Definitely, you can ride an ostrich with some rules and regulations. But if you are an amateur, you would face challenges while handling the ostrich because it is nothing like riding a horse or any other animal. You would have to cover your legs with its wings rather than grabbing its neck.
Remember that they are not trained to carry some human on their backs. And if they get irritated, they will surely throw you off.
Why People Love Ostrich Racing Sport?
The key reason is fun. The unpredictable nature of ostrich behavior adds to the entertainment. Secondly, the fast-speed ostriches give both participants and spectators an adrenaline rush. Humans want to ride on the backs of the ostriches, and ostriches want to fall them off from their backs.
It is a tradition and culture to ride ostriches in many cultures. Plus, it attracts thousands of tourists and travelers all year.
Is It Fine To Ride an Ostrich?
Here, morals and ethics come into play. Since these birds do not have strong legs and backbones to carry adult human weight and are not trained, ostrich riding is not considered ethical in many parts of the world. In other words, it can hurt both the rider and the bird. Therefore, not many cultures support ostrich racing.
Ostriches can be extremely violent and aggressive if they feel threatened or pressured. So, it is a significant risk to handle them. And it requires professional supervision.
There are potential harms that can affect both the rider and the bird like the legs getting harmed as they are weak, they becoming wild and attacking the rider, or the rider getting thrown off.
So, The Verdict Is:
It’s totally up to you whether you want to ride an ostrich. Beyond legality issues, there are many ethical concerns as well in riding the world’s fastest birds. They are not built to carry weights and can become turbulent for humans. They are short-tempered and aggressive. Furthermore, ostriches are recognized for their speed and flexibility, which makes them potentially harmful to both the rider and themselves when riding.
The ostrich races are conducted in controlled and heavily monitored farms. They are comparatively safer, but even the instructors can not guarantee that you will not get any injury during ostrich racing.
Ostriches might not be weird-looking animals, but ostrich riding is a pretty weird sport for many people and cultures. Many find it insanely hilarious and funny as well.
Top Questions People Are Asking About Ostrich Races
Can you ride an ostrich?
In terms of possibility, yes, you can ride an ostrich in a controlled environment. But, ethically, not many people and animal rights activists support ostrich riding. The main reasons are:
- Ostriches can not be fully trained to be ridden.
- They can not carry heavy weights on their backs
- They can become violent under stress.
- They do not fully submit to humans to control them.
How fast can an ostrich run?
Ostriches are the fastest-running birds in the world. They can run up to 30-37 mph. They have long legs with excellent shock absorption capabilities that help them bounce while running.
How do you play ostrich race?
It is an unusual sport where jockeys ride on the back of ostriches. In old times, people also used reins and wagons with ostriches, just like horses. But ostriches cannot be as easy to handle as horses.
Like a typical horse running, jockeys inspect the bird before riding them. Most of the time, they only have helmets as protective gear. Moreover, ostriches can easily throw off the rider (sometimes even at the start of the race).
Who is faster, the ostrich or the horse?
Horses can run up to 30-40 mph for extended distances, and ostriches can reach up to 45 mph or more if they have stronger stamina and energy. To put it simply, ostriches have longer running legs than horses.
Can an ostrich fly?
No, ostriches cannot fly. Their ancestors could fly, but after the extinction of dinosaurs, they started living on land. Their legs became strong enough to run fast during a slow evolutionary process, but their wings became flightless. They are, in fact, the fastest-running bird in the world. Another potential reason is the heavyweight body that their wings can not carry.
Featured image credit: Flickr