Former smokejumper becomes trick rider

Trick riding, Hippodrome Stand
Trick riding, Hippodrome Stand
Jen performing a Hippodrome Stand on Shadow

On April 21 I had the opportunity to take some photos of trick riding, which is the art of performing stunts while riding a horse. The person featured here, Jen, used to be a smokejumper, parachuting out of perfectly good airplanes in order to fight fires, but now she stays closer to home with her children while her husband does all the smokejumping in the family.

Trick Riding, side shoulder stand
Jen doing a Side Shoulder Stand

I was amazed at the strength, coordination, timing, and agility that is required for this crazy activity. Jen was vaulting from one side of the horse to the other, her feet were bouncing off the ground, she was standing on the saddle, or was upside down on the side of the horse, and seemed to defy gravity at times. All of this while the horse was moving at speed.

I asked her about the strength that is necessary for trick riding and she smiled and said the pull ups she did as a smokejumper helped. She still does pull ups, she works on her core muscles, and is also doing pilates.

Her friend that trick rides with her was only able to watch that day from outside the arena, sitting in a chair with her broken leg propped up on her walker. Yes, her friend broke her leg in three places a few weeks ago while trick riding.

Trick Riding, vaulting
Vaulting
Trick Riding, Side Back Bend
Side Back Bend
Trick Riding, Full Stroud Layout
Full Stroud Layout

Trick Riding

Trick Riding
Jen

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

9 thoughts on “Former smokejumper becomes trick rider”

  1. I think trick riding might be more difficult than smokejumping! Which base was Jen stationed at when she jumped?

    1. There are some good comparisons to make between the smokejumping and trick riding like you have to be able to concentrate on what your doing amidst a lot of commotion and pullups come in handy! I rookied in Missoula 01′ , also jumped out of West Yellowstone.

    1. Thanks….I’m actually not a professional …although the sparkly outfit and pro photographer make me look pretty good…still a rookie here. A lot of the tricks in the photos were a first attempt and definately not held all the way around the arena…lots to work on. But when your way out there it feels like your flying!

  2. These are excellent action pictures. Did Mr. Bob Martinez (Cal Fire/Guard photos) also take these?

  3. Hey Jen, what’s that trick after full stroud layout? I do trick riding as well and I want to learn knew tricks. I just got down Full stoud. but what is that trick and how to you do it?? :)

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