It also pays to have practiced riding bare back. If you have to run, you may not have time to saddle up and will be fortunate enough to grab your rig. It’s like riding at a trot without posting. You will sit full on the back where the saddle would be, back straight up, allowing the body to become one with the horse’s up and down motion. Moving to the canter or full gallop is easier. Your body must be fluid with the horse. Running away, then collecting yourself, and returning on foot to take back gear might work and might save your animal. An undefendable situation requires retreat, even if you have to leave gear behind.
You might think that, if you have a gun, none of those things matter. First, let me say that we have a duty to preserve God’s creation. In most cases that includes all the people you come in contact with. We should not be planning the demise of others, even if attacked; we should make the greatest effort to do no harm, but some people need to be stopped. We often must forgive them for they know not what they do, especially if they don’t know where we live.
Now, as is made clear by Christ, is not the time to turn the other cheek, but most bad outcomes can be avoided, and you don’t want to give up your animals or gear. Most people will probably be unarmed and don’t know how to properly use arms, so being capable of evading and throwing off attackers can often serve you best. If the wrong people take control, then hunting silently will be an essential skill to learn.
If you want to use a rifle or shotgun, you need hands free. Teach your horse how to respond to your legs and head only. Even if you attack another mounted opponent with sword ax or pole, you need hands free control. Remember to make your body big at the right moment to scare your opponent’s mount. (You do this with arms out and chest big, trying to psychically puff yourself up. Animals sense this and shy away.) If he can’t control his mount, he can’t actuate any weapons delivery system against an attacker. Keep your legs soft and steady. Slight signals from your legs and controlled turning of your head to desired directions is enough to let your horse know what needs to be done.
If you are in a situation where you have to take on the role of mounted infantry then you need your choice of 308 battle rifle. I am sold on H&K. I am used to them and know them well, so the HK91 is the choice there. If I had my druthers, I’d have the G3/MP5/shotgun combo. Again, weight and room for gear is always a factor. I advise against full auto in most circumstances, especially on horse. It wastes ammo, using precious storage space, and is usually not effective. The basic idea is using HK91 for long distance, HK 94 for 50 yards out to 10 yards, and a shotgun if you are overrun. Bird shot is great as a deterrent in many situations as well. For 25 feet and in closer, use double aught and then whatever. I don’t go in for bayonet, but I have trained with it. It feels too out of control. If it comes hand to hand or if you can get at them fast enough, carry double knives with the longer blade in your dominant hand.
I am fortunately ambidextrous, so I keep the 91 in the left scabbard, shotgun in the right, and 94 in what is essentially my lap. I shoot rifle left handed, pistol right, and shotgun with both. For archery, I use composite bows. (I have a beautiful Cossack style 85lb bow made by a Japanese Boyer) and can shoot right and left handed. I have to keep my arm up by practicing two or three times a week, shooting 100 to 200 arrows each session, as it’s somewhat of a perishable skill.) I have not tried this weapon combo on a long distance run, but I have no problem with a full day of archery.
One scabbard and a concealed pistol used to be acceptable. In today’s politically correct world, it’s better to do all this on your or a friend’s property, hidden from plain view. Fortunately, I am by a hunting club with a large tract of land that I have full access to. I have direct access from my property to the club, so I can go out for a day or more all geared up. Still, you don’t know how it will go, until you are out there doing it. Do a little bit less than you think you can handle. Don’t flaunt what you’ve got.
Let’s talk more about gear.
If I don’t know where I’m going to end up, I carry:
- a 5-gallon collapsible water bag with spigot, BPA free. It’s not wise to travel with horse without a good idea of where to find water.
- a halter and lead. These are important.
- hobbles that are comfortable to your horse.
- collapsible water bucket.
- a horse blanket. If you are out for a week, your horse’s coat is not too long, and the temperature is not too cold, you might be able to get away without this. However, if the coat doesn’t dry out by nightfall, you will probably need this.
- a half to one pound of grain per day for horse. Oats are a great food source; you can make a mash in the watering bucket. By weight, they go a long way. You have to experiment with your horse to see how he’ll respond to grain for a week, with strong daily exercise for the week. Watch their weight and temperament. Are they alert on day six? Most horse people can figure this out for themselves.
- a sleeping pad. I just use this blue dense foam I used to get at Lowes or Home Depot. It’s only 3/8 or 1/2-inch thick. Wrap that around your choice of sleeping bag or blanket when packing. They sell expensive pads that radiate back your body heat that you might like better.
In addition to this, I have a box of natural fiber saddle pads from India. These are inexpensive, useful, and wear well. I put two under the saddle for long distance and can position one further back if I have to put gear behind the saddle.
Here is more on the bull fighting saddle:
I put Fritz in front of me, pretty much on my lap. The saddle has a raised bar, I guess you would call it. This bar is padded and covered in stitched leather, which works well. He just settles in and finds his position. I have to keep him on normal terrain. Hills are okay to have in the saddle too, but when going up a mountain with steep grades there’s no room for him and the ride is too choppy. I’ve never even thought about a jump with him in the saddle, but I have practiced pistol going over jumps.
For pistol shooting, I just take all weight off the horse’s back with one hand in control of the reigns, allowing his neck full freedom. My finger remains outside the trigger guard until firing and right back out after shot. The weapon always points away from the horse. Start with a paint ball gun. Then graduate to the pistol of your choice, aiming and dry firing. Next, practice with small caliber and work your way up to what you are comfortable with. I wouldn’t recommend it for most. I just wanted to learn to do so in case I get trapped in that situation. Collect the reins when on the ground as soon as can be, gun up and facing away from horse and rider. It’s not the safest thing you could do, but I have never had an incident. This is a try at your own risk activity and probably not for most, so beware, or caveat emptor. If you can’t be responsible for your own actions, don’t act.