It is true that ostriches can or have been ridden. In some countries, people have been known to race each other while riding on the back of ostriches. This practice is quite common in Africa and relatively rare and unusual everywhere else in the world. These birds are ridden much in the same way that a person would ride a horse. Special saddles, reigns, and bits are used. However, these birds are much harder to manage than horses.
Ostrich racing is a huge part of modern South African culture. Within the United States, a tourist attraction in Jacksonville, Florida called ‘The Ostrich Farm’ opened its doors in 1892 and its races soon became one of the most famous early attractions in the history of Florida. Also in the United States is the annual Ostrich Festival. This festival features ostrich races. Racing has also occurred in many other locations including: Virginia City, Nevada, Minnesota, and Kentucky.
One of the first things to know about riding an ostrich is that it is a lot trickier than riding a horse. Where a horse has a nice, sturdy, long mane to grab onto and hold, ostriches necks are flimsy and coil away from you when you reach for it. A horse has four legs, ostriches only have two. This makes riding them more difficult as well.
Some have suggested that riding an ostrich may be easier or safer than riding a horse once you get used to it since it only has two legs rather than four. Only having two legs makes it nearly impossible for the large bird to buck you off of its back like a horse can. This is to the rider’s advantage.