October 15, 2015

Life on the Farm: The Pig Rider

My husband loves to tell people that he rode ponies as a kid,  but that once he got on a motorbike around age 15, he never rode a horse again until only recently. When my son Zach grows up I suspect he’ll tell a similar tale, but in his case it will be pigs that lured him away from horses. When Zach was 7, his uncle Charlie got two rather large KuneKune pigs. Knowing that Zach had a bad fall off his pony the year before and had shied away from horse riding since, Charlie had it in his head that Zach would find it more fun to ride the pigs! I thought it was a silly idea and didn’t give it much thought until one afternoon when Charlie turned up in our garden.He was chasing the pigs who had escaped from captivity and come to our orchard to see what they could scavenge. He called Zach out of the house and told him this was his chance to have a go. That day, our family pig jockey was born.

Zachy pig riding with Uncle Charlie

Zach getting the hang of pig riding, age 7

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Just like learning to ride a bike, Zach required a spotter the first few times.

Zach is now 12 and he has been riding the pigs ever since that day five years ago. Coco has her horses and Zach has his pigs. When guests come to visit, it’s the perfect party trick – “let’s go for a walk and watch Zach ride the pigs.” We all always end up crying with laughter.


There are two giant KuneKune pigs. One takes off the minute Zach mounts her, and the other just sits there and then runs away when you least expect it.


Photo by Todd Selby. Boy we laughed when he was shooting this!

About two years ago, the farm got three new pigs and we were intending to breed them. The subject of the two older ones came up and it was suggested they go to market to be made into sausages. Zach campaigned hard for those two pigs – tears and acquired family allies and all – and won his battle. They now belong to Zach and will live out their days in a field near our house. Ride on, Zach!

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Zach caught off guard by the pig’s sudden movement. This happens all the time.


Zach, age 12, in his element.



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2 years 10 months ago

I grew up on a farm, and my sisters and I used to do the same thing with our pig Duncan. We would even do it in the kitchen when our parents weren’t around and see who could stay on the longest, while Duncan whirled and squealed!

Susan, WA state
Susan, WA state
3 years 11 hours ago

What a riot! Of course you’ve heard of “mutton busting”, this is “swine busting” at its best. What a lucky boy.

3 years 13 hours ago

I had a laugh too, thanks for sharing!

Tina, NYC
Tina, NYC
3 years 1 day ago

I am laughing so hard I cannot breathe. Just marvelous! I had a rough day and just thank you for sharing. You are such a fun mom and what fab & talented kids you have too! 😉