‘The Pioneer Woman’ Ree Drummond Wanted to Give Up Ranch Life After a Terrifying Horse Ride with Ladd Drummond

The Pioneer Woman star Ree Drummond and her husband, Ladd Drummond, had many adventures on his ranch during their dating years. One of their adventures involved riding a horse and it almost ended in disaster. The Food Network star was terrified and almost gave up ranch life for good after the incident.

Ladd Drummond invited Ree Drummond to help with burning on the ranch

Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

In her book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, Ree says Ladd invited her to go along with him for burning on the ranch. She says burning is usually done in the spring when new grass begins to grow. The process eliminates old, dead grass from the winter months so there can be room for new grass to come through. Burning also helps kill weeds. She thought it might be fun to help.

“I’d seen Marlboro Man do it from afar but had never been up close and personal with the flames,” wrote Ree. “Maybe he needs me to drive the Jeep! I thought. Or, better yet, man the torch! This could be really fun.”

Ree wasn’t happy when she found out she had to ride a horse

Ree figured she would just ride in the Jeep and assist Ladd. However, she was dismayed when he told her she would have to ride a horse to help him with burning. Ree says she’s not graceful on a horse, so she was hesitant to let him see her ride. She wasn’t comfortable riding horses and briefly considered lying and saying she was ill so she could be excused.

“When it came to horses, the problem wasn’t that I was afraid—not at all,” wrote Drummond. “My problem with horses had to do with the fact that any time the horse broke into a trot, my bottom wouldn’t stay in the saddle. No matter what level of instruction Marlboro Man gave me, no matter how many pointers, a horse trot for me meant a repeated and violent ‘Slap! Slap! Slap!’ on the seat of my saddle.”

The terrifying horse ride that made Ree Drummond reconsider ranch life

Ree says she threatened to give up ranch life after a frightening experience on one of Ladd’s horses. At one point, she thought she was going to be thrown off the horse and badly injured.

“Not two minutes into our ride, my horse slightly faltered after stepping in a shallow hole,” wrote Ree. “Having no experience with this kind of thing, I reacted, shrieking loudly and pulling wildly on my reins, simultaneously stiffening my body further. The combination didn’t suit my horse, who decided, understandably, that he pretty much didn’t want me on his back anymore.”

Ree says she became afraid and tried to hold on as tightly as she could. “He began to buck, and my life flashed before my eyes—for the first time, I was deathly afraid of horses,” she continued. “I held on for dear life as the huge creature underneath me bounced and reared, but my body caught air, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d go flying.”

Fortunately, The Pioneer Woman wasn’t seriously injured. She says Ladd came over to comfort her after she got off the horse and began crying. She told him she didn’t want to live on a ranch for the rest of her life. After she regained her composure, she decided to try and ride the horse again. Ree says she knew she had to face her fear if she was going to be Ladd’s wife.

“As Marlboro Man and I rode back toward the thicket of trees, I suddenly understood: if I was going to marry this man, if I was going to live on this isolated ranch, if I was going to survive without cappuccino and takeout food… I sure wasn’t going to let this horse beat me,” wrote Ree. “I’d have to toughen up and face things.”

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