In his childhood on Corsica Napoleon never owned a horse and, unschooled in formal equestrian skills (he probably had only a little more than a year of formal training while in military school), he first learned a casual, practical style of riding on this rocky island where a mule or donkey was as practical as a horse. Used to using a primitive bridle without an iron bit, Napoleon held his reins loose, controlling the animal by shifts in his body weight. He sat slouched forward on his horse; his toes lower than his heels in the stirrups. Napoleon had a poor “seat,” he slid forward and back and from side to side as he rode, wearing holes in his breeches. In spite of this, he was an indefatigable rider- slapdash and reckless. He rode for pleasure as well as necessity. He took many spills from horses, which were covered up (Napoleon was knocked unconscious and nearly killed when he fell from an unfamiliar horse, hitting a tree, the week prior to the Brumaire coup).