Could i have prevented this? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Could i have prevented this?


Here i go again.. I fell off a horse who bolted when a dog ran out from around the corner.

To be honest, i don't think horses are very smart animals (risking the wrath of many horse lovers here.. maybe some can be trained easily, but generally they are not very smart). A fence and a hedge were separating us and the dog. Yet the horse I was riding was spooked.

I am getting very tired of these falls. They keep happening at the same stable. I know some people here have told me to stop riding at this stable. BUt this seems to happen to me more than anyone else who rides there. WHY? ARGh,.. i have five more sessions left in a package to complete. :(

Also, i was riding the horse on contact and was posting my trots beautifully ( i was told) when it happened. The thing is i wonder if i could have prevented being bolted off in a such a way. I did see the fall coming.
I managed to stay on for two strides before i got bumped off. Is there anything I could have done to prevent falling off in such a way? I landed very hard on my tail-bone; and it hurts now when I walk and even when I sneeze. :(

If i am riding a horse which spooks easily, how do i prevent him from getting spooked and taking off? He doesn't seem to do that even with beginners.. SO what am i doing wrong?


PS: I am taking a break from this stable and riding at a different one in a few days' time. I am taking the advice of some fellow members to switch stable, but need to finish my package first(Which i will deal with when i have regained confidence). I went for a class with the chief instructor at this new stable last week. He was so brilliant that I felt like all my previous classes at different stables were a waste of money! I didn't even know i had got my hand aids all wrong while making circles.. and that i was guilty of "saddle shagging"...
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 09:47 PM
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Yes, you could have prevented this....but probably not at your skill and experience level. As you've been told before, your stable has really ill-prepared you dealing like issues like this. Their fault; not necessarily yours. The main goals for you should be: (well, first, safety!), but then developing a good "seat" and a good "feel" so that you are able to predict the horse's motions and respond/balance accordingly.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 09:48 PM
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Sounds like you're having a rough time of it. What on earth is 'saddle shagging' though? :)
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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how could i have prevented it?
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 10:20 PM
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He gave a pre-warning before he spooked and bolted; that I guarantee, whether you felt it or not. At that moment, you should have lowered your center of gravity and sunk deeply into the saddle, while loosening the tension in your upper body to allow it to move freely with the horse's motion. As he spun and took off, you would have stuck with him, well-balanced, and could have immediately begun the process of reining him in before he got more than a step or two away.

This sort of action-reaction instinct will only come with much riding practice.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 10:21 PM
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The first thing you should try to do is be aware of the situation before the horse. Even if it is a split second head start it is a head start none the less. Next it is just a matter of working the horse through it. If the horse trusts you as the leader and knows that you wouln't lead it into danger it shouldn't bolt. maybe spook in the same way that you may jump in surprise. If you see it coming slow the horse to a walk and get a good seat and press onward. Take precautions but don't avoid the trigger because that will only build the fear and make it worse the next time.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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hi, thanks for your advice. I didn't see the dog coming. But i have fallen off this horse before, and therefore was a bit worried. The last time I fell off him was because he got spooked by something moving in the bushes. The first time something moved, he was startled and i noticed it. The second time we went past the same hedge, i did wonder for a while if he would get spooked. And he did. I think horses kinda pick up your fears.

Therefore when I rode him this time I was wondering if he would get easily frightened again. And he was! Whenever a car drove past, he would slow down/stop. But i was determined not to let him get distracted. I rode him on contact and kept working my legs. But still he got frightened by the dog which I didn't see coming.

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post #8 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 11:38 PM
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The prewarning can be so quick as to be virtually unnoticeable. People with much experience or who know the hrose may see it but a more beginner will not. If a dog suddenly lunges out, then there may be no place where the horse is moving into a worried frame and getting ready to react. he may reacte very , very quickly. So, I don't know how prepared you can be there. But, the thing is once the horse takes that first lunging step, where you fall behind the motion and you really may have no control, a beginner will "stop riding" and never regain unity with the horse's motion.
A more experienced rider might be jolted out of her seat for just one stride, but will quickly get back into position and "keep riding". It's really a mental state.
IF you quit riding mentally, you kind of resign yourself to gravity. If you "keep riding" mentally, you actively seek your seat again and take measures. YOu go with the horse for a few strides, don't freeze up and get your reins and you have a sense that you are NOT going to fall, by God!

I have been in both situations. The last time I fell, my friend said that I just gave up. Thinking back, that is exactly what happended. The horse was bucking and I thought "I cant ride bucks", so I couldn't . I stopped riding.

In any case, some falls just happen. But I wonder if that horse is the best one for you to ride. Some horses are better for riders who like the excitement of unpredictableness. Maybe you should ask for a different lesson horse.
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 11:56 PM
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All that I would say regarding being able to ride out the spook has been covered - particularly by Tinyliny in her explanation of 'giving up'. No truer words have been spoken.

As for horses being stupid, well I think the opposite is true. A spook is a horse's natural reaction. It is what saves a prey animal, if something is going to jump out and attack the horse, it is going to leap away and run, a horse is a flight animal, so its automatic reaction will always be to flee. It is saving it's own skin - I don't think that is very 'stupid'.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #10 of 21 Old 10-31-2011, 12:29 AM
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Here's kind of how I think the horse "thinks". "My eyes are on the sides of my head, so I'm 'dinner' (prey). Her's are in the front which means she sees me as dinner (predator). It's normal for me to worry but she's scared stupid so there must really be something for me to be freaked out about. I better spook and run." And then he suits action to thought and off we go.

Your one sentence about being worried and thinking the horse picked up on it was RIGHT ON, they really do. So, one of the things you can do to help prevent the spook and bolt thing is to concentrate on what a gorgeous day it is, how lovely it is to be riding, and keep a happy mental picture in your head. Don't look at the hedge if it worries you, look the other way as you ride by a few times. (It's perfectly ok to cheat and have a friend make sure nothing is there first.)

The other things are as Tiny said, at your level of experience and expertise you probably won't pick up on the finer body signals and haven't learned to go against your own instinct to tighten up when things go wrong. My coach laughs at me because when a greenie wants to buck or spook, I turn into a ragdoll and just roll with the motion. That comes from a lot of years in the saddle and it's how you learn. Truly, learning to ride is done by 'getting your lumps' because negative reinforcement like pain makes you learn really quickly how to avoid it whenever possible.

Sorry you're having so much trouble, it really does sound like you're ready for a change of scenery.

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