Fear of Falling - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-10-2008, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Post Fear of Falling

I have a terrible fear of falling. What should I do to help over come this fear? I have been riding since I have been young and have not fallen. My dad, when he was younger, fell off and was drug about 100 feet. His foot got stuck in the stirrup. I am currently learning english riding to help with my balance and I am at a point in life that I just want to learn almost everything. So now I don't have the horn or high back cantle to grab onto if my two year old bucks or rears. (He throws temper tantrums sometimes :roll:.) I found a strap (I call it my "OH S*** GRIP) that I can get to attatch to my english saddle, but I am new to this English stuff and don't know if you would really grab it! I spoke with my trainer and asked if I should just fall off randomly, on purpose, but she said "No, you are probably going to fall anyway." Gee, thanks... I know I would get back on if I were to fall off unless I broke a leg or arm (lol). I hear all these horror stories! Please help

Vegas- 2 year old gelding-Breeding Stock Paint
"A pony is a childhood dream, a horse is an adulthood treasure." ~ Rebecca Carrol
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-10-2008, 09:53 AM
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Hi there.

I think that falling off is something we have to admit happens in horse riding! It is after all, one of the most dangerous sports you can do. HOWEVER - though I shan't quote stats at you - the chance of it being serious is small; most end up with a bruised body and a bruised ego! (More the latter).

As for some tips, these may help - though retaining confidence tends to be something quite personal, with everyone's tastes differing

1. RELAX! A horse will pick up on your tension, and will be more likely to play up. If you're worried about falling, the horse will sense all's not ok.
2. Make sure you always have company when riding. They'll be there should anything go wrong, and help you laugh about it afterwards (plus horse retrieval is a useful service to have)
3. A two yr old is quite a handful if you've lost your nerve/confidence slightly. If you want to continue riding him/her, then try to find an area with a soft surface, until you're more at ease.
4. (Probably more reccommended than 3) Until you feel completely assured, ride a quieter horse. This'll help build some confidence where you can practice riding without the fear being ever-present. Quite often, most people find that just facing fears frequently, desensitises them to the fear.
5. Practice emergency dismounts. If you are in a situation where you do fall... best know how to do it 'as well as you can'!
6. If you do fall then get straight back on again! The oldest saying in the book...

Wish you all the best!
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-10-2008, 06:11 PM
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you're not going to want to hear this, but I used to tell all of my students "it takes falling off 7 times to be a horseman..."

I ended up with a lot of happy campers when they would fall off...they'd come up and say "only five more to go!!!"

the best advice I can give you is to not get stiff if and when you do fall - protect your head if you're not wearing a helmet - don't try to land on your feet or any other fancy tricks

Justin (qh/tb)
Boo (asb)
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-10-2008, 08:55 PM
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Yup -- "Seven falls makes a horseman" I grew up with that credo too!

Falling off seems far worse than when it actually happens. I have a fear of falling too so I just try to make sure I don't ride above my skill level. But, I'm old and chicken. That may not be a solution for you. LOL:

Falling off will happen so try not to stress over it. If you do, you will not sit as well. And, like Kickshaw said, don't be stiff.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-10-2008, 10:15 PM
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The first fall you have will be the worst...not as in you'll get hurt the most, but it will frighten you more.
The first time I fell off, I landed on my chin...no biggy...just kinda did the Jack Sparrow walk for a while (yeah everyone was laughing). And I was afraid to ride Sonny then. I would w/t only....no canter because he would trip (mainly because I was off balance).
It took me 4 months to overcome that fear.

The second time I fell off as an attempt to do an emergency dismount that did not go so well. I landed on my knee, but other than having a bruise, nothing else happened (I was practicing emergency dismounts lol)

The third time, I have no idea what Sonny did, but I landed on my side. Nothing hurt or damanged.

The fourth time I asked Sonny for an extremely fast canter than an extremely fast stop. Well.........I assumned he wouldn't stop that quick. Well................he did. I flew OVER his neck did a full somersault and landed on my butt infront of him.

The 2-4 time, I was fine...no confidence lost or anything. There are easy release stirrups you can get for English so if you fall you won't get dragged, and keeping the stirrups on the balls of your feet will also help prevent that.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-11-2008, 04:03 AM
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I've heard that you have to fall 100 times before you're a horseman.

I see that the only way get rid of that fear is ride, ride and ride more. I think the first step is create a some kind of sense of security. If it's possible, try to lease out some very serene horse or take some lessons with them so you can build a bigger trust and the sense of security. If it makes you feel better take somebody to lead the horse to begin.

With english saddle, you can grip the front arch if you feel insecure.

"On hyviä vuosia, kauniita muistoja, mutta kuitenkaan, en saata unohtaa,
Että koskaan en ole yksin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Vaikka myrsky hetkeksi tyyntyykin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Ja pian taas uusin hönkäyksin, varjo seuraa onneain.
Hei tuu mun luo, pieneksi hetkeksi. Puhutaan, varjoni, valkoiseksi enkeliksi."

Pelle Miljoona - Varjo seuraa onneain

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-11-2008, 01:40 PM
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You are not alone! My fear of falling got worse when I turned 50. My fear is over what I call the "what ifs.....". For instance, if I break my leg who is going to take care of the horses and paying barn customers, play taxi to the kids, cook, etc., etc., etc.

The only way I can really get over it is to just address the fact that I have the fear and do I want to let it interfere with my passion. Of course not, but it does require that I have this little internal conversation with myself on a daily basis. I am also cautious in what I do. The days of riding any horse are long past. Luckily, I don't have any recent memories of falling to deal with (a few close calls). However, it is first and foremost in my mind most of the time when I am trailriding.

I don't know who wrote it but have a sign in the barn that reads "The art of riding is keeping a horse between you and the ground". My philosophy exactly. There have been some articles written over the past few years about the phenom of "Fear". I will see what I can find.

Good luck and I hope your internal conversation goes well. I tried doing some work in an English saddle to help me gain a better balance and more self confidence. For me I don't think it helped much and I was really happy to go back to my familiar Tex Tan!
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-11-2008, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kickshaw View Post
"it takes falling off 7 times to be a horseman..."
Well that's nice to hear. I'm almost a horseman twice over. 0.0

Falling is just one of those things that happens, I think. You can't let it control your riding, though, because then you'll get a stiff seat, stiff hands, stiff everything, and the horse will feel it. It's a lot easier said than done, I know. Whenever I get even a little freaked out, I stiffen up completely. I've fallen off a lot, sometimes his fault, sometimes mine.

Just relax. Don't even think about it. If you're confident, he will be, too.
If you fall, ALWAYS get back on. I got dragged against the wall on a horse I was riding for my trainer, and he made me get back on and jump him again. It's a confidence booster, I think.
Keep your head. If he starts to take off, buck, whatever, push your heels down, keep your legs where they should be, and stay calm, above all else. Again, easier said than done.
And lastly, don't anticipate it. Just ride. Falling off is a part of it, and (sorry to say it) but it's going to happen to everyone sooner or later.


Twende Haraka
"Yes. Like 'Wendy'...With a T."
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-12-2008, 10:03 AM
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I used to fall of once a week so I am the superduperest horsemen! teehee...

I lost my fear of falling off for years I geuss becuase I did it so much... then I got to where you can count the years between falls, although... I came off twice this year ...

Anway, as you get older, the fear comes back...

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-12-2008, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
I used to fall of once a week so I am the superduperest horsemen! teehee...

I lost my fear of falling off for years I geuss becuase I did it so much... then I got to where you can count the years between falls, although... I came off twice this year ...

Anway, as you get older, the fear comes back...
Took the words right out of my mouth! I also came off twice this year and I am finding it hard to get back on, said horse... I have no problem getting on my other horse, but then she has NO, buck!!!!
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