First Fall - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Manitoba
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First Fall

Not really a question thread. More to commiserate about this rite of passage and to tell people who won't freak-out.

Yesterday at my 10th lesson got the not-so-awesome experience of hitting the sand the first time. Had just started some work on cantering the prior lesson and instructor wanted to try it on the lunge line. Different horse than I usually ride. She was fine for most things, but transitions weren't going well. Hard enough to get her into a trot.

Then on the lunge, I'm bouncing around attempting to do sitting trot while myself and the instructor are trying to urge her to canter. Thing is with the lunge, the circle is so small and there's pressure on her head from the lunge line - it just makes me feel unbalanced generally. I know the anticipation is making me tense up. Got a little bit of good cantering in, then switched sides. Then she still wouldn't transition (probably because she sensed my insecurity) and started tossing her head. That was it for me - lost my inside stirrup, lost my balance completely, made sure to get my other leg free, push away from her and not land on my arms.

Big thud. A few dazed very painful moments. Hit my head a bit, but not major. Really don't know how anyone rides without a helmet. Mostly took it all on the side of my pelvis/lower back.

I did take karate for many years so I'm reasonably used to falling and random sudden injury, but in karate the falling was more choreographed and definitely not from 5 feet up.

Eventually got back up, back on the horse, instructor lead us a around for a few minutes and called it a day.

When I got home it just hurt so much to walk and I've never had a similar injury before so I needed reassurance that that level of pain was normal for that type of injury and my pelvis wasn't cracked. 12 hours in the emergency room later, I got my first set of crutches, and my reassurance. The crutches are supposed to be rentals but I think I will buy them. I doubt this will be the last time I'll need them.

Will probably take a couple weeks off. Not sure how long it will take for the pain to subside enough and my instructor's on vacation soon anyhow.

On the upside, I work a desk job, partially from home and don't have any stairs at home or work.

I've been thinking about my future lessons and here's my plan:
- much more sitting trot work (more interested in dressage than jumping, so that's always useful)
- when my horse occasionally picks up a canter instead of trot, to just go with it, instead of pulling him back down. I think it's the anticipation that's really messing with me. I'm expecting to be unbalanced and am nervous when asking for a canter, which can only make things worse
- once I'm ready for cantering again, less lunging; try small amounts of free cantering instead. I don't know if it's because the circle's bigger or it's a control thing, but I feel less secure on the lunge than just letting my horse canter freely.
- back to regular horse. It's funny, often I'm kind of annoyed with big gelding since he's so stubborn and insists on visiting the instructor, other horses and door instead of always listening to me. But now that I've had another horse, and see her downsides, and fell off of her, I just want MY horse back.

Anyhow, know this is super long. Just wanted to write it all down somewhere. If you care to comment about your first fall or learning to canter or getting over first fall or canter anxiety, please do so.
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:41 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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I don't remember my first fall, but I was helping a little girl in the area learn to ride. She was on the little shetland pony and fell off for the first time. She was so excited that when her mom came to pick her up she told her mom all about the fall and she insisted they get a cake to celebrate the event.
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Manitoba
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Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton View Post
I don't remember my first fall, but I was helping a little girl in the area learn to ride. She was on the little shetland pony and fell off for the first time. She was so excited that when her mom came to pick her up she told her mom all about the fall and she insisted they get a cake to celebrate the event.
Nice! I'll have to tell my husband that I need a cake, too.
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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Ouch! I remember my first fall..into snow thankfully. That you got back on is awesome. Right now I am having difficulties transitioning my gelding to the lope/canter, and I'm nervous to force it because he bucks...I'm pretty sure it's saddle fit, so I just bought a new saddle better suited to him..So I will be pushing it soon. So hopefully I'm not posting a "hit the sand" thread any time soon.
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post #5 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I had my first fall this summer. It was the first time I had ridden bareback. My instructor was having me do it all, w/t/c. Everything was going fantastic, until her butt suddenly swung out to the side while we were cantering, and I just flopped off. I landed on my back (In the end my neck was the only thing sore, it was horrible, I couldn't turn my neck at all). I totally thought I was going to get trampled because I landed right underneath the horse, thankfully she stopped! I hopped up right away, and my instructor gave me a leg up, that's when things started to become fuzzy, I started feeling really hot and out of breath, and I started to have trouble hearing. I told my instructor I needed a drink of water (I never ask for things, so when I do, you know something is wrong!) She told me to ride over to a barrel so that she could hop on behind me. Apparently I said I thought I was going to pass out. I can't remember saying that, I must have really been out of it! By the time she got me on the ground, I couldn't see a thing and I could barely hear. Thankfully she knew what to do, and I didn't pass out! After that incident we are thinking I have low (or is it high? Haha) blood pressure as I get dizzy a lot. My instructor felt bad about the whole incident, and tried to give us our money back, we wouldn't take it, I felt like it was my rite of passage too :)
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I was 8 yrs old with my first fall, horse stepped on a wasp nest and we started getting stung and she became a wild thing ( not normal. She was normally a very solid horse). I came off after about the 3rd buck landed on my elbow and broke my arm. No one believed it was broke :(

I am sure I had a few more since then. The last one was on a 16.2hh ottb who was being stubborn and wanting to go HIS way, and had a minor fit, and when he came down landed in a gopher hole and that extra bit threw me off. LONG way down lol. Had to go remount on a barrel and then he was good as gold.
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post #7 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
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I haven't actually had a blatant "fall" and I've been riding off and on (mostly on) since the 3rd grade (I'm a freshman in college). I feel pretty sheepish about all that. Anyway, I did technically fall off while I was riding bareback doing around the world while my hrose was walking. Slipped and fell to my feet. The second one was more of an emergency dismount gone bad where I got up on my horse with no saddle or bridle or halter even, and he was gonna try to take off, so I split and didn't have the balance and scraped up my knees. Both pretty dumb, huh?

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post #8 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Riga, Latvia
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My first fall was very soft and fun, actually. I was cantering with a little, nice mare, who was very eager to follow her rider's focus. I was supposed to canter in a cirle with the right lead, which I was learning to, so I yelled to my instructor from time to time, was it the rigth lead. It looked a bit like this -

Me /looking at the instructor/- Hey, is it the right lead?
Instructor - No, it isn't, keep asking her to do a change.
M - Is it now?
I - It isn't..oh wait, she changed it isn't again...WATCH OUT!!!
M - /the horse suddenly stops and spins a bit, I go over her neck and land in the sand on my bum, the horse looking at me in a surprise - hey, where did you go?!/

It turns out that, while I was watching at my instructor and thinking so hard about the right lead, the mare had started following my focus, cantered out of the circle and to my instructor, who was standing by a fence, and, naturally, stopped at the fence, so I came off...

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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post #9 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wyoming
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I've fallen twice. First time I wanted the horse to go right and the horse wanted to go left. We both got our way. lol

Second time I was doing incredibly tight little circles on my mustang and she's fast. Even though my cinch was on tight as I could get it with the pressure going on the saddle turned. I threw myself off to avoid getting trampled. Still got a foot stepped on in the debacle. It's been a month and a half and it is still a bit tender.
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-30-2011, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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My first fall was a bit unnerving for me, as I was/am a bit of a nervous rider anyway (not afraid of the horse - it's heights that get me). DH and I were at a playday, and were warming up our horses in the arena - along with about 50 - 75 other contestants.

There were two older teenage boys who were really running amok - whooping and hollering and running there horses all over everywhere. Definitely not the friendly, gentle warmups that DH and our normal crowd were used to. The two boys decided to start charging through the crowds of horses, just to show off. Most of the other horses shied out of their way, but my mare was NOT the yielding type - she was very much the alpha mare (it was funny how other horses tended to recognize that in her). When the "cowboys" charged our way, DH's horse shied and jumped out of the way. My mare held her course, and one of the riders plowed right into me. (Why didn't I get out of the way, you ask? Well, it never dawned on me that they were actually stupid enough to run right into another horse - nor did I know which way to turn to get out of their way).

Needless to say, I failed miserably at staying in the saddle. My mare was trotting on like nothing happened (other than being very proud of herself for managing to land a very solid kick in the ribs of the offending horse - too bad she missed the rider!). As my mare was trotting on, I was slowly slipping down her side - totally unable to pull myself back up in the saddle. I dropped to the ground - landing on the back of my head, and doing a very respectable somersault, rolling up to my feet. My mare turned around and came trotting back, thoroughly confused. I was surprised that she came back, and so was DH - Sugar might have been my heart horse, but I am/was under no illusions that she was as fond of me as I was of her.

I wasn't a bit hurt - just embarrased that not only did I fall off in front of so many people, but that my horse had kicked the snot out of another horse. She'd never done that before (while under saddle or in hand - in the pasture is another matter altogether). Fortunately, no one held it against her.

The "cowboys" were excused from the arena...permanently. DH and I went on to have a wonderful time at the playday - till his horse threw him in a rather spectacular "showdeo" and we wound up taking him to the hospital. That was definitely not DH's first fall, nor was it his last fall. I think someone forgot to explain to him that riding the horse meant the horse was supposed to stay between you and the ground?
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