I'm 66 w two bad falls, one mediocre fall - feeling down - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm 66 w two bad falls, one mediocre fall - feeling down

Bad Fall Number One: I had a crazy accident on Easter Sunday where I ran myself into a door jamb, slammed my head and twisted my back was out of commission for a couple of weeks. Nothing to do with riding, but it weakened me I think.

I'm a beginner rider, been riding regularly for about two years, and regularly isn't every day but once or twice a week. I'm a 66 year old woman and I love riding.

I came back a couple of weeks later and I noticed my energy level isn't the same as before. I understand muscles aren't easy to heal. Plus I'm doing a lot of hard physical labor on our property (lifting very heavy rocks and bags of this and that). Overall, though, I felt good.

Small, Not So Bad fall Number Two about two weeks ago: We did a trail ride and I stupidly gave my horse too much rein because his footing wasn't the best. I thought I'd let him find his balance without interfering. We came to the bottom of a hill and there was about 30 feet between me and the horses in front. When they went up the hill at a trot, my horse took off like a bat out of hell and headed straight for a dead tree, which thankfully wasn't very big. I hit it, it broke my fall and I was bruised but got back on and finished the ride.

Yesterday was Bad Fall Number Three: Decided to take a dressage course. Lots of posting. I'm a western rider but I thought dressage would strengthen my seat overall. So I'm posting and it's hard. First time riding this horse: warm blood thoroughbred, a huge horse about 16.5 hands high. Very forward. I'm okay with the forward but it's tiring. So that and the posting and I'm getting pooped.

We're asked to do a circle at a posting trot and a circle at a canter. I do the post trot but for the canter, I'm not exactly sure in asking him - I was told I could squeeze/kiss kiss but he gave me a fast trot. A fast trot on a dressage saddle, which is very slick and when he finally went into the canter to the right and I went left and landed square on one butt cheek. Knocked me into tomorrow. But I got back on, don't ask me how because mounting this horse in itself is a job. But I did it.

But I'm hurting today.

Am I crazy? My husband is ticked off at me. I'm ticked at me because I should have eased into the canter with him. I wasn't ready. I was tired and this was a hell of a horse to control. Just trotting with him and holding him to a reasonable speed was tiring.

-Cynthia
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post #2 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Him and me before the big bang

It was a long way to the ground.

-Cynthia
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post #3 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 03:57 PM
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My mum has been riding for about 15 years, she is not yet 66, but I still worry about which horses she gets on.
You need to be careful about what horses you are riding. My mother is predominantly a dressage rider, and has for the past years been riding large warmbloods and having progressively scarier (to me) falls. Last year I finally convinced her to purchase a small, but well built, Andalusian and he is perfect for her, and does not do poorly in the dressage ring.
I would urge you to stick to the smaller, small moving horses as they are easier to sit and closer to the ground. As well choosing horses with calm temperaments will help you stay in the saddle.

For riders of any age I think it's really important to choose horses who are within our capabilities, albeit a bit on the edge of what's totally comfortable to continue improving our riding. And if you can't decipher what is totally safe for you to be riding, this is where a good coach comes in. Not only to teach you to ride, but keep you safe.

Good luck and have fun!
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post #4 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 04:08 PM
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You might be trying things too advanced for your riding level. I don't know what horses you're riding if its the same one or what, but I think you're getting ahead of yourself. Are you working with a trainer and taking lessons? Is this all the same horse and is he your horse if so?

You're definitely not crazy, but it does sound like your seat and balance might need more work. I'm just basing this off my impression if your post - can't say anything solid without pics or a video.
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post #5 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 04:21 PM
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I am 56 and have decided, some time ago, to stick with the smaller horses. Im staying away from jumping and other " young" activities also.
We just don't bounce as well. No need to keep trying
Stick with Western, go on rides with people who know what they're doing and find an instructor with some sense and more suitable horses.
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post #6 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 04:32 PM
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I started riding at 50. A few months in, I took a fall off of Mia - my one real fall. Jan 2009, I hit a small rock with my lower back, and it was only this last March that I was able to start jogging again. 40 years of jogging, and then a 4 year lay-off. And even now, my lower right back sometimes swells up after riding.

My advice would be to take falls seriously. Every passing year makes it harder to recover from a bad fall.

I switched to using an Aussie-style saddle instead of an English one:



When the horse hits the fan, a saddle like that has a lot of features to help one survive. I've tried both of my English saddles on Mia this week, and may switch back to my AP saddle as my primary saddle - but that is 4 years of riding later. And I will probably ALWAYS use the Aussie-style saddle as my go-to saddle for riding in the desert. There are just too many large rocks where I ride. I cannot afford to fall. Once could kill me.

Mia in my jump saddle from a couple of days ago, just because I like her:



But from a safety viewpoint, I think it is obvious the top picture offers greater safety if something starts to go very wrong...
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... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)
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post #7 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 04:48 PM
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Wild thing, I'm in my 50's and agree with what some others have stated here. It is possible that you are overestimating your ability with the dressage horse, or it could be that you were too tired and that is why the accident occurred. As for the trail riding accident, anything can happen on rides and experience is the best teacher, although it is helpful to know how horses behave in certain situations, such as their tendency to want to bound up inclines.
It sounds as if your confidence has been shaken, and rightfully so. I would suggest taking it easy for a while by not trying anything new while riding so that your body can rest and you are able to regain confidence. If you feel that you need to work on skills so that you aren't afraid of falling again, maybe hire a trainer to help with that.
Kuddos to you for remaining active in your senior years!
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post #8 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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I know you're right. THe horses I ride are chosen for me. It's funny, I've looked at this horse because of his size and thought about riding him but I don't know anything about horses, per se so it's just musing on my part.

As an aside my weakest skill is the lope/canter and maintaining it. I can with my chosen horse, but she's off with her new foal eating grass and having fun and not giving me a second throught.

Someone in my class said I should know my limits and not go where I'm not comfortable. I guess I'm at a stage where I can do that - where I can say "I"m not ready" and mean it.
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-Cynthia
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post #9 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
You might be trying things too advanced for your riding level. I don't know what horses you're riding if its the same one or what, but I think you're getting ahead of yourself. Are you working with a trainer and taking lessons? Is this all the same horse and is he your horse if so?

You're definitely not crazy, but it does sound like your seat and balance might need more work. I'm just basing this off my impression if your post - can't say anything solid without pics or a video.
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I agree with your assessment about seat and balance. My biggest difficulty to date is the lope/canter. I am taking lessons and only ride school horses with supervision at this point. But because I ride school horses who will try to get out of doing one iota more than they have to, it's sometimes a struggle to get them to maintain and not break.

We are usually assigned the same horse but my horse became a mother in April, so I wasn't able to ride her after Feb. She's the best horse in the world - my dream horse. The other horse, the one that ran me into a tree was another horse I used to ride. He really took me by surprise because he's about the laziest horse in the world. But he does perk up out of doors. I let myself forget that.

I think you're absolutely correct though, about getting ahead of myself. If I'm going to learn dressage I will need to get a feeling for the dressage saddle, which is quite different. And for the new horse I'm assigned.

I will add I missed my nice horn yesterday. (I really did) Whether I could have stabled myself with it or not I missed it none the less.

I might drop this whole dressage thing, though. It won't help me if I get knocked on my keister every other lesson.

-Cynthia
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post #10 of 65 Old 05-16-2013, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post
I am 56 and have decided, some time ago, to stick with the smaller horses. Im staying away from jumping and other " young" activities also.
We just don't bounce as well. No need to keep trying
Stick with Western, go on rides with people who know what they're doing and find an instructor with some sense and more suitable horses.
Wise advice. I'm seriously considering what you've said. Thank you.

-Cynthia
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