Let go or Hang on???

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Let go or Hang on???

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  • My horse hangs on one rein
  • Rider falls off horse but hangs on

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    05-16-2011, 01:26 PM
Let go or Hang on???

When you fall is it better to hold on to the reins so your horse doesn't bolt away or let go?

I know some horses stand there looking down at the rider wondering why they are on the ground, but the horses I have fallen off of tend to run off. In an arena I know they can't really get away, but out on the trail it can be dangerous. In pics it looks very harsh on their mouth to hang on.

So what is your opinion??
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    05-16-2011, 01:43 PM
You should always let go. Worry about your safety first then the horses.
    05-16-2011, 01:56 PM
I always try my best to hang on to a rein. I'm not always able to, but I try. In the area that I ride, there is a fairly major highway in every direction plus all of the pasture fences in this entire area are barbed wire so a horse running loose is a recipe for disaster any way you look at it.

My way of thinking is, if a horse gets me off, it's because they were doing something that is unacceptable (bucking, huge spook into a bolt, etc) so I am not terribly concerned about them hitting the bit when they try to run away. It might make them think twice about doing whatever they did again. Not only that, but it also helps a young horse to learn that running away after your rider falls is not acceptable. I work on getting them to stop when I step out of the saddle anyway, but hanging on to a rein will enforce that in a moment of panic.

Not only that, but if your foot were to get stuck in the stirrup and you still had ahold of one rein, you might be able to keep the horse somewhat under control in a circle instead of having them just run away full tilt and drag you to death.

Of course, it is important to recognize when hanging onto a rein will put your own life in danger and learn to let go then, but many times, hanging on doesn't hold any more risk for yourself than letting go.
    05-16-2011, 02:27 PM
Let go and roll!
    05-16-2011, 02:33 PM
Super Moderator
I don't know what you are supposed to do. All I know is that I always hang on. Just came off last week, for the 15th fall since I started riding 11 years ago. Kept the reins, got right back on and had a good ride. One of those easy "lay me down" falls.
    05-16-2011, 03:01 PM
Hold on. It's been my experience that a horse will do it's best to avoid stepping on you and I hate the idea of a long walk home especially if I'm hurt. The last time I came off, I was a few miles from my farm and, as I found out latter, had 2 bruised ribs; but I was able to ride home because I held on to my horse.
    05-16-2011, 03:09 PM
Green Broke
For me, it depends on the situation, and if I remember to hang on.

I definitely prefer to hang on, but have had many times where I have let go as well.

And really, a chuck in the mouth every now and then is not that bad versus being horseless.
    05-16-2011, 07:08 PM
Out of habit or instinct, I always hold on.

I always read its best to let go and in an arena, I see that's fine; you don't have to worry about your horse running off. Typically most horses will just stand there a few feet away starting at you. I'm not sure exactly why you need to let go of the reins. Most horses move off to the side where you've fallen. All I know is that its best to either roll up or get up as soon as possible so the horse doesn't step on you.
    05-16-2011, 10:28 PM
If I'm in an enclosed area, like an arena, then I tend to let go of the reins and try to land out of the way of the horse. If I'm on a trail ride then I definitely hang onto the reins. Nothing much is worse than a loose horse near highways and miles away from the barn.
    05-16-2011, 10:54 PM
I've always been told to let go, or else you'll catch your horse in the mouth and/or get dragged/hurt your wrist, but on the trail I guess you should hang on if you can. YOu don't want your horse ending up on the highway...

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