Take the fall, or hang on to the horse's face? - Page 5
 
 

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Take the fall, or hang on to the horse's face?

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        03-11-2013, 02:41 PM
      #41
    Yearling
    I had a horse this Winter trip at a transition between plowed road and deep snowbank - he was being ditsy and just wasn't paying attention (looking for scary squirrels, I think). In the 1.5 seconds it took him to go down, saving his mouth never crossed my mind. I remember trying to figure out which way he was going to fall so that I could fall in a way to avoid having him roll over me or kicking me as he flailed about trying to get back up. When you know you're going down, you really go into self-preservation mode. Like Anebel says, at that point, saving the horse's mouth is not a conscious act, it's second-nature due to training. I grabbed the poor horse's mane going down - not because I thought about it, but because I had practiced it so many times.
         
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        03-11-2013, 04:44 PM
      #42
    Started
    A Nasty Fall
    My last big horse fall was off my cob gelding - Joe. We were out for a jaunt around the woods but Joe had been kept waiting and he was miffed and impatient. Having reached the top of a hilly local lane we had come to a tricky T junction. I had to bring him back to a stop from a trot in order to check if anything was coming up the road which we about to join.

    At the very moment of stopping Joe whirled round to the left in revolt - as from time to time he was won’t to do. My usual counter was to pull him right through the whirl but this time that ploy did not work. Joe was now back on his hind quarters and about to take off back down the lane. As Joe lurched forwards, I shortened the left rein to direct him into the high earth bank but Joe could canter forwards even with his neck bent round to the left. He did manage to swerve around to avoid the bank and then we were off at full tilt back from whence we had come.

    I shorted the reins with both hands and tried to shorten and bend his neck but he was too strong for me. Then I realised I had a real problem: - the saddle was slipping forwards. As I pulled back on the reins - so I was pulling myself forwards onto Joe’s neck. The saddle I was using was a flat topped dressage saddle with minimal knee rolls. There was nothing on the smooth saddle to make a grip for my knees even if the girth had been tight. Next minute I had slipped almost off the saddle and was sitting on Joe’s neck up by his wither. In the meantime Joe had reached full galloping pace - although he couldn’t have stopped on the downward slope of a steep hill even if he had wanted to. I felt myself slipping further and suddenly Joe gave a flip with his head and then I was falling off his neck.

    As I fell so I let go of the reins and grabbed his neck with both hands By this time I was stretched out with my heels in the air back on his hind quarters and my arms around his neck - just as though I was giving him a cuddle. Then gravity won and I fell to the ground with my back hitting the tarmac real hard. How I eventually found myself flat out, looking down on the tarmac I am not sure.. There I was laying inert whilst listening to Joe cantering off towards home whilst I was wondering which bones I might have broken.

    In the family album there are some indelicate photos of the serious bruising which I had suffered. The hump over my sacrum - the size of an American football - was already beginning to swell up. My shoulders were grazed by gravel; my upper thighs were to turn bloody blue from hitting the unforgiving surface of the lane at what must have been about 25 miles per hour. I banged my head so hard that the small gravel stones from the road surface became embedded in the plastic ring around the base of my riding helmet.

    I was to be out of action for months and in truth I never properly recovered from the fall - perhaps the worst in my lifetime with horses.
    In the process, Joe had torn a check ligament which also put him out of action for over six months and which would eventually became a key reason for him to be put down.

    Back when I was falling to the ground, I did not ask myself whether I could think of an elegant way to dismount from, a horse galloping downhill on tarmac? No of course not. I was thinking: “I hope this does not hurt too much”. But it did hurt.

    What I should have thought of was pushing my feet out straight in front of me and leaning back - hunter seat style. What I also didn’t think of was the possibility of a car coming up the lane? Otherwise I might have prayed.

    Whatever my friend may say, there is no way to fall safely off a horse. Nowadays I have some strong ideas about which saddle to use for cross country riding;
    I always wear a sturdy riding hat;
    and I also wear a 6 inch wide elasticated belt around my lower back to protect my lower spine.

    But , sorry, I cannot recommend a safe way to fall off a horse. B G
         
        03-11-2013, 07:49 PM
      #43
    Yearling
    Barry Goden - Ouch
    Have never fallen on tarmac/gravel but omg you poor thing!

    The worst I've had was on the hunt feild. I was riding a hyped up little chestnut mare who was greatly annoyed with me for riding away from her paddock mate. Half way through, on a scent, every one took off up a raise, which was fine, until she saw the front lot, encluding her mate, galloping down another hill and decided -screw you lady, I'm going that way.- She threw herself over the side of raise, sideways, as I tried to haul her back round. She put her head down and went for it, leapt sideways, sending me flying. I had lost my reins when she yanked her head down and as I was trying to grab them up she took off and my foot got stuck. I only came untangled when she dragged me into the backside of another horse
    Thank god I was wearing my helmet as the rest of the hunt feild came roaring up behind me, lying flat on the ground, watching the bloody mare's ginger butt gallop off to be with her bud
    Didn't break anything and I must say, thinking about saving her mouth was the last thing on my mind
         
        03-12-2013, 03:19 AM
      #44
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    A Nasty Fall
    My last big horse fall was off my cob gelding - Joe. We were out for a jaunt around the woods but Joe had been kept waiting and he was miffed and impatient. Having reached the top of a hilly local lane we had come to a tricky T junction. I had to bring him back to a stop from a trot in order to check if anything was coming up the road which we about to join.

    At the very moment of stopping Joe whirled round to the left in revolt - as from time to time he was won’t to do. My usual counter was to pull him right through the whirl but this time that ploy did not work. Joe was now back on his hind quarters and about to take off back down the lane. As Joe lurched forwards, I shortened the left rein to direct him into the high earth bank but Joe could canter forwards even with his neck bent round to the left. He did manage to swerve around to avoid the bank and then we were off at full tilt back from whence we had come.

    I shorted the reins with both hands and tried to shorten and bend his neck but he was too strong for me. Then I realised I had a real problem: - the saddle was slipping forwards. As I pulled back on the reins - so I was pulling myself forwards onto Joe’s neck. The saddle I was using was a flat topped dressage saddle with minimal knee rolls. There was nothing on the smooth saddle to make a grip for my knees even if the girth had been tight. Next minute I had slipped almost off the saddle and was sitting on Joe’s neck up by his wither. In the meantime Joe had reached full galloping pace - although he couldn’t have stopped on the downward slope of a steep hill even if he had wanted to. I felt myself slipping further and suddenly Joe gave a flip with his head and then I was falling off his neck.

    As I fell so I let go of the reins and grabbed his neck with both hands By this time I was stretched out with my heels in the air back on his hind quarters and my arms around his neck - just as though I was giving him a cuddle. Then gravity won and I fell to the ground with my back hitting the tarmac real hard. How I eventually found myself flat out, looking down on the tarmac I am not sure.. There I was laying inert whilst listening to Joe cantering off towards home whilst I was wondering which bones I might have broken.

    In the family album there are some indelicate photos of the serious bruising which I had suffered. The hump over my sacrum - the size of an American football - was already beginning to swell up. My shoulders were grazed by gravel; my upper thighs were to turn bloody blue from hitting the unforgiving surface of the lane at what must have been about 25 miles per hour. I banged my head so hard that the small gravel stones from the road surface became embedded in the plastic ring around the base of my riding helmet.

    I was to be out of action for months and in truth I never properly recovered from the fall - perhaps the worst in my lifetime with horses.
    In the process, Joe had torn a check ligament which also put him out of action for over six months and which would eventually became a key reason for him to be put down.

    Back when I was falling to the ground, I did not ask myself whether I could think of an elegant way to dismount from, a horse galloping downhill on tarmac? No of course not. I was thinking: “I hope this does not hurt too much”. But it did hurt.

    What I should have thought of was pushing my feet out straight in front of me and leaning back - hunter seat style. What I also didn’t think of was the possibility of a car coming up the lane? Otherwise I might have prayed.

    Whatever my friend may say, there is no way to fall safely off a horse. Nowadays I have some strong ideas about which saddle to use for cross country riding;
    I always wear a sturdy riding hat;
    and I also wear a 6 inch wide elasticated belt around my lower back to protect my lower spine.

    But , sorry, I cannot recommend a safe way to fall off a horse. B G
    To add to this, my worst ever fall was one where I thought I was safely bailing!! I was riding my old Welsh D/Irish Draught, who was terrible when out hacking for spooking and taking off bucking. He got a lot better when he was fit and going, but he had been out of work and I was trying to get him fit. I was out with sister, who I'd put on one of the youngsters I'd broken that summer, when he decided to spook at a rabbit in the bushes and took off across an open field. He threw in a few huge bucks, which I managed to sit, but then he was across the field and into a boggy patch, where he suddenly skidded to a halt and threw another huge buck. I fell forward onto his neck, and knowing how he normally freaked out at me being out of balance I thought the best thing was to let myself come off.

    However, unfortunately, there was a large granite rock directly where I let myself fall. I fell head first into it, at quite a speed, and cracked my skull cap, knocking myself unconscious. I remember nothing until waking up in the x-ray room at the hospital, where I was in a neck brace being x-rayed for a suspected broken neck. Thankfully, neither the broken neck nor the brain damage they suspected were the case: I was very lucky. But I had the worst concussion I've ever had, and after getting out of hospital a couple days later, I could barely do more than move around my house for several weeks without feeling sick and vomiting.

    And that was me thinking the safest thing was to bail before he properly freaked out.
         
        03-12-2013, 03:38 AM
      #45
    Yearling
    Woooooah...that's awful It takes some guts to get back on a horse after a fall like that. Thank God for helmets!
    minstrel likes this.
         
        03-12-2013, 05:23 AM
      #46
    Started
    Minstrel. Oh agh agh agh. Ouch.

    My stuntman friend said that the first priority when coming off a horse is not to fall onto something hard - like a rock. That was one of his prime reasons for jumping off voluntarily so that at least the rider has a small choice of where he/she would land.

    After my accident and those that followed, I have spent some time researching what I call 'Post Traumatic Fall Disorder' - in other words a response by your sub concious brain to make you tense up when sitting on a horse. This perhaps is an indicator that the part of your brain which controls your instinctive reactions (and keeps you in the saddle) doesn't want you to put yourself again at risk by riding a horse. (Do you understand what I have written?)

    The link seems to be whether you lost conciousness ----- and you did.

    I personally have never been the same rider since my accident and certainly my ability to sit the modern dressage seat - ie bolt upright and minimal weight in the stirrups - is now minimal. If I do ride, I now adopt my original 'forward' (as per Littauer) seat with bent knee and weight firmly in the stirrup irons and leaning forward so as to be over the horse's centre of gravity for most of the time. This forward system is very much as I was originally taught in the 1970s.

    If you feel that you are nowadays riding as you did before your accident - then well done.

    B G
         
        03-12-2013, 06:14 AM
      #47
    Weanling
    Lol I went over my first jump and which was a pony club activity, I've never jumped choco hasnt jumped 2 yrs..so I attempt the 2 point posistion not knowing what im doing, as he has jumped I sat down then his butt went up and I ended up hanging on just behined his ears my left foot out of stirrup and right foot still in..i thought to myself I better just drop while I can cos he was trotting lucky he's been of the track for few yrs or he would of galloped LOL...so I dropped and got touched by the hoof..godbless him he tried so hard not to step on me
         
        03-12-2013, 06:18 AM
      #48
    Started
    Tercio. Apologies for hijacking your thread but you had attracted viewers to an important topic - how best to fall of a horse. Most of us riders are heading for a fall sometime - it merely is a question of whether we can learn to fall in such a way as to minimize the injury.
    Part of the problem is that we owners have to use the horse we own - regardless of whether that horse is fit and suitable for our purposes. We believe we can re school the cussed ones but sometimes we can't.

    But a discussion amongst members makes us think about the issue and that usually is a good idea.

    B G
         
        03-12-2013, 06:22 AM
      #49
    Super Moderator
    Interesting video of professionals learning to fall correctly
    EquineBovine likes this.
         
        03-12-2013, 07:21 AM
      #50
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    Minstrel. Oh agh agh agh. Ouch.

    My stuntman friend said that the first priority when coming off a horse is not to fall onto something hard - like a rock. That was one of his prime reasons for jumping off voluntarily so that at least the rider has a small choice of where he/she would land.

    After my accident and those that followed, I have spent some time researching what I call 'Post Traumatic Fall Disorder' - in other words a response by your sub concious brain to make you tense up when sitting on a horse. This perhaps is an indicator that the part of your brain which controls your instinctive reactions (and keeps you in the saddle) doesn't want you to put yourself again at risk by riding a horse. (Do you understand what I have written?)

    The link seems to be whether you lost conciousness ----- and you did.

    I personally have never been the same rider since my accident and certainly my ability to sit the modern dressage seat - ie bolt upright and minimal weight in the stirrups - is now minimal. If I do ride, I now adopt my original 'forward' (as per Littauer) seat with bent knee and weight firmly in the stirrup irons and leaning forward so as to be over the horse's centre of gravity for most of the time. This forward system is very much as I was originally taught in the 1970s.

    If you feel that you are nowadays riding as you did before your accident - then well done.

    B G

    I was determined to get back on a horse as soon as possible, but after a few weeks I realised that I wasn't the same - every time a horse looked at something, or had a spook, I tensed up and tightened my hold on the reins. Took a year of breaking and riding young horses to cure me of that. Sounds crazy, but starting young horses myself was the best thing - while they are unpredictable, and can spook or buck, twy generally haven't learned how to do anything horrible yet. So I got my confidence back by dealing with horses that are unpredictable yet predictable in how they are unpredictable... If that makes sense. I'd say I'm a much braver rider now than before, but I'm not stupid - I've learned to judge what I will and won't risk riding!
         

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