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post #11 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 07:46 PM
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Rolling has saved me from many an injury. The only time I ever was badly injured was when I fell at the corner of an indoor arena and had no way of rolling. I took all the impact in my leg and suffered for it. Obviously you cannot tuck/roll and still hold onto the reins, but if I'm in an enclosed area and come off, rolling is the only way to go!

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #12 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 08:34 PM
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No, I was never taught how to fall or do an emergency dismount. I just naturally tuck and roll when I fall, especially from a horse. And I've only ever had to do an emergency dismount once, it was either that or get scraped off on a wall.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #13 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 09:12 PM
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I never received "proper" training on how to get away from a horse after a fall, but I did grow up watching my Dad and brother come off and saw how they did it. My Dad also always just told me "If you fall or the horse goes down, get away from them any way you can so they don't step on you".

Now, I've noticed that my first instinct (once regaining my seat is obviously beyond hope) is to try to land on my meatier parts like my thighs and upper arms. I don't stick my hands out in front of me because that's how I shattered my left arm when I was 9. Once I hit the ground, I roll away from the horse and get to my feet as quickly as humanly possible. That's become such an instantaneous thing that I am often on my feet before I know if I'm hurt or how bad. Shoot, last spring, I got down next to a horse and hit my forehead on a panel. I was on my feet again and looking for the horse before I realized that I couldn't see. Every thing was just red and it took me a minute to figure out that it was coming from a huge gash in my forehead.
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post #14 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 09:23 PM
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I don't want to turn this into a war stories thread, but once when I did something very stupid - I was shuffling horses back and forth across a very large property from their turnout to the barn for farrier day, and I would jump on one bareback and pony one to ride back and forth. End of the day, and I'm riding the last horse back, bareback, with a halter. A hard fit hunting horse. And he decides he wants to be back in the far pasture with his buddies a lot sooner than I do, and takes off. Tried steering him into a circle with the halter and lead shank, but no go. I am heading towards a cattle guard and a paved driveway. I elected to bail off and tuck and roll. Executed it so well I turned a somersalt on the ground and came up on my feet in time to watch the horse *jump* the cattle guard and go skidding and skated across the pavement. Wished someone had seen me or I had a video.

Very glad for the tuck and roll in that situation; the alternative wouldn't have worked so well.

Same farm, same age (many years ago) a very big horse hung a hind leg in a solid big fence with me and flipped over. I felt the jolt when he hung the leg and bailed - literally dropped the reins and *dived* off of him and did a three point landing on my hands and the side of my head. Two broken arms and a significant head injury, but that was it. If that 1300# sucker had fallen on me, it wouldn't have ended as well.

However, your average lesson student wouldn't have been in those situations, or most of the others I could bore you with where I used the technique.

It's worked for me, but I don't think *not* teaching it is irresponsible or bad teaching. It's a different strokes for different folks thing, or your mileage may vary.

Last edited by maura; 11-03-2011 at 04:31 AM.
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post #15 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by drafts4ever View Post

I just read a blog from a girl, not sure of her age, she had her first experience coming off hard. She landed under the horse, watched as the horses hooves passed over her and a back foot hit her in the head. I don't know if she was wearing a helmet because it wasn't mentioned. The following comments were anywhere from "oh my god I hope you're ok" to "the horse needs to be put to sleep it's a dangerous animal" (that's a little extreme!).
This actually happened to me, and I was wondering if you had read the story I posted about it a LONG time ago, but then I couldn't remember If I actually did. Lol. Anyways, probably didn't read MY story. Exactly the same and the horse ended up being put down because he WAS dangerous. I was never taught "how" to fall, however i've fallen enough times to know how to do it now. :)

The well-known saying “chestnut mare, beware!” is not completely without foundation. Some go further and add “chestnut Thoroughbred mare, beware!”
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post #16 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 09:46 PM
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I was told that if you had time to plan, then plan on staying on the horse. I asked after my mare had bolted along a field of very large, jagged rocks, and I was afraid she'd bolt over them with me. I got her stopped, tried to dismount too soon, and she bolted in mid-dismount.

The folks I talked to had owned & ridden horses their entire lives, and said the worst they or their kids got hurt was from trying to jump off of a horse. They also asked me what Mia did on her second bolt. I admitted she crossed the rocky field as if it were flat grass. No idea if I could have stayed on crossing it, or if I would have pulled her off balance. 3+ years later, with an Aussie saddle, I'd plan on riding it out...but I'd been riding less than 6 months at the time, and was using an English saddle.

It sounds like it would be a good thing to know, but I wonder how many are qualified to teach it. How many have tried different ways of getting off a bolting horse, to see what works best? Stunt men do, but they also, as Barry Godden points out, prepare their landing and are doing it at a specific spot for the cameras.

If I was 30 years younger, I'd volunteer to go practice. As it is, I'll check this thread from time to time...
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post #17 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 09:58 PM
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LOL, BSMS, it's funny you should mention your incident. In my experience, one of the hardest things to do is just stop trying to gain control when you already know you are beyond the point of getting it back, even when you know that giving the horse their head and just hanging on may save your life.

It's happened to me a few times where I've had a horse bolt and not been in a situation to pick a fight with them trying to get them stopped, either due to terrain or, once, I was fighting to get the saddle back up in the middle of the horse because it slid off the side when he spooked and spun (friend's horse and their saddle that didn't really fit said horse:roll:).

4 times out of 5, the horse will be able to regain their own footing if left to their own balance. It may not be the greatest idea from a training standpoint, but if giving in for a moment gives you the opportunity to handle the problem 10 minutes from now when you're back in control instead of 10 months when you're out of the hospital, then IMHO, it's worth it.

Anymore, situations like that happen to me more on broke horses. Not the bolt situation, but the full out run across a pasture and realizing too late to stop that the terrain ahead is really rough. I'll check their speed as best I can, but when we get to the rough spot, I just give them their head and hang on. The ride is rough for a minute but I've yet to have one fall with me doing this.
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post #18 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 10:04 PM
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No, I wasn't taught to properly tuck and roll, emergency dismount, bail, what have you.

I had the same thing happen to me in 2009 as the girl with the blog that drafts mentioned. It was the first time I had loped bareback. It was shortly after the summer camp I work at started enforcing that the wranglers wear helmets (because of an accident that happened earlier that summer). I chose not to because they were for my senior pictures. Everything was fine, until Poseidon took off at a lope when I wasn't ready. I slipped and landed in front of her and was loped over.

Somehow I was not severely injured. Her front knee knocked me in the head and I had a distinct hoofprint on my left shoulder blade (how she didn't crush a good section of my ribcage and puncture my lung, I'll never know). I stood right up and brushed myself off. I was sore, but I got back on and my friend who was taking pictures led us back to the corral.

The only other time I've fallen was when racing a friend this summer. Abby went from a full gallop to stopped dead..I didn't. I caught myself a little with one leg, so I didn't hit the ground full force with my back. Did pull my calf really good and couldn't stand up from sitting on the ground without help for a day. That was the only injury I sustained from that. The girl I was racing went flying too and we both stood up laughing and hugged each other (we had a whole crowd, mind you).

I was lucky with both of these. Otherwise, I stay on as long as possible and I've yet to come off, which I attributed to my snug barrel saddle and the quick thought to grab my horn on occasion. However, I have also not ridden young horses or horses that are greenbroke or less. The worst I've really ridden is Abby, who is well trained and knows her stuff, she's just a snot sometimes (random bucks, hard spooks, and a couple of times this summer that I all but lost control of her because she'd try to take off in the fields).

I do believe there is some instinct in getting away from a horse. Early this summer, we took some other camp staff riding in one of the pastures. Just as we started going, one gelding tripped and completely flipped himself. He landed on the girl riding him, but by the time anyone got to her, she was leaning on a fence at least 10 feet away. She doesn't ride very often and when we asked her, she said she didn't really think about it, she just knew to get up and get away so he wouldn't roll on her when he got up. She had a ruptured spleen from that.

Last edited by Poseidon; 11-02-2011 at 10:08 PM.
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post #19 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 10:09 PM
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I think I vaguely remember my rather diminutive but frightening riding instructor mentioning the correct way to fall off a horse. I was in my teens and he frightened me a whole lot more than ever falling off a horse. I guess I must have some ancient recall as I generally just relax and roll away form the horse instinctively perhaps as a self preservation mechanism? Who knows!
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post #20 of 23 Old 11-02-2011, 10:25 PM
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Well, I'm glad to hear I am in good company. I have not be taught how to, or practiced falling off a horse. I thought a few times that maybe I should try it, but I always thought it would be too dangerous so I never did.

That said however, I have spent some time getting into terrible balance positions on the horse and practiced getting back onto a seat. This was a two fold exercise: I was learning how to get back to balance and my horse was supposed to stop. Ah... still working on the horse has to stop bit...

Also, I will say that if I was ever going to learn how to fall, it would be from a standstill or walk only and only on soft ground. I have taught downhill skiing and I did spend time with some students (mostly the over 35 age group) teaching them how to get up, which meant they had to first "fall down." This was at a standstill. Or I had occasions where the students were starting to lose control, but still at a slow enough speed to safely fall so I would yell at them to "FALL OVER!!!!".

Point being that intentionally falling should be done only when it is safe to do so, IMO. And anything faster than a walk is not safe. Anything taller than about 14.2 hands is probably not safe either. :)
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