Riding Western, Horse took off into a lope and I fell. help please. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-25-2013, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Riding Western, Horse took off into a lope and I fell. help please.

I have no clue where 2 post this) I have been having issues with staying on the horse today. Rusty has been a bit nervous and excited due to our neighbors celebrating Christmas and having fun outside. I rode Rusty today in the pen and he was doing fine then all the sudden broke into a lope it scared me I was leaning back and pulling the reins back and was yelling whoa. I could not stop him. All the sudden he stops (so he did not hit the fence) and I fly over his head and summer salt landing on my back. I am a very beginner rider and I was curious if anyone knows what to do next time this or something like this happens. I got back on after this and rode (I am OK). And I am gonna try again tomorrow. If anyone has any advice it would be a real help on how to handle a situation like this again please help.
P.s I ride western

Last edited by sorrel Thoroughbreds; 12-25-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-25-2013, 09:06 PM
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If you cannot yet stop your horse in such situations, you should not be riding alone. Do you take lessons?

The most important thing to do in such a situation is to not panic. Screaming anything, including whoa, will only make your horse more excited/scared. Pulling on the reins might work, but as you found out, it isn't always the most effective way to stop a horse.

In such a situation, you should sit back, relax, and apply your halt aids. Learn to stop your horse with your seat in addition to your hands.

If nothing works and you really have an out of control horse, you can try a one-rein stop. You should have a qualified instructor teach you this however.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-25-2013, 09:07 PM
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you definately need to work with a trainer. there is not much we can do over the internet. not only that, you could be seriously injured. you need someone there with you giving you clear instructions on what to do.

good for you for getting back on! dont give up, just find someone that knows about horses and can train/mentor you in person...

and never ride alone...
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-25-2013, 09:45 PM
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Agree with what the others say.

IF you can't stop the horse, circle it (assuming you can safely do so) this will give you control and slow the horse down. If this won't work learn your emergency stops. A one rein stop only works if the horse is trained and (not that I have experience in this) I assume if the horse is an actual all out run away is not going to do anything. This is a similar effect to circling the horse. You can use this
in an extreme emergency. It's obviously a little harsh so do it as a last resort.

Even if you can stop the horse, stopping fast can be really hard to sit (as you found out). Definitely work with a trainer and don't ride outside the pen until you (and the horse) are 100% ready.

Practice your emergency dismounts. It's a good thing to know either way.

As hard as it can be not to, the WORST thing you can do on a horse acting up (whether it's rearing/bolting/you lost your balance/w/e) is brace yourself. The horse is responding to tension. To me, it's one of the hardest things to do and goes against every thought in your brain and every cell in your body but you have to RELAX and stay calm. Breathe out, sit deep, say whoa (calmly and with authority, make sure your horse knows this command) and think slow. Not only is the horse feeding off of you but you are also pushing yourself out of the saddle and physically and mentally putting you in a position where the horse is in charge. You need to be in control of the situation and not panic.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-25-2013, 10:00 PM
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Trying to find a picture to illustrate- sorry it's such a silly one and obv jumping, not stopping:

This is (somewhat) what I pictured, when you described what happened. Sit deep (not back) make sure your reins are short, STOP PANICING. You need to be prepared for the horse to be a horse, NO horse is bombproof. You didn't even say he took off you said he broke into a lope. Keep your head on your shoulders and ask him to stop, same as you always do. As you can see in the above picture (again, picturing this on the flat) there is really no control over the situation.

You need to learn to move WITH the horse, not against the horse. You are not the person on the horses back you are part of the horse. Trust me, I know it can be scary, but if you are working with the horse, even if the horse spooks you can work with the movement and put the horse back to work as it spooks as opposed to being left behind and then dealing with a runaway. This is being a good rider- This will come with time and practice and with a good instructor. Just stay relaxed and in tune.

Thought- if you are riding western make sure your reins aren't too long (again what I pictured with the above image) and if the situation is appropriate I would ride with contact (a soft feel for the horses mouth) just so you will already have the reins where you want them if this situation happens again.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-26-2013, 01:16 AM
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Like everyone said, the best thing you can do is at least not panic next time. Try to keep yourself balanced so you don't fall and hurt yourself - grab the saddle, mane, whatever you can.

One of the horses I used to lease would do this out of the blue and would just power through the bit as if it wasn't even there. Something my old instructor was having me work on was one-rein stops, where you essentially pull the head around to one side so that they have no choice but to stop because they can't run with their face glued to their shoulder. Also, emergency dismounts are something you should practice at all of the gaits.

Now, I don't recommend trying to practice them when your horse is already worked up, so wait until a day where he is nice and relaxed, and until then don't ride alone. Another technique that I've had to use once on the mare I'm currently leasing is to lean over and grab the bridle and pull the head to the side. I don't recommend that one because it's really not the most secure of positions to be in should the horse suddenly stop, but it is something with having in the back of your head just in case. The reason we had to do that is because she will get her head up way high and at that point it's near impossible to use the reins. Just in case that ever happens to you, it was pretty effective for me.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-26-2013, 10:55 AM
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You got thrown because you're out of position and out of balance.

First thing, both hands on the reins, hands low, in front of the saddle horn so as to shorten up the reins, not high and close to the chest. In such a situation, pull the reins back toward you, not up and back so as to keep the head down.....

Heals down..very necessary if you don't want to go over the front.....position yourself in such a way as to have balance...sit slightly back in the saddle.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-26-2013, 01:11 PM
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To add what everyone else said...

When you notice your horse is acting like a tart, DON'T RIDE HIM. For a beginner its just asking for trouble. I work with a TWH who can get stupid real fast. I skip riding her when there is something going on, like a block party on the other side of the area fence. I will work with her on the ground by the fence, but not from her back. I like all my parts just how they are and its not worth risking.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-26-2013, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Alexandra V View Post
...one-rein stops, where you essentially pull the head around to one side so that they have no choice but to stop because they can't run with their face glued to their shoulder...
Horses CAN gallop just fine with their head cranked around. Been there, done that. Not on my Mia, but on a ranch horse years ago. It is uncommon, but I've met a couple other riders with the same experience...a flat-out gallop with the horse's nose stuck at your knee. One of the other riders was describing her final ride...her horse kept at a gallop until it hit a fence, and she broke her arm, ribs and collarbone after a long flight thru the air. She refused to ride after that.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-26-2013, 03:52 PM
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Here's a video that might help you understand the dynamics of the mindset of a horse. (Please DO NOT ride bridleless until you have lots more experience.) I just want you to listen to what he has to say, then you can explore his other videos where he shows details about the groundwork he refers to. I like this video because it begins to separate the "pulling back and yelling whoa" mentality with the "what is a better way to communicate with my horse". Notice the point in the video where he says that during a bolting episode with this horse, he couldn't even bend his head around!

If you have access to a trainer who can work with you that's terrific. If not, there's lots of stuff you can learn to do on your own, but you have to do tons of homework understanding why horses act/react the way they do and how you can SAFELY help them learn.
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