It finally happened . . .
I finally had my first fall as a returning (um . . . mature . . . and decidedly plus sized!) rider. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be, although I did end up hurting my foot and won't be riding for the next couple of weeks!
I've been riding our BM's halflinger mare -- she's sweet and clever, but very ornery. As she's gotten to know me, she's settled down a bit -- she pushes until she sees she can't bully you -- but she seemed a bit irritated today; before I even mounted, she'd made a pretty serious attempt to bite me. I probably should have known then that something was up with her, although I'm not sure it would have made a difference -- my trainers probably wouldn't have agreed to me not riding her just because of a "feeling"!
Anyway, the whole lesson was a battle of wills, although she finally got to where she was listening better to me (and I was probably giving her better cues as to what I wanted from her).
I'm not used to arena riding -- never rode inside until starting lessons -- so I'm horrible at getting the right diagonal and even worse at switching. My trainer told me to switch diagonals and off this mare went, breaking into a canter (no big deal, she does that often and is easy to handle), then bucking MUCH higher than I would have expected her stocky body to manage!
She threw me forward on the first buck and I managed to hold on through the second, but I'm having a problem with tendonitis so I wasn't having any success using my right arm to either hold on OR push myself up off her neck -- I had a brief moment where I thought, you can stick with this or just let yourself fall and get it over with . . .
I'm the kind of person who has to do the thing that scares me more -- NOT brave, probably just dumb -- so I went ahead and let the next buck throw me off. Ended up pretty much fine, just stiff and sore, with that deep bruise on my heel that put me on crutches.
So what SHOULD I have done?
I'm open to advice -- I definitely need it!
First of all, I think I should have been more aware of her mood, yeah? She was definitely fighting me today, which isn't normal in that she will usually settle down after testing me a bit.
When I tried to switch diagonals, I think I must have done something that pushed her buttons, but I'm really not sure what -- maybe I pushed my heels into her? Or pulled on her mouth? I honestly don't know, because I was focused too much on what I was trying to do, rather than paying attention to her.
Obviously I should have raised her head when she was dropping it to buck -- another issue with not paying attention to her while I was focusing on my riding "technique" . . .
And I guess I should have stuck with her, rather than bail. I'm not sure I absolutely COULD have stayed on, but I'll never know now, because I chose to fall rather than keep fighting to stay on.
Would you have made the same choice I did? Or would you have stuck with her?
After assessing the damage, I did get back on and ride another 10 or 15 minutes -- funny thing is, the heel doesn't bother me at all unless I put weight on it, I keep thinking it's perfectly fine (then I get a BIG reminder when I step on it!).
Okay, that's my story -- I don't have any real horsey friends IRL, and I wanted to share with somebody!
I usually have a pretty good sense of whether I'm going to fall or not, so when I think I am, I usually just gracefully slide off to minimize damage. Some may call it being a chicken...I don't really care, if I can look bad and save myself from injury then I'm going to just bail!!
I don't know if that's good advice or not, but I really see no point in trying to stay on in a dangerous situation - unless of course it would be more dangerous to try and fall. But now I'm just talkin in circles!
Sorry it's not much help - sometimes you jsut have to leave it up to intuition. I don't have much (luckily) experience with a bucking horse. The first time a horse bucked I came right off, but that was a long time ago.
It's good that you got back on again though!
First of all, congratulations on your innaguaral fall (as a retournee).
I dont' think anyone in YOUR position could or woud have done anything much different. Once you have been riding a few years, you start to get a better feel for when the horse might be thinking about bucking, and you have a chance to head it off., But even then, one does not always get a gold plated warning. Everyone gets caught by surprise. It's just that once you become better able to coordinate all that stuff the trainer is saying, "do this, now do that, while doing this and watch for that and . . .", while the horse is off in la-la land. YOu get so your body doesnt' need to be monitered so closely with your brain, and you have more spare brain cells to "feel" of your horse.
If the horse threw me up on her neck, about the only thing I can do is grip pretty tight with my thighs and hope she will move forward and kind of "under" me again. Honestly, once you are that far off balance, you're pretty much toast.
The thing to look at is the mare's real attempt at biting you, why she did this, how you reacted and if it indicates a souring of her attitude to you, or her having some pain issue or what.
No, I totally get what you're saying -- I think the safety "assurance" was a big factor in my decision to bail; I knew I probably wouldn't get hurt too badly since we were in the arena. I doubt I would have been so cavalier about it if we'd been out on pavement or gravel!
Haha, exactly! I've been lucky ::knock on wood:: and all my falls have been in sandy arenas. Except my first fall. I flew in the air about 15 feet rolled on top and over the fence and landed in the grass.
The next time I got on a different horse was when I was bucked off. Jeez. :twisted:
First of all Welcome Lea to the forum
sorry your mare threw you
hope you are not to hurt
I always tell people, with a perverse pride, that I have come off something like 15 times in the last 12 years, with the large majority being on the trail. That moment when you realize you are at the place of no recovery, and you're going down, is one that I can't say I really like. IN fact , I always have a moment of disbelief, "What? am I actually coming off?" Then, "yep, you're goin' down, down!" to "Oh, I do hope my feet come out of the stirrup ok" to "Please don't step on me, horse" to "dont run off and leave me " to "Oh, I just got free chiropractic" to "how did I get to my feet so quick? what just happened?" to "oh, I still have the reins in my hand. How do I do that, every time?" to "You little poop head! why'd you do that ?! (when he has spooked and spun out from under me)" to "now where can I find something big enough to help me remount?" To "I hope that's the last fall for a while" to "won't it be fun to brag about this one?" to "going home to a whisky and several aspirin"
to "I am not so old, see? I can fall off, get back on, ride out the day, put the horse away, drive home, cook dinner, clean up and go to bed. "
BUT, it's the NEXT DAY that's the killer! PAIN!
Thanks . . . I think! LOL! I am actually kind of relieved to have it over with -- you know it's coming sooner or later, and I was kind of dreading it, so now I don't have to worry about it any more.
Re: the biting -- she has VERY poor manners, so the biting itself isn't new, but the quality of this attempt was different, definitely more irritated for sure.
I know part of the issue was that we've been kept waiting for the trainer the past two times I've ridden her, and I'm learning that she definitely does NOT like to stand around waiting. I did consider walking her until the trainer came in, but got caught up in all those little fiddly things you do before mounting; checking stirrups and girth, etc. Next time I will absolutely make sure to keep her moving so that she doesn't get impatient.
The only other thing I can think of is that it maybe just wasn't her day for riding? I have zero experience with mares, but everybody tells me that they're just more particular about things. Possibly she wasn't in the mood to deal with me today, or maybe she didn't like the weather or . . . ?? Mind you, I honestly don't know if that's true about mares or not, it's just what I've been told! (Although they do seem a bit more touchy to me, just as a casual observation.)
YES! -- putting all the "pieces" together has been mind boggling!! I started riding at three, so I've always felt very comfortable riding, but this is the first time I'm learning the CORRECT way of doing things, and oh my gosh is it hard! I'm so happy to have this opportunity, though, because I know it will make me a better rider for the horse, as opposed to only thinking about MY comfort, etc.
I'm taking my daughter to ride tomorrow, so I'll stop by and see her -- even if I won't be riding for a little while, I do still enjoy being around the horses!
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