So Ive heard alot of different advice on what to do when you fall. Things like roll out of the way of the horse, dont hold on to the reins, try &distrubute your weight evenly across your entire body. But what I find is that when I actually fall off (I just started jumping, so its been happening more than normal lately,) I dont have time to think about all of those things. I just sorta yelp &land on my butt. So what are some tips on how to keep from falling off in the first place, what to do while youre falling to keep from hurting yourself too much, &what you do to heal afterwards. Oh &what sorts of helmets do you wear, if any? Feel free to share your stories of falling off, even if you just got bucked off, or something. Thanks!:D
I'm sure this might just be me, but when something goes wrong, I just forget everything and cling for dear life. I think it's just because I'm afraid of falling and getting serious injuries and not being able to ride again. (That would be like the apocalypse to me.) Leaning back is always my go to when my horse bucks, but I've never heard of not holding the reins. I don't think I'd be one for trying it either. I remember the first time I fell off of my horse. I must have been out of it that day, when I decided to try him in a rope halter. He got too close to the fence posts, and I couldn't move him over because I didn't have as much control as I did with a bit. I hit my steel toed boot off the fence post and he freaked. My grandfather told me it looked a rodeo bronc. I lost my stirrups and rode it through. When I finally got him to stop, I tried to bail, but my jacket got hung up on the horn and he took off again. He eventually stopped and I kind of slid out of the saddle. That was the last time I ever rode him in a rope halter...
When I was jumping, balance was always a thing for me. So, I practiced two point over poles and small jumps, riding with out my hands while someone held the lunge line. It helped me a lot, but I'm pretty horrible at jumping, so I do it very often.
When you fall enough times.. you seem to have more time to plan things out. You stop being in shock and you start thinking pro-actively.
Today I could have fallen.. but instead of dropped them reins, took my feet out of the stirrups, and bear hugged my horse's neck as snug as I could while he was galloping. He finally stopped and then I reprimanded him (because he did it for no other reason than evasion.)
You just need to think: safety safety safety. Feet first.. get them out of the stirrups if you're going to fall. Then hands on withers, and get your leg up and over and launch yourself away from the horse.
I wouldn't hold onto the reins if you are in a sticks situation as you could pull the horse in your direction and they could trample you on accident.
Just my thoughts.
One of the best things I did when I was younger was to practice falling off. I would find things of variable heights and jump off of them teaching myself to try landing feet first then tuck and roll as I landed on the ground. Of course this was practiced on grassy areas, but I was teaching myself to react without having to think first.
When one is flying through the air in the beginning they are not thinking coherently what-so-ever. A curse may fly from one's mouth and the brain screams "This is going to hurt!"
A checklist?? An unseasoned rider (as in hardly any falls) won't remember it until after they have fallen, assessed the damage, and have picked themselves up off the ground.
By practicing in a safe environment I trained myself to react defensively without having to think about it and once my body was conditioned to respond then I could almost think and follow a checklist. (Almost)
At any rate if a person could condition themselves to crumple or roll away on impact it could save their joints and bones from a jarring landing, a flat landing, or getting trampled.
Of course terrain has much to do with it, but practicing ahead of time also helps one tone down the fear felt during a fall so that they could try and factor something like that in to the landing.
Once I felt comfortable, I practiced coming off my actual horse on the grass. First at a stand still, then in motion. Anyway, that is what worked for me and it has helped in many of my falls. Some of which could have been very nasty had I not reacted the way I did.
Having said all of that, I am older now and don't see myself jumping off of things to practice :hide: but I do plan to refresh my crumpling skills this spring because I know I could come of my new gelding, its just a matter of when.
I ride with a helmet too.
One thing that I've heard to do, luckily I haven't had to to it, if you fall off and your foot is stuck in the stirrup, roll towards the horse. It's suppose to release your foot from the stirrup. Rolling away just causes it to tighten more.
Usually when a person falls, normal instinct is to tense up and brace against the fall. That's when things break. You are best to pull your arms in and try to roll into the fall.
So many riders go - uhoh. I'm falling. Tense up.
Although - this may not be caused by the fall itself but by what has happened before the fall (What has caused the rider to fall). Even though it's very easy in theory a lot more challenging in actual sense. The best thing you can do is try and relax - land without tensing your body.
The rein thing, do you let go? Or hold on? Brings a huge debate. If I'm in the arena, or on a cross country course. I know my horse will be eventually caught by someone (Though, he has never ran away). Therefore, I will confidently let go of my reins. If I was to fall on an open trail - which I have not done yet (Touch wood), then I would probably be more careful to not let go.
You guys are going to think that I'm crazy, but if you want things to slow down, breathe. That is the one thing that barrel racing taught me that I use in my everyday life, and here about 6 years ago, it probably saved my life.
When you maintain a steady breathing pattern, everything seems to slow down when things go awry. Most people don't even realize they are doing it, but if you finish a pattern and you're breathing as hard or harder than the horse is, you have been holding your breath. I actually used to have a friend that as I ran into the arena, would yell "Breath" at me when I passed him. I also found that after I learned to breathe while competing, I learned to fall off in a controlled manner, because I could actually think about what was happening. Also, when you tense up when you see/feel the fall coming, you tend to hold your breathe, which tenses you up even more. And that increases your chances of an injury, and at the very least increases how sore you are the next day or even late that day.
everything seems to go in slow motion and i keep thinking to myself.."this is gunna hurt"! I think the key to not breaking anything is not to tense up :)
hahaha my thinking too :)
my friends, the rare ones that have seen me come off, tease me about when I fall it looks like I have frozen in place and fall how I was sitting.
Over time I have learned how to manage my falling grace with
a.) cling on to whatever I can get my hands on so that I do not fall off.
b.) try to make it look like I wanted to fall off not that I couldn't help it.
it has been a good little while since my last fall.....about a year and a half ago....and it was not graceful at all.....I did the whole cartoon thing were you go soring through the air and come to a sliding stop on your face
kind of like this dude did.....
but of course I went flying over the horses head into dirt...leaving me with this lovely injury :)
After you have been in enough wrecks you kinda learn from muscle memory when to bail, tuck and roll or when to hold on, or claw your way back on.
I had a horse in high school that bucked me off on regular basis, hard bucker, I had a stock contractor offer to buy him at a rodeo I was at..lol, so I had a lot of practice. I learned when if I just blew a pedal and got a little sideways I could ride back up into it or if I was too far gone to check out. And anytime a horse comes over backwards I will push out in a hurry.
Sure you are going to have a few that catch you off guard, I had a horse that bucked then I pulled his head up too hard and flopped him over on myself...my fault. Or a 30 mph face plant from my pony sticking his feet in some cable, didn't see it coming, but that is the risk you take riding. You will get the feel, just like anything else with horses, on what you need to do.
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