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corgi 01-01-2011 06:54 PM

What to do when a horse falls while you are riding
Luckily, neither one of us was hurt but this was the first time I experienced anything like this and I have no idea if I handled it the right way or not.

We went for a New Year's trail ride today. It had finally warmed up enough to melt all the snow but left in its place, a lot of mud.

We had just headed out and were walking down a slope when Huck slipped in the mud and went down.

It was a very gentle fall. It was really more of a slide. But he ended up on his front "elbows" and with his left hip fully on the ground.

I had no idea what to do. All the other riders gasped out loud. But Huck just laid there for a moment, looking embarrassed (according to my husband). He seemed to mull over his options, took a deep breath and got back on his feet...all with me still in the saddle and both feet in the stirrups. The whole episode took about 7 seconds.

Should I have gotten off of him while he was on the ground? Or was staying in the saddle okay?

Like I said, it all happend so quickly, I really didn't have time to think but I guess it would be good to know the proper way to react if this happens again. My main concern was Huck being hurt but once he got on his feet, he was walking just fine. I was so scared he had hurt himself. I am seriously considering leasing this horse..he is such a trusty trail horse.

I know I was lucky that he didn't roll over on me.

So....has this ever happened to anyone and what is the right thing to do? Hop off while you are on the ground or hang on while they get up?

I now have a healthy respect for mud.:lol:

Honeysuga 01-01-2011 07:01 PM

Yeah, mud is no fun for sure. I would have hopped off, but seeing as he was not hurt and it was a gentle fall I don't think you did anything bad. If it oly took 7 seconds for this to happen then you were probably still in shock so its not a big deal. But yes, when your horse falls, it is generally advisable to get off and assess any injuries and if the horse is ok, help it get up and moving again.

MyBoyPuck 01-01-2011 07:07 PM

Yeah, if that happens again, just hop off and walk him a bit to make sure all is good before moving on.

rottenweiler 01-01-2011 07:08 PM

I have been on horses that have fallen and luckily not been fallen ON. I say if there's TIME to safely get off then i would do that, but 7 seconds doesn't seem like enough time and might have startled him more. I was on a horse that tripped and went rolling forward and I came off. It was all slow motion so I wasn't hurt but I heard people yelling GET UP GET UP GET UP!!!! I was so startled I got up and started to run, luckily too because the horse was still rolling forward and would have landed right on me!

Honeysuga 01-01-2011 07:55 PM

The only one I was ever on during a fall rolled on top of me and broke my ribs and bruised my lung... Im happy you are both ok! the biggest thing to do is to not panic. Try to keep your head and assess the situation before you do anything.

equiniphile 01-01-2011 08:06 PM

I would have taken my feet out of the stirrups, much safer if you needed to ditch. I've only ever been on a horse going down once, a few months ago, when Molly and I were practicing gymhana and she just went down. I fell off and blacked out, so I didn't exactly have control over what to do lol :lol.

flytobecat 01-01-2011 08:16 PM

Like Honeysuga said try not to panic. If you have enough time to think, get off in case he rolls.
He must be a pretty good horse since he didn't freak out.

GreyRay 01-01-2011 08:18 PM

The first time I had a horse fall over I was 5 and mom was lungeing me on my horse. We picked it up to a trot, and them my little sister ran out in front of him. He ended up slipping and falling while avioding her, and my foot got caught in the stirrup and my ankle was sprained.

The second time was in 08. I was riding my dads horse on the road, he was being unruly, and ended up flipping foreword at a slow canter. I went sliding into the other lane and had a broken wrist, an odd bump on my elbow, and road rash on my knee. He had a scrape above his eye.

Both times I didnt get the choice to stay on or get off LOL!

I think you handled it OK. It happened pretty fast. :)
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aspin231 01-01-2011 08:32 PM

I was riding Whiskey when he went down last February or so, in the same conditions you describe- muddy! We were riding uphill and turning a corner, at a slow trot, when his back leg just slipped out from underneath him (he was slightly off the drier part of the trail) and he fell on his side. I had my feet out of the stirrups as soon as I realized what was going on!
If it ever happens again in the future, do as the others suggested and take your feet out of the stirrups and be ready to do an emergency dismount.

corgi 01-01-2011 09:29 PM

Thanks everyone! I will definitely take my feet out of the stirrups if something like that ever happens again. And thanks for not making me feel bad for staying on. :)
Huck is a wonderful horse...super calm...nothing fazes him but I am sure a different horse may have freaked out a bit. In addition, we were lucky that he didn't roll over on my foot. From now on, I will be ready to get off in a hurry.

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