Advice for the First Fall
What advice would you give to a newbie rider regarding their first time hitting the ground?
Don't, it hurts!
Get it over with so you won't worry about it so much. Once you are at that point of no return, where your balance is beyond recovery, you will have a milisecond of terror, then you hit the ground. The thing is, once you are beyond recovery, there is no point worrying too much. It happens fast, so your actual experience of fear is very short.
Try to stay relaxed as possible. MOST of the time you just roll of the side of your horse and boink on the ground. Brings back memories of childhood when you would be running full speed and trip and hit the ground and knock the wind out of you. If you survived that, you will survive MOST falls.
Also, you get great stories to tell other riders!
Don't even think about it ;) If you're constantly thinking about falling, then chances are, you probably will fall. You'll make yourself nervous, then the horse will become tense and hence - you fall.
Just take each ride as it comes and when you fall, you'll probably know whether you're gutsy enough to make it as a ride or whether to pack it in because you're terrified of getting back on.
After you find out that nothing's broken, get back up and get right back on that horse. I won't lie to you and tell you that it doesn't hurt, because it does. However, it isn't anything that is unbearable or something to be feared. It's kind of like getting a papercut. Right when it happens you are like "Yeouch, that HURT!!" Then the initial stun wears off and after that it's more of an annoyance than anything.
Also, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed if/when you fall. It happens to everyone, even the best of riders come off sometimes. Just laugh it off and keep going. :D
LET GO OF THE REINS!!!
I know it's hard to do and you'll have to catch your horse, but think of your horses mouth. I've done this too even though I hated it. We were miles from the stable, but I did as much as I could to not let it pull on the horses mouth. He spooked, jumped sideways and off I went.
Also, don't brace for the fall. Tuck and roll but try to not tense up. When you try to brace with your arm as you hit, there's a lot of force when your hand hits the ground. That's where you'll break your wrist or arm. If you tense up, more likely you'll pull some muscles.
I agree with trying not to think about it too much. i have a friend who falls all the time for some reason and she just brushes it off like it's nothing, she's completely used to all of a sudden being on the ground. Unfortunately i didn't fall for the first few year i rode and when i did it was pretty big ( i wasn't hurt too badly it just seemed like a huge fall) and did put me off for a while, i got back on but there was always this nagging feeling and i stupidly carried that around with me. Now i don't think about it and i have more fun because of that.
I also agree with trying not to be tense, i have another friend who tensed up when she fell off her TWH and she shattered her wrist and is now terrified of falling ff him so she makes him all crazy with worrying.
Get back on. Really, it makes a difference. I don't fall off a lot, but my first "big" fall was on the road and I ended up with cracked ribs, sprained knee and ankle, fractured wrist, and road rash. I got back on because we were a couple miles from home, and I needed to. I didn't suffer any fear issues from that. My most recent fall was only a couple months ago, and I physically couldn't get back on (I hit my hips/back on a railroad tie coming off a huge horse). I was on bed rest for a week but didn't break/fracture/sprain/crack anything. It took me until yesterday to get on a horse again for any length of time.
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My first fall was stupid, and I have it on video. We go over a 30cm jump, and I fall off 2 strides later, no idea how.
It was only about a month ago hahah
You don't have time to think about curling into a ball, letting go of the reins, or not tensing. One minute your up on the horse, and the next the ground is zooming towards you..
Luckily I was riding in sand at the time, so I wasn't even winded. BUT I always wear gloves now.. The only thing I hurt was my left hand because the reins gave me rope burn and I sprained my finger.. Haha :)
I didn't get back on that day because of my hand, but had no problems getting on a few days later, when it was a bit more healed.
Just don't think about it.
And whatever you do, DON'T blame the horse. Unless it was deliberately rearing or bucking because of respect issues. But even then, by the time you get up and over to the horse, it is too late to punish.
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