New to riding - keep falling! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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New to riding - keep falling!

Hi, I've only been riding since last fall. When I started out riding everything seemed to come quickly and naturally. Then at the end of June I was working on the canter, and my instructor let me cantor off the lunge line for the first time around the rink. Everything was fine the first few times around, then my horse got feisty and yanked her head forward aggressively, and due to my own poor position and inexperience, I went right over. Ended up landing on my head with a concussion that kept me out of work for a week.

After a month off I went back to my lessons, and things seemed to be going fine. Then last night we were again working on the canter. When we worked in a small circle at the top of the ring everything was fine. My instructor gave me the green light to try a loop around the full ring. 3/4 of the way around I felt my horse transition to a full gallop. I tried to slow her down, but she refused and started bucking. I held on through 2 bucks, but on the third one she sent me sliding forward down her neck. I hit the ground on my butt and back (thankfully not my head!), and the horse stepped on my shin before immediately backing up (I'm only slightly bruised thanks to my boots).

I got back on a few minutes later, and we put the lunge line on the horse. I did a few turns at a trot, then a canter. We stopped and repeated. The horse tried once more to transition from canter to gallop, but I was able to retain her this time.

My instructor says that while people have fallen from her horse before, she's never seen her horse buck off a rider. Normally she lets even her youngest riders learn on this horse, because she's typically very calm and hard to get excited, though she is only 6 years old.

My questions to the forum are:

1) Do you think maybe I'm doing something that is encouraging the horse to get excited and act up? My instructor says my positioning is great, and I doubt I'm giving too much leg, but I am open to hearing what you might think.

2) What should I have done in this situation? I will discuss it with my instructor, but I am wondering if you guys have any thoughts on what to do when your horse takes off/bucks like that.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 01:01 PM
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1. It's possible. Since children ride this horse it's possible the tack doesn't fit and your weight makes the horse really feel the bad fit. It could also be that the horse is a turd. Your trainer certainly seems to be a bit of a turd for allowing you to keep riding this horse.

2. If you're immediately thrown off balance and are falling there isn't much you can do. Some people will try to turn the horse and make it disengage its hindquarters (basically make it move so that it can't move its legs to buck) or a pulley rein. Honestly after the first fall like that I would have asked for a better trainer horse and would have moved on otherwise. A bucking horse is not suitable for beginners.
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post #3 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 01:11 PM
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1) You could have been squeezing with your knees. I would ask for a different horse for you to learn on while the horse you were riding can be ridden by someone more experienced to fix her problem.

Keep going, keep moving forward. You'll get it together someday.
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post #4 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 01:19 PM
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I'm with DancingArabian. It doesn't sound like this horse is a suitable beginner lesson horse. IMO very few 6 year olds are. They usually don't have the mental maturity to be a reliable, consistent mount and don't have the time under saddle to be "beginner broke" (especially considering that many lesson barns don't take the time to put trainers/advanced riders on these horses for regular tune ups)

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post #5 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I just texted my instructor and asked to switch horses. She said yes without hesitation. I'm probably going to do my next lesson on the 14 yr old quarter horse at the stable (the one who gave me trouble is 6 yr old mix between pony and work horse). She says we'll do it on the lunge though, just to be safe.

To clarify, she didn't buck me off the first time. She just pulled her head forward, and instead of pulling back on the reins to bring her head up, I fell forward because I was already leaning too far forward. I could see why my instructor didn't necessarily blame the horse that time around.

This is my instructor's personal horse, so she rides her frequently. I am guessing though, that it is a combination of her being young and unpredictable, and probably some error on my own part.

Thanks for the advice on trying to turn a bucking horse to make her engage her back legs. I was so busy trying to stay on and at the same time make her stop that my thoughts didn't move fast enough to that analysis. I will definitely keep it in the back of my head though, should I ever have to deal with it again (hopefully not though!).

P.S. Did I mention that my parents were in town visiting and came to see my lesson yesterday? Talk about getting a show! Mom said it looked like the rodeo.
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post #6 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherby84 View Post
To clarify, she didn't buck me off the first time. She just pulled her head forward, and instead of pulling back on the reins to bring her head up, I fell forward because I was already leaning too far forward. I could see why my instructor didn't necessarily blame the horse that time around.
.
This may be why the horse moved from a canter to the gallop though. If you are sitting too far forward, or giving a "forward' cue, the horse will speed up.
I am guessing your instructor probably has a really good "seat" and sits the canter on her butt. This would cue the horse to stay in the slower gait.
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post #7 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 02:38 PM
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Here is another idea.
Work in general on your balance.
Great balance makes it harder to fall off, no matter the situation.
learning to walk, circles, figure 8's, loops, direction changes, bareback will help you tons and tons with balance.
Ask your instructor if there is a horse at the barn who is used to being ridden bareback, and ask your instructor if they are comfortable teaching bareback.
I still ride bareback alot, even as an adult, and am always surprised at the balance it takes to sit, with your legs just hanging, (not grasping the horse with them) while the horse it doing turns, cones, and such.
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post #8 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 03:11 PM
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It really sounds like it's a problem with you. I think you need a lot of no stirrup and lunge line work. You really need to strengthen yourself and improve your balance. It's boring and tedious work, but it's important!!

As for the horse, 1. If this is a school horse, I don't think it should be one, and certainly not a beginner canter horse. 2. Horses just don't buck out of thin air. There has to be a warning behind the buck, a swishing tail, tossing head, etc.

When I teach lessons I am FOREVER reading the body language of the horse. I know what's a "normal" 'tude and what I need to be concerned about. When I'm watching a horse and rider pair I know when to say "ok, now walk." Before things get crazy.

Maybe falling off twice in a row is coincidental, but if it happens again id start looking at new places to ride.
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post #9 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 03:26 PM
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I ditto everyone else and especially the point about working on your balance. This horse doesn't sound like he's really suitable for a beginner, but by leaning forward you may have been signaling him to speed up.

Before I worked on a canter, I'd work more on my balance. Bareback on a lunge line is invaluable. Another little trick is to imagine an egg between your boot and the stirrup. You want your balance to originate in your seat....not depending on your stirrups. You can do this by getting rid of the saddle...or getting rid of the stirrups. (stirrups/irons, whatever you want to call them.) It takes some people longer than others and dealing with a bucking horse doesn't speed up the process. First you get the seat....THEN you learn to ride out a buck. Good luck. It will come.

It sounds stupid, but you might also get one of those huge balls that people with bad backs use in place of chairs. Balance is balance. You need to train all those little muscles to automatically keep you upright and strengthen them at the same time. Use the ball rather than a chair. It will help you sit straight, and work on your balance at the same time. The fitter your abdominals, back and thigh muscles are the easier it will be. Try it. It might help.
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post #10 of 35 Old 08-20-2014, 03:57 PM
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Another thing that could cause her to try to go faster ..what about your foot position? If you inadvertantly have your heels into her side and don't have a stable lower leg, you could be accidently bumping her and asking her to go faster. Surely your instructor would see that, though.
Just another thought.

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advice wanted , bucking horse , canter , gallop , new rider

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