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post #11 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dustbunny View Post
Really? At a full gallop I'd be looking for a water landing. Most of the times I have come off a horse I really didn't have time to prepare for the "take-off." In all seriousness, I am not trying to be a smart-a#$, but how do you fall properly? Between the point of separation from the horse, being suspended in mid-air like a Warner Brothers cartoon character, and the eventual splat on the ground, there is not a lot of time to get in position.
Falling properly involves a bunch of techniques, that you need to practice to get fixed in your muscle memory.

1) Don't tense up your body or the fall will be a nasty one and you increase your risk of a broken bone or three. Be as floppy as possible.

2) ROLL. Especially if you're flying head first. The difference between rolling and not rolling could be the difference between a bit of a sore body and a lifetime in a wheelchair. By flopping, you make it easier for your body to roll and to avoid your head and spine (esp neck) taking the brunt of the impact.

3) Do NOT stick out your hands. A hard one as it goes against all instinct. But putting out your hands to stop a fall will prevent the floppiness for starters, and also dramatically increases the chances of breaking wrists or arms, or dislocating a shoulder.

4) As soon as you're on the ground, ROLL again. Get away from those hooves. Be aware of your situation.

Best way to learn good falling techniques is to watch race falls. Not only do those jockeys have to avoid hurting themselves in the fall itself, they also have to get away from the many pairs of hooves thundering around them. This stuff takes lots of practice to get right, they actually have training courses for it (for jockeys mostly). But you can practice at home by falling or being pushed onto cushions til you learn to relax your body.

I can tell you that, having been bucked off countless times in the past few years, thanks to my regular practice of good falling techniques the worst injuries I have received from falls have been a broken toe (coming out of the stirrup) and mild concussion (my helmet came off when I landed and I hit a stone). I have a very weak neck from a gymnastics accident aged 7, I cannot sleep with my head turned left without waking up unable to move it. Yet with coming off in a head-first manner so many times I have never once experienced neck pain, because I relax and roll.

As for emergency dismounts - yes these can be done even at full gallop, although that generally reduces the chances of you remaining on your feet. Kick both feet out of the stirrups (a good idea anyway to prevent dragging), make sure your hands aren't caught up in the reins or mane, and swing a leg. Generally you'll end up landing on your feet then on your butt, but try and be as relaxed as possible in all your muscles, and roll away from the horse and any horses behind you. Why learn an emergency dismount? Surely it's better to stick on? Well, not if your horse is going toward a cliff or barb-wire fence, or is galloping blind down a hill or into traffic!

OP - look up the one rein stop. This has to be taught in a safe environment first so the horse knows to flex when you grab one rein. Failing that, try and aim a galloping horse at a hill or even a small incline, if there is any around. Generally, for some reason, even a very fit (as in competing endurance) horse will gallop up the hill (and it is much easier to keep your seat going up a hill) then stop at the top, or at least break into a trot, in which case you can gracefully slip over the side.
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post #12 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 12:53 PM
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Falling is all part of getting on a horse anyone who never expects to fall is fooling themselves!
I was lucky in that I learnt to fall as a child - I wasn't taught it just happened through experience!
Evil is correct in all said except for the dismount at speed. Whether at a walk or gallop you need to throw your leg clear, best by taking weight on your hands either side of the withers, as you throw your leg over you twist your body so you land facing the same way as the horse and land running.
If you watch Prince Phillip Cup on YouTube you will see the children doing this as they play the games - it will transfer to doing it in an emergency.

Start at a walk and progress from that.
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post #13 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 12:56 PM
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post #14 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 02:03 PM
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Dustbunny, it takes practice but yes it is doable at a full gallop, EVILHORSE OF DOOM explains how quite well. I learnt from a little pony when I was very little who used to put me on the floor regularly, he never did it in a way that seriously hurt me but you very quickly learnt to relax, roll and DONT stick your arms out. I also did mounted pc games on him and he expected you to get on and off at the canter no dallying around with that stopping lark.

Heck i've done it from a horse who was at a full gallop in a blind panic with my saddle slipping halfway down its side. At that point I realised I was not going to be able to stay on it so decided to choose the manner of my dismount. I lost the stirrups, turned myself so that my side/hip (far stronger than your shoulder) would hit the floor first and I tucked both my arms into my chest, all this whilst dismounting from a horse who was bolting (as in blind panic going through fences bolting, he then continued going for a mile and a half). When I hit the ground I rolled for probably 100ft, I then got up and legged it after the horse. I suffered no injuries at all from the fall onto grass so hard it was like concrete.

I dont bail out often but when I do I makesure I'm not going to be hurt doing it, which is why in 25+ years of playing with some fairly dangerous horses and hitting the ground often on a daily basis, the only major injury I have had was from the one horse I thought was safe so didnt bail out!

For me I've done it so many times I dont have to think about it, it is instinctual.
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RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

Last edited by faye; 07-31-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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post #15 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 02:22 PM
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Thank you. This would have been a good thing to learn as a child...riding a pony! I hope my days of riding a rocket are over. But with a horse (any horse) one never knows. I will think TUCK/ROLL!
Maybe a senior gymnastics class would be good.

Sorry, OP. Didn't mean to hijack your thread.
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post #16 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 02:28 PM
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The worst thing you can do when you are headed for a fall is think "this is going to hurt" that thought automaticly tenses every muscle in your body bracing for impact.

If you think like i do "oh b**** here we go again, anouther d*mn dry cleaning bill" (why does it always happen when i'm in my show stuff) then you tend to be more floppy when you hit the floor!

Think relax, tuck and roll and 99% of the time you will be fine.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #17 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 03:53 PM
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I used to deal with horses like this and always carried a riding crop. If they wanted to run, then run they did but on my terms, not theirs. If a horse won't turn a smack up the side of the face works. The key thing here is he doesn't get to stop when he decides he's had enough. He's made to keep going until he feels like he's pulling a big anchor and puffing hard. Only then is he allowed to walk and not in the direction of home for another 10 min or so. He's gotten away with this before and this is the only way to fix it. My preference was for loose footing, sand or summer fallow.

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post #18 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I feel a lot better. I started letting those negative thoughts creep in and was feeling like this horse would never be fit for me to ride outside the round pen.

FWIW, I did lunge him in his tack before the ride. Thought I lunged till he was supple and relaxed and focused. Somehow by the time we got to the mounting block, he got wound up. I won't make that mistake again.

I do wear a helmet, thank goodness! I think I would have been a lot more scared if I didn't. Although during this wild ride, it fell down over my eyes too far at one point and I realized it doesn't fit that well! It's snug on my forehead so I'm not quite sure what went wrong. I think maybe my ponytail loosed a lot and changed the fit of the helmet.

I totally understand the thinking of whomever said they wouldn't want to buy an arena or performance horse. I did have that in mind while shopping, since my leased horse was a rodeo horse and I hated his "go go go" attitude. He was seven and this horse is 22 (I was told he was just 18...) so I thought it'd be different. The former owner also said this horse was trail-ready and had been a trail horse all his life in addition to barrels and other rodeo stuff.

She said you could put a 3yo on his back, give them the reins and let them go. Maybe in a round pen or in his pasture where he lived the last few years. But not in the real world! When I have led him around with my 6yo and 8yo on his back, he's very easy going and almost seems protective of them. But I would cut off my arm before I'd hand them the reins--even in the round pen.

When my 14yo and 18yo have ridden him on their own (bareback and under saddle) he's slowed down from a trot after a couple minutes of direction changes. Of course they haven't ridden him since the barn sourness started. And that didn't start until we started using the trainer. So I don't know.

The alfalfa is going to be gone...we're phasing it out over a week's time. This is his third day on half and half for his hay and then I'm going to all bermuda. I've cut out the alfalfa pellets and replaced with bermuda pellets. He gets a vitamin supplement, joint supplement, rice bran, sweating supplement and Omega Horseshine...instead of mixing that with a quart of Sr. pellets (which weighs 4 pounds) we are cutting him down to a cup of Sr. pellets...just enough to mix in the supplements, some of which are powder. I also have Quietex that I've started giving him to see if I can calm him faster while we get rid of all the excess alfalfa!

The trainer's last visit for a while was Monday and she said he's become terribly barn sour in the arena too. Greeeeeat! She said he kept bolting for the gate and wouldn't walk in a straight line. I know she corrects him but she says that where most horses would give up after 2-3 corrections, he is so stubborn that he will fight and fight and fight. That just seems to get more pronounced as he's healthier. But yeah, the alfalfa is GONE!

As for me, I'm going to get this first ride post-terrifying experience out of the way, soon. :P I've got a few people at the barn who will help me with him until the trainer comes back (hubby said I have to cut expenses this month as we're buying a house...or trying LOL) so I don't plan on doing it without someone in the pen with me. I definitely want to practice tight circles and the one-rein start. He's very stiff in the neck and doesn't like to bend that way, but I guess the only way around that is practice! Then I'll work him/ride him in the pen but instead of returning him to his stall, I'll turn him out for a bit. When I was with him last night, I tied him up in the hallway outside his stall for 30 minutes and did his grooming there whereas before I was doing it in the stall while he ate (dumb!).

Last edited by lilypoo; 07-31-2013 at 08:42 PM.
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post #19 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 08:42 PM
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You do not need to phase the alfalfa out, just take it away. A horse's system is not sensitve when things are taken away, only added.

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post #20 of 40 Old 07-31-2013, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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*stop LOL

That's good to know. The barn manager didn't think it'd be a good idea to change it abruptly and he gets the hay from the barn, so I agreed to a week of half and half before going to 100% grass. I did change the pellets all at once and cut back the Sr. to 1/2 pound from 4 pounds. I can have them start 100% grass hay tonight or tomorrow though!

Last edited by lilypoo; 07-31-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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