Falling off!

Princess16

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Was talking to someone today who said that apparently you are not a proper rider until you have fallen off 7 times eeek! Having read some of the posts on here with regards to injuries sustained I do salute you getting back on!

Just wondered in what capacity do you think most riders fall off ? Is it out hacking when horse spooks, jumping, galloping etc

Why have you fallen off? Was it your fault or your trusty steed's ?
 

Cowpony

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Almost all of mine have been jumping, usually from dirty stops. My current mare is totally honest, but she did ping me out of the saddle when she took off about 3 strides away from a jump about a year ago. It was her first jumping competition after a year off due to injury, and we were both a bit rusty!
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Last one 2 months ago and still got fractured shoulder - mare fell on the road and jumped sideways i landed on my left shoulder

one before boy bronked on the yard due to livery casuing accident to him which resulted in an imnflamed back which I did not know so he bronked on concrete - result broken humerus in half

one before again boy bronked due to his back being out - result fractured ribs and i should have been 6ft under

many others over the years take too long to explain
 

pennandh

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I grew up on the whole 'seven falls before you can call yourself a rider' thing - kids bounce; so all was well. To be honest, my fall-count is probably closer to seventy than seven nowadays, but that doesn't actually add up to more than a few falls a year averaged out.

As to the most likely times to fall, that depends a bit. There were plenty of times when I was a kid (with tiny legs) that I got deposited by a suddenly-dropped head (because grass, as we all know, is just too tempting for some ponies). Once I could actually reach past the bottom of the saddle-flaps it was more things like catleaps; spooking; etc.

Worst fall I ever had (in terms of injury) was out on a group hack when I was 13. We took turns cantering up a hill and then walked back down to the group. Well, that was the idea - I got a lovely collected canter up the hill, straight down to walk at the top with barely any need to ask; turned round, walked three strides, then extended canter back down culminating in a handbrake-turn on the pony's part which saw us part ways. I ploughed a groove in the hillside with my shoulder; had to be picked up by my mum because I couldn't lift my arm high enough to get back on (pony was ridden home in disgrace by one of the supervising adults), and discovered in A&E that I'd snapped my humerus just below the shoulder and had to spend 10 weeks in a sling. First week of my summer holiday when it happened, too; so I couldn't ride all summer.

Funniest fall was a year or two before, when my pony put in a huge buck that had me just onto his withers; fell over, launching me up his neck; and then got back up, at which point I slid off sideways from just behind his ears. Instructor said she wished someone had filmed it.

Still ride the same pony as in the two instances specified (he's rising 20 nowadays, and still as much of a character as ever), and still fall off every so often. I stick on a lot better than I used to, but then I have had 11 years of practice at anticipating what Mr H is likely to react to. It's unexpected changes of momentum that tend to get people off, and once you've learnt to spot them coming, half the battle's won already.
 

Nudibranch

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My last few falls have all been treeless saddle related...dodgy mounting out hacking really. So my own fault. I've a pretty good seat for spins, bucks, rears, etc, and I don't think I've come off at speed since I was a kid. Touch wood.....
 

Starzaan

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Initially riders will fall because they haven't yet developed their seat or a real feel. So, if a horse spooks they may well hit the deck.

Eventually riders will end up generally only falling off if they are forcibly ejected - bucked off, dirty stop, horse falling etc.

Some riders will have a natural stickability, and some won't. But you do develop feel and a good seat with a lot of riding.

I can't remember the last time I just 'fell off', but it was definitely over ten years ago. I have, however, been ejected a few times in the last few years. In Mexico in 2012 my horse flipped over whilst galloping, then about six months later I had a livery in to school who did a spectacular series of handstands and lobbed me over the school fence. Last fall was three years ago when a livery was having trouble with her youngster. She asked if I would have a sit, which I did three times. The first two rides were eventful, but nothing terrible. A few leaps and little bucks and bunny hops, but nothing awful. The last however was horrendous. The second my bum touched the saddle the horse wanted me off. I sat for two laps of the indoor school - when I say sat, I mean I clung on while the bloody thing properly broncked round the school, with the odd stop, shoulder drop and spin thrown in. I gave up in the end and flew off, breaking my coccyx.

I've had some spectacular accidents, but with the number of horses I ride a day, compared with the number of falls, it's actually not bad at all. Up to six horses a day, usually three or four.

Saying all this, I've got polo ponies to canter in sets tomorrow. I'm gonna be a goner aren't I?! :D
 

BBP

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My last one, I let pony canter too fast in a place where I knew he'd be spooky, let him bowl on way too quickly he teleported sideways at high speed (killer sparrow or something) and I came off and smashed my helmet to bits on a rock. Lucky me, unlucky helmet.

Helmet was only 2 weeks old as my previous fall was not far before that when pony was more concerned with sideways teleporting than cross country jumping but missed the piece of rising ground, crossed his legs over and flipped us both.

Fall before that, traction control failure, we both hit the deck.

Been bronced off a few times.
 

MDB

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Fallen off once as a child and four times in two years.
1. As a child, pony refused jump sensing my lack of confidence. Went over his head. Foot caught un stirrup. Pony spooked and cantered off with me dangling upside down. Caught by instructor what seemed like an eternity later. No injuries.
2. When my previous gelding spooked, he took off from being stationary whilst riding him in the field, lost both stirrups, reached the end of the field, got to the fence, horse slid to a stop from a full gallop and spun in a millisecond. Off I slid. No injuries but took 4 weeks for the aches and pains to resolve.
3. Went for a lovely hack on my mare. Stood in the field afterwards. Somehow managed to get my limbs tangled upon dismount and ended up flat on my back staring up at my mare, who was looking down at me thinking 'you idiot'.
4. Fell off twice within 5 minutes trying to mount said mare after a 4 month break from riding. She had changed shape and her saddle clearly did not fit. She turned into a bucking bronco and catapulted me into the air. Hit my head on the ground but again no injuries thankfully. She now has a new saddle!
 

Bernster

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Hah, I hate it and do everything I can to try not to, apart from stopping doing the
Activity that's most likely to result in falls (jumping). Go figure. Not fallen off loads though as I am pretty cautious, but did go out the side door a few times due to dirty stops or run outs on my previous gelding who wasn't very brave xc.

Fell off my mare only once, when she put her foot in a pot hole and went right over, I had no chance. Rolled head first into the road. Neither of us injured. Very lucky. She is a buzzy forward thing but I always felt safe and never fell off her other than that one time.

Toppled off the new fella about 3 months in, when he shied and went sideways after a jump, kind of glad I got the first fall over with, and it was uneventful and more due to me not appreciating that he might be a bit looky as I'd not had him long and he hadn't done much xc.
 

BBP

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I'd like to add to my last fall - I had done 400 squats at crossfit the night before, my legs were about as much use as two pieces of soggy spaghetti. I probably would have fallen off if he so much as sneezed, let alone mid gallop violent shy. Hindsight says it wasn't the best idea to do a 5am ride after a hardcore workout the night before. Worst part was once I'd regained my senses and wiped the blood from my face I had to try to pursue the pony for about a mile on my useless spaghetti legs.
 

atropa

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In the 9 years I've been riding, I've only managed to properly fall off 3 times:
#1 riding school pony, took off round the school with me, then ducked left, I came off to the right and landed on my feet
#2 hacking out my old boy, he took off galloping up a hill and round a corner after another horse from our yard, I wasn't in control and half bailed/half came off whilst he galloped off home
#3 bucked off old share boy when I asked him to canter in the snow to flick the balled stuff out of his feet. I'm usually quite good at sitting bucks but he went twice and I somersaulted over his head and landed flat on my back.

I worry a lot that I'm overdue a horrendous fall due to my luckiness so far :\ I haven't fallen off my new mare yet, but have come extremely close several times after she's stopped at jumps.
 

alainax

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Initially riders will fall because they haven't yet developed their seat or a real feel. So, if a horse spooks they may well hit the deck.

Eventually riders will end up generally only falling off if they are forcibly ejected - bucked off, dirty stop, horse falling etc.
That's interesting you say that. I have sat many a dirty stop, some serious bucking etc and rarely fell off at that. However I did have one who would drop the shoulder one way spook and tank off the other, fell off a few times with that!

I would say the opposite! There would not be much chance of falling off from bucking or refusuals, but a nasty drop spin and tank...
 

JennBags

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That's interesting you say that. I have sat many a dirty stop, some serious bucking etc and rarely fell off at that. However I did have one who would drop the shoulder one way spook and tank off the other, fell off a few times with that!

I would say the opposite! There would not be much chance of falling off from bucking or refusuals, but a nasty drop spin and tank...

Yeah me too. I hardly, fell off for years, then I got my current horse and I've fallen off him more times than I can remember, he's sharp as a knife and I've fallen off him at walk more than once, as he's just disappeared from under me. He can buck for England but I've not come off with a buck, or a fly buck, or even a bronc, but when he spins...The best piece of kit I've ever bought was my neck strap, it's saved me countless times now!
 

NZJenny

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I have lost count of the number of times I have hit the ground in 40 something years of riding, but in my defence it was always assisted!

The worst one of the lot was a 14.2 hh Part bred Arabian mare who could teleport. My current TB/Clydie cross is a total amateur in the shying department, but she can buck with the best of them if she has a mind to, only once so far thankfully.
 

huskydamage

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I consider myself to have properly fallen off once actually! When jumping and pony ran out I smashed through poles alone lol all my other numerous 'falls' I was either chucked out the saddle or the horse fell over.
 

Dave's Mam

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My first ever fall was off an 11.2 pony. I was 11, the wee git napped to the right to his pals after a cavaletto & ditched me out the side door. I ended up in hospital for 5 weeks with a smashed elbow. (Traction is not fun).

More recently, ie before my 20 odd year break from riding was on a 6 yr old 16.2 (belonged to my instructor, I was working for lessons at the time) across some 2ft high XC fences & he decided to dunk his head & buck for fun. I held on to his neck for the first 2, the 3rd planted me flat on my arse.

Everything else has been my fault.
 
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rachk89

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If 7 is all you need to be good I must be a pro. :p

Nah definitely not but had my fair share of falls. What gets me off now is bolting. Usually horse bolts from spooking and if it darts to one side that's me off. I did fall off an ex racer when he bolted professional rted bucking as i didn't come off at first but to be fair I had just gotten on him and only had one stirrup.

My current horse hasn't got me off yet but we have had close calls when attempting jumping. He once bucked 3 times in a row because I didn't let him follow a horse and that didn't even move me from the saddle. I was surprised as when he tried bucking off a professional he almost had the guy off a few times but he was throwing in rears now and then too I didn't get that behaviour
 

Starzaan

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By spook I mean a shy sideways or a simple shooting forwards. Not the ridiculous spinning and shoulder dropping my youngster is prone to!!

In my job I take people out on their first hacks and watching them develop a seat out hacking is really interesting. And the same in the school.

For instance - we have a riding school horse who ALWAYS spooks at the gate of the indoor school. Most new riders will hit the deck at least once when he does this, but in the intermediate and advanced lessons, it's barely noticeable. The riders at that level have either developed enough of a seat that they can just sit it, or have enough wits to actually ride him through it and tell him to get a grip. When I say he spooks, I mean he veers sideways and can rush past it. Nothing violent.

And when I say being forcibly ejected, I mean those times when the horse is simply saying 'nope. Get off now' or falls over itself. Not just a few bucks or broncs which I'm sure we've all sat with our own horses a fair few times. I mean the moments when they actively want you on the floor. And by dirty stop I meant the likes of a horse we have in for schooling at the moment - takes off early, slams front feet back down in front of fence without jumping, drops shoulder and pisses off back the way it came. That is spectacular to watch and I have only seen one person sit it!

Oops - sorry for essay!!
 

mytwofriends

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More than seven for me too! But then I've ridden for more than 40 years.

My most recent was in February last year when my little boy was in rehab coming out of box rest. I look back fondly at his antics now he's gone, but at the time I thought he was an idiot! He had the wind up his tail, and I really shouldn't have allowed him to trot that day, but isn't hindsight wonderful? He threw in three of the biggest bucks he'd ever done, deposited me on the third and legged it home! I was unhurt, but did the 10 minute walk of shame back to the farm, which took him about a minute!

He was PTS a couple of weeks ago due to something totally unrelated, but that episode did his tendon injury no favours at all. Little plonker, but I did love him!
 

fatpiggy

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Blimey, I used to ride a pony who specialised in dumping people who thought they could ride. He had me off 4 times in 2 hours one weekend. The wonderful thing about falling off is that it teaches you a number of life skills - the more you do it the better you get so when you slip on the ice, or trip over something, you automatically go into fall mode. I was knocked off my bike by a car and did a somersault over the handlebars. Straight into fall mode I tucked in, did a lovely parachute roll on the tarmac and got up with a grazed thumb and a bang to the inside of my elbow. The doctors at A&E couldn't believe that was all I had to show for it.

I only came off my mare twice in 17 years and both times were because she stumbled and as I was in forward seat I went out of the front door. The second one could have been very nasty we both rolled down the face of a slope and she was on her side above me trying to get up, so legs thrashing in all directions, and I was digging myself rapidly into a rabbit burrow for protection. She actually rolled clean over me but never actually touched me and we both got up, brushed ourselves down, had a trot up in hand to check all was well so I got back on and carried straight on in a steady gallop. I did have a numb hand because she had banged my ulnar nerve as she thrashed about, but that went away in good time.
 

Serianas

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Just three times (touch wood) for me, 25 years riding horses lol

First time was a *****land called Rosie who was one moment facing one way, next moment facing the other way... I was about 11 and had been riding quite a while

Second time I baled out of a flat gallop in the school on a Palamino called Kerri... couldn't stop so went for the baleout!

And last but not least my current NF pony Jack. Asked for canter, he got his legs tangled, I wasn't ready for it, he felt that and said 'gerroff' and I went legs over head over his head, was a little embarrassing. I then handed my money over for the little sod and by God Im now ready for him lol

p.s. Don't know if it counts but once got stuck doing an around the world. The metal bit on my johds got stuck on the saddle and I couldn't go anywhere... until they ripped leaving me bare a*sed on the school floor...
 

Annagain

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I was desperate to get to 7 when I was a kid. I've lost count now!

Most of my falls have been jumping on my current horse. We now know he had foot problems but it took a few years of stopping at fences (usually after picking up so you really thought he was going) before he actually went lame. He had investigations after the first 6 months (I thought something might be up as even then after just a few months of owning him I knew he wasn't a naughty horse) but they revealed nothing and there was another 2 years before anything became apparent.

In 14 years with my old boy I fell off him 6 times and they were nearly all really daft so I remember them all. Twice he also fell over, once my friend crashed into us as she couldn't stop and knocked me off him, another was when I went to get on and, instead of him walking forwards as he usually did, he went backwards so I went straight over the top. Another time, I got on him bareback showing off to my cousins who had come to see him. I think he knew it and put me in my place by spinning round and legging while I was mid vaulting on. The last one was when he stopped at a jump for the first time ever. He was 24 and was in the vet's the next day being x-rayed. He never jumped again :(
 

Auslander

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My theory is that the more experienced you are, the harder you hit the floor - because the horse has usually done something truly awful to dislodge a very experienced rider, so you end up being pile-driven into the ground at high speed. I haven't had a fall that didn't hurt like hell for years - apart from my last one, which was a few weeks ago, and as a result of being complacent. I was sitting like a cowboy, laughing at his shenanigans, when he added a new move to his repertoire, and dropped me. I landed on my feet, because he fired me so high in the air that I had about 3 weeks to get organised before I hit the deck.

I USUALLY get a "****'s about to get real" feeling, and take action to weld myself to the saddle. I used to break 2 yr olds before they went into training, which is a VERY good way to learn how to sit just about anything a horse can throw at you!
 

oldie48

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The old TB has had me off lots of times, he's built like a whippet with a neck that is set on a bit low and he is very sharp. He can spook so quickly, you're sitting on him one minute and the next he's looking at you on the ground. He also had a really dirty stop in him. My favourite horse related accident though is, I tripped over a speed bump running back to the lorry and broke my arm!
 

Fiona

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I never fell off my welshie apart when he fell a couple of times out hunting, but I've fallen off my TB and ended up admitted with concussion, and also once on the road when she bucked.

I'm sure I fell off loads of times at riding school as a kid though.

Fiona
 

Emby

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I only had 1 fall off the riding school ponies and horses I rode as a child and when I came back to riding as an adult. I didn't get a horse of my own till I had turned 40.
I think I had 3 or 4 falls off my first one - a TB gelding.
When looking for my 2nd horse I came close to getting a loan from Redwings. A newly backed 4 year old. After much consideration I decided I needed something a bit more experienced and bought a 7 year old section D mare.
I soon found out I'd bought a newly backed 7 year old!
I had 6 falls off her in the first 5 months - all but one were in the school, when she would bog off at speed with her head right up in the air and do a violent change of direction - and I'd go out of the side door every time.
We started to understand each other and things improved. Then out of the blue two years ago while out hacking, she did what children's ponies do all the time - she stopped mid trot for a snack and I flew over her head!
Things have been really good till about 7 or 8 weeks ago, when I had the first accident where I was seriously injured. I was out hacking alone, bimbling along on a loose rein - 110% relaxed - literally on the buckle - when she spooked at something, shot forwards and I rolled off the back - only I am fairly sure I didn't fall clear and was dragged a short distance.
I have no memory of hitting the ground, but my face was badly grazed and my coat was torn to bits. I had broken my collar bone and 3 ribs and had a punctured lung. My girly stayed with me. I came to and she was standing looking at me.
 

Lintel

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Load of rubbish.
That bring said I must be a really really real rider. Not so bad of late - he must be growing sensible in his old age! But I am off a good few times a year.. Off a total plod and safe as houses Highland who has one mega buck when he gets his game on!
 

Micropony

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My theory is that the more experienced you are, the harder you hit the floor - because the horse has usually done something truly awful to dislodge a very experienced rider, so you end up being pile-driven into the ground at high speed.

I share your theory, and have a couple of my own.

One is that unless you're some sort of superhuman amazing rider, if any horse really wants you off, you're a goner. There are "expressing an opinion "/being fresh antics, which can look and feel pretty hairy and theatrical, but aren't actually very unseating. Then there are "no fussing, no messing, get off my back NOW" antics.

The second is that some horses will actively try to keep you on in most situations if they can, whereas others leave you to look out for yourself, and might actively press the eject button if you get a bit unbalanced, as it scares them.

I used to think I had a reasonable seat and fairly good stickability, but my last horse taught me that actually I wasn't half as good at riding as I was at falling off! Came off him numerous times, including being bucked off onto concrete twice without so much as a bruise, and the worst injury I sustained was a badly sprained ankle. And on all but two or three of those occasions, a rider of the standard he felt he deserved would have stayed on him.
 
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