New horse, first ride, fell off - advice please

Heccyd

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21 March 2019
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First ride and did not go well, so looking for some advice please (warning, long post). All in the ménage. Basically, I didn’t ask him to canter but he took off and wouldn’t stop - I lost balance and stirrups and fell. Luckily the yard owner was there - she took control, lunged him a bit then I rode him on the lunge and the same thing happened. So she rode him - perfectly in control.

What I know:a)the stirrups were too long even on their shortest setting - now exchanged, b) I was nervous, c) he had loads of energy after 4 days of no riding (I should have lunged him while I was waiting to get the correct girth, I understand that now) d)when he wouldn’t stop for me I toppled forward which he took as a sign to take off e) he’s only been in his new home since Thursday e) I have a suspicion that he has not, in fact, been turned out regularly for a while and all the new grass is giving him beans.

What I plan to do: tomorrow I’m going to start training him to stop his fidgeting- when he moves around as I tack up I’ll stop and make him wait until he is still. When he moves when I try and mount, I’ll stop and turn him round and repeat until he stays still, and tomorrow before I ride him, I’ll lunge him to get rid of some energy. I’m also going to find an instructor who will come to the yard.

I’ve been riding almost 5 years, have regular lessons and of course, rode him when I viewed him (he behaved perfectly). Clearly I need more experience - he behaved for the yard owner, so it’s my fault. So what can I do in the meantime?

What do you all think? Advice greatly appreciated.

TIA
 

Pearlsasinger

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Give him some hay to pick at while you are grooming/tacking up. You can teach him to lift his head up when you tell him to so that you can brush/bridle him. This keeps them calm and also it is good practice to put something into their stomach to avoid ulcer pain while riding.

You are right horses need to learn that you are in charge while you are on the ground, so do correct any minor problems before they become big ones but do it firmly not loudly and of course fairly. Insist that he stands completely still so that you can mount. I always give a treat from the off-side when I am settled in the saddle with my gloves on.

For your next ride, I would do lots of schooling in walk, so concentrate on changes of direction, bringing him off the outside track, walk to halt transitions, transitions within the pace, circles, spirals, leg-yield, turn on the forehand if you know how to do that, keep him busy so that he has to concentrate on what you want and not on being cheeky, I quite like to have 'furniture' around while schooling so that I can bend round cones, walk over poles etc.

Finish on a good note after a short session. Build your confidence in each other, he may be picking up on your nerves, so he needs to know that you are in charge in the school as well as on the ground.

Having lessons on him also sounds like a good idea.
 

dogatemysalad

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Ok, so your new horse is actually fine, you were a bit tense and when you lost your balance, the horse ran forwards to try and balance himself.
Just take it gently. Apart from having lessons, It helps to have someone standing in the middle of the school, it gives confidence to both of you. Forget canter, focus on a good active walk and a rhythmic balanced trot. Transitions, change of direction and a square halt.
Get to know him, get comfortable with the way he moves and responds to your ques. As your balance and familiarity with him increases, you can introduce canter work.
Don't feel disheartened, just make a plan and chip away.
 

windand rain

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tension nerves and new horses tend not to be a good combination Pearlsasinger has given great advice I would add that the waiting for him to comply may give him the idea he can be in charge so firm fair instruction on the ground and in the saddle are a must. Try not to tell him all the time he is good as it tends to make them worry just be matter of fact and get on with it. Lessons are a great way to get on as is as much turnout as possible preferrably 24/7 as the beans get worked out in the field and not while he is working
 
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Would the YO be willing to warm him up for you before you get on yourself? Seeing him behave should calm your nerves. I would also only ask for easy, calm things that you know that you can do to start with eg walk circles of different sizes, walk serpentines and walk-halt-walk transitions.

I think that lessons with a good instructor is an excellent suggestion.
 

mule

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It's easier to come off when you're tense. You don't absorb the motion and you end up perched and leaning forward. It's normal though.

Someone above suggested schooling in walk, I think that's a good idea. You can work on control in walk. You can get him to go forward, backwards and sideways. I find the better they go backwards and sideways, the better your control is. Don't worry, you had a setback but these things happen to us all at some stage.
 

JFTD-WS

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I once threw myself right over my pony while trying to mount bareback... There were witnesses, including my (then) yard manager who was somewhat less than impressed ;)

Horses are great levellers, that's what they say. The moment you think you're going good, they remind you that pride comes before a... well... you know!
 

mule

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I once threw myself right over my pony while trying to mount bareback... There were witnesses, including my (then) yard manager who was somewhat less than impressed ;)

Horses are great levellers, that's what they say. The moment you think you're going good, they remind you that pride comes before a... well... you know!
Ime you have to have a sense of humour about it, once you can laugh at yourself you'll be grand.
 

splashgirl45

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not much to add, but i would lunge him for 15 to 20 mins and get him to be obedient to your voice which will help when you ride. if you are not sure about lunging ask your yo if they would give you a lesson, i would offer to pay so its not seen that you are expecting help as part of your livery, chin up, its always daunting to ride a new horse, happens to all of us at some time...
 

laura_nash

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The same thing happened to me (many years ago) in my first "assessment" ride at college. My nerves got the better of my position and the horse just went into canter almost immediately and stayed in canter seemingly whatever I did, I didn't come off but probably only because the instructress caught us. I still remember it so clearly as really embarrassing, everyone else rode beautifully!

I also have some wonderful memories riding that same horse about 6 months later.

Lots of good advice on this thread and I'm sure you'll soon put this unfortunate incident behind you both.
 

JFTD-WS

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I nearly fell over while standing still and leaning on a fence today. No horse involved. Fence remained upright. Literally no excuse, I'm just hopeless!
 

Keith_Beef

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Did you learn to ride a bike? I bet you fell off a fair few times.

A horse's back is quite a bit higher off the ground than a bike saddle, though, I admit.

But landing on the soft sand of the manège means that you're less likely to hurt yourself than the tarmac where you learnt to ride a bike.

After five years of riding, you must have fallen off more than once or twice, so I think you'll get over this last fall after a couple of days, and now you know your horse a bit better.
 

Heccyd

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Did you learn to ride a bike? I bet you fell off a fair few times.

A horse's back is quite a bit higher off the ground than a bike saddle, though, I admit.

But landing on the soft sand of the manège means that you're less likely to hurt yourself than the tarmac where you learnt to ride a bike.

After five years of riding, you must have fallen off more than once or twice, so I think you'll get over this last fall after a couple of days, and now you know your horse a bit better.

YOU know your
Did you learn to ride a bike? I bet you fell off a fair few times.

A horse's back is quite a bit higher off the ground than a bike saddle, though, I admit.

But landing on the soft sand of the manège means that you're less likely to hurt yourself than the tarmac where you learnt to ride a bike.

After five years of riding, you must have fallen off more than once or twice, so I think you'll get over this last fall after a couple of days, and now you know your horse a bit better.

You’re completely right - actually I think it’s more about my pride, because this is my first horse and immediately I’ve doubted my ability, and wondered whether I was too ambitious. I recognize the mistakes I’ve made and yesterday was better.
 

Shay

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Sorry to return to a bit of practicality... (Although the stories are fun!) But if you have him on any hard feed perhaps stop that for a while. Grass is rich at the moment and if he's a touch over exuberant better to stop any extra calories.
 

Kaylum

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You never learn to ride until you get your own horse. My first horse was totally stupid would rear and buck and set off. He taught me so much about how to school and look after a horse. I fell off tonnes of times. Dont think your unique 😁
 

Heccyd

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Thank you - I’m beginning to acknowledge the difference in owning my own horse - it’s a steep learning curve. It wasnt the falling off that made me feel like an arse, it was that common sense left me and I just didn’t see all the obvious signals he was giving me - such a plonked...
 

Heccyd

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Sorry to return to a bit of practicality... (Although the stories are fun!) But if you have him on any hard feed perhaps stop that for a while. Grass is rich at the moment and if he's a touch over exuberant better to stop any extra calories.
Aha, slowly cutting down on that, top advice, thank you
 

equi

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You sound as if you know what happened, what to change and what to expect next time. You're on the right track already. As said, you probably were a little tense and this probably inadvertently made you start to grip the wrong places, pull the wrong places and ask the wrong ques etc. Going forward have someone with you so you are not just focused on you and horse...talk to them so you're not as stressed. Keep it slow, calm and positive for now.
 

Kat

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Definitely cut out hard feed. You don't need to do this super slowly like introducing a new feed. Halve what you are giving him immediately, then halve it again the next day. Depending how much he gets if you halve it daily he will be on next to nothing in 3 or 4 days then just stop altogether.

Just feed him hay when he is in his stable. As Pearlsasinger says make sure he has hay before you ride though.

Make sure he is getting plenty of turnout, ideally he should be more out than in.

Maybe get a good instructor or your yard owner to ride him once or twice a week to keep on top of his manners and energy levels but make it clear to them that you don't want him tuning up you want him to be schooled with a novice rider in mind.

Make sure you keep getting on. Even if you just go for a short walk, make sure you sit on him more days than you don't. This is important for your confidence and your relationship with him. Spending time grooming is good for the relationship as is teaching ground manners and learning to lunge or long rein.
 
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