Spooked at umbrella and fell

Joined
7 October 2020
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9
Hi there,

I was out hacking my (usually dependable) loan horse yesterday when a woman carrying a flapping blue umbrella emerged over the top of a slope to the left of a track I was on and the poor sod started going bezerk and rearing. He’d backed up onto some grass at the side of the track but the ground was very uneven and sloped so after 3 or 4 rears I decided it was better to jump off but I think he had been about to rear again as I got off and he lost balance and fell over on his side. He got back up straight away and I managed to calm him enough to lead him back to he stables as we were nearly there anyway.
We checked him over and he was thankfully unhurt as was I.

My non-horsey friend who was walking along with us at the time said she couldn’t believe how calm I’d seemed throughout, but my mind keeps returning to it and wondering if I could or should have done anything differently. I just came back into riding 6 months ago after a 25 yr break and although I was always given a particularly problematic riding school pony as a kid (in hindsight I can’t believe they used him at all!) I’ve not had to deal with much beyond a wee bit of nappiness since my return and I’m not confident I did the right thing as it could have ended up so much worse. It just felt like muscle memory kicked in and I was worried he’d stumble on the uneven ground and I’d go down under him which is why I bailed rather than continuing to try to sit out the rearing.

What would the more experienced among you have done in that scenario and what should I do if it happens again? I usually hack alone but I’m not sure now if that’s a good idea :(

Thank you and apologies for the long post!
 

shortstuff99

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Currently Cambridgeshire! (or where ever I fancy)!
That sounds scary for you! It also sounds like most horses would have spooked at that. For future reference if you don't have experience of dealing with rears it is safer to get off so that you don't inadvertently pull the horse over onto you.

Otherwise if you feel like there maybe a rear coming pulling into a small circle will get the horse moving and should stop a rear.
 

Orangehorse

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25 November 2005
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You did the right thing. Even my quiet horse can be silly when confronted by an open umbrella.

You could get on and leave it out in front of his stable so he has to walk past it every day. Mind I tried that with black bin bags for one very spooky horse I had. Always shied at every bin bag. Filled one with straw that she had to go past every day. Got used to that quickly. Still spooked at the ones when out riding.
 

Baywonder

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You did absolutely the right thing.

Even the most laid back horses can spook at the most silly things. You managed to dismount safely, no-one was hurt, and you got home safe and sound. You did everything you could to sit to the rearing, but you made the right call.

Chalk it down to experience and don't beat yourself up about it. X:)
 
Joined
7 October 2020
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9
Thanks all. I think it was a bit of a fluke because we live in a particularly windy part of Scotland and the yard we are on is on a big hill where most locals know an umbrella is a particularly useless bit of kit so you don’t usually see many!:D

That‘S really reassuring that you think I made the right call. My husband freaked out a bit when I got home and that set me to mulling over all the what ifs involved! I’m not back at the yard til Saturday now so I just hope my confidence hasn’t been knocked when I take him out again.

He really is a lovely boy and that was the first time in the 2 months I’ve been loaning I’ve felt remotely unsafe with him. Think I will try to befriend some other liveries though to get some company for my next hack as reassurance for both me and him!
 

mini_b

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11 June 2019
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All is well that ends well in this situation. Don’t think about it.

if you’re feeling a bit wobbly go out with some company next time just so you don’t pass on any of your worries to him.

glad you are both safe x
 

Landcruiser

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Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Just to add, you could buy or borrow the biggest umbrella you can and do some despooking with it, starting by having it furled, and working towards being able to open it and lead horse while holding umbrella over his head. Get friends to walk in front with umbrellas. You can never despook the sudden appearance from behind a hedge (in horses's eyes this is a "pounce) but at least you can be confident riding on a wet day :)
 

Hanno Verian

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22 December 2004
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625
Hey, dont beat yourself up, you did absolutely the right/sensible thing!

I ride regularly and have done for years, its interesting how less robust my confidence is after a bad fall several years ago on a different horse to my current one. I sometimes hack out on my own, I made the rookie mistake last Sept of hacking mine out on his own, whilst he was fresh from change of season and it was blowing a gale. Looking back on it I couldn believe how stupid I'd been, I could hardly have made it more difficult for myself if I'd have tried. I have a lovely kind & sensible horse who is perfect for me, I spent weeks beating myself up about this and seeing issues where there werent any and it almost ruined my hacking out.

Try not to put yourself in a situation where it can go wrong for you, I'd see if you could get company to hack out with for the short term, perhaps try to desensitise him and ride in sensible safe surroundings to rebuild your self confidence and trust in him.
 

PurBee

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You did the right thing. I’ve dismounted if remaining mounted would freak me, and therefore the horse out more, especially in your case where the horse is already freaking Out and rearing.
He will have learnt that you’re a safe bet, you remain calm, calmed him, and handled the situation.

you both were unharmed = you did the right thing. Well done for handling it so well! 🙂
 

NooNoo59

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Just returned from similar incident! Cheeky little mid week hack with my friend, mines young hers old and pretty reliable apart from motor bikes. It was school lunchtime, reception in one playground kicking tin cans around, mine went past but very anxious about it, then round the corner juniors out in there small playground right on the road, hers shot off down the road and mine froze! she turned round to help me and hers just lost it came back up the road sideways bucking mine just panicked. So we both got off, we managed to get back to the yard in one piece but they were both beside themselves. Its really made me miserable as I dont like having to go home but there was no choice it was an accident in the making. Feeling very deflated
 
Joined
19 February 2021
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When riding 1) keep yourself safe. 2) Keep other humans safe. 3) Worry about your horse. 4) All get home safely
Sorry I don’t agree with this, No 1 should be keep your horse safe.

Also OP I have been taught to never ever bail out, but I wasn’t there and you did your best handling the situation you where in, no one was hurt and you all got home safely. Well done you!! Seriously you have nothing to be worrying about you handled it and that’s the main thing
 

EllenJay

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1 June 2011
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Sorry I don’t agree with this, No 1 should be keep your horse safe.

Also OP I have been taught to never ever bail out, but I wasn’t there and you did your best handling the situation you where in, no one was hurt and you all got home safely. Well done you!! Seriously you have nothing to be worrying about you handled it and that’s the main thing
Really! A human life is less important than a horse? I love all my animals, but saving an animal or saving a human - I know which one I would choose.
 

EllenJay

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1 June 2011
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Yes you can, it is our responsibility to keep animals safe as we are the ones that take them out of their natural surroundings
I think your priorities are skewed - sorry but keeping yourself safe is no 1 priority. Even in a plane, when oxygen levels drop the main advice is to make sure you are safe and then sort out your children. If you are not safe, then you can't do anything to help others
 
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