Riding a horse is a truly pleasurable pastime especially for most horse owners. The joys of being mounted above the ground, as the wind caresses your face, and knowing that this giant, gentle creature is with you throughout the journey can be a very rewarding and memorable experience. However, every excitement you get from riding, still gives the possibility of falling – this is something inevitable if you enjoy riding so much.
At some point in their lives, a rider will have a taste of their first fall – for some, repeated falls – before reaping the benefits of becoming an experienced and knowledgeable rider. Even the gentlest horse can have a bolting or spooked episode that will result to an untimely dismounting. Falling off your horse is not much of a big deal – it happens. Falling off and seriously hurting yourself is another story. You can’t completely prevent falls when riding and neither can you guarantee that injury will not result from the fall.
One of the most important things to learn when becoming an avid horse rider is to fall off the mount gracefully. Knowing how to fall off your horse will somehow reduce the impact, and therefore minimize the injury. Still, this does not fully guarantee that you will not get any injuries of some sort.
How Not to Fall
If you want to avoid falling off a horse, you must first choose your horse properly – one that equals your riding skills. This ensures that you and your horse understand each other and you know how to handle each other well. Considering skill levels is important when you ride a horse. You may also want to choose a safe environment conducive for your skill level.
Be alert and attentive when riding. You might want to catch spooky things first before they catch your horse off-guard. Each time you ride out with your horse, you need to keep your eyes and ears open.
When riding, be in control of the situation. Keep your composure and maintain a proper riding posture. Make sure that the tack is secure and set up to your preference.
Preparing for the Fall
There’s a reason why riding gears are created – they would help you prepare and protect yourself in the event of an inescapable fall. When riding out with your horse, wearing protective gears is critical for your safety. Apart from being fully equipped with gears such as safety helmets, comfortable riding boots, and protective crash vests, you must also learn how to dismount from your horse during emergency situations and make emergency stops. These are usually taught in riding courses and every horse rider must know about them.
To Hold On or To Let Go
If you sense that you can’t escape the fall, you have to be quick to think about your next move, which will be focused on the reins. Should you let go of the reins or should you hold on to them? If you are just riding in an enclosed field, letting go of your grip would be a safer choice, but if you are riding out in the open, you might want to tighten your grip on the reins. A horse on the loose will mean that you will be alone for the rest of your trail ride journey or it could mean danger for others who might be following the same trail as you. All this would be easier said than done because sometimes, it’s hard to make a quick decision. If your horse bolts or gets spooked, it would be a better idea to let go so you won’t be dragged on the ground.
Falling Off Gracefully
If you sense that you will fall, remove your feet from the stirrups. You have fallen gracefully when you have fallen on your backside where the big fella is likely to look straight down at you. If this does not happen, roll away from the legs of your horse to avoid being trampled. Do not break your fall with your arms, or else, you would break more bones as a consequence.
The Fallen Rider
After dismounting unexpectedly, pull yourself together and check for serious injuries. If you feel okay and everything looks fine, climb up back to your mount. This will reassure your horse (or other riders) that you are in good shape. If you feel that something is just not right, do not hesitate to ask for immediate assistance. There’s no point in making yourself look valiant by enduring the pain because if there are broken bones somewhere, they might just cause more serious damage when left unattended.
Every mistake paves way to a lesson. Untimely dismounting from your horse is not a failure on the rider’s part. It simply means that there’s a need to improve on the riding skills to become a much better rider and a horse handler. When you do fall, assess the situation and pay attention to the littlest factors that contributed to the fall, so you will not have to deal with the same mistake.