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Pirateer
Jun. 29, 2009, 02:48 PM
So I have a dilemma.

And it may not be a dilemma so much as coming to terms with the inevitable.

I fall off.

A lot.

I don't suck. I'm not terrible. I can get around a 3'6 jumper course in fine fashion and win every time. Unless I fall off.

I've ridden with about a squillion barns and trainers, all of them have the same statement "You ride too well to fall off so much".

Last year I broke 2 GPAs with head-first falls at horse shows. I stopped riding for a few months.

Yesterday I fell off and broke myself over a standard. I'm fine. Bruised, bloody, sore, etc but no need for a trip to the ER.

My current lease was ended by me/owner because of what happened (owner overfaced her green horse and blames my inexperience (nevermind the dozens of greenies I've started successfully....)

My trainer is willing to find me something to ride. I'm not sure if I should.

I'm pretty sure that just about ANY other sport would be a good idea.

My body is too used up, I think, for me to continue doing this. I have constant back pain, hip pain, knee and ankle problems, lots of arthritis from past injuries, a lovely bit of lost vision due to the last head injury. I haven't woken up without hurting since I started riding again in April (and have been riding enough to be past the "sore" stage).

Ok yes I'm a big fatty whiner pants and I should be lucky to be able to ride blah blah blah.

FlashGordon
Jun. 29, 2009, 02:55 PM
Nah you're not being whiney.

We've all been there, at one time or another.

Regardless of what discipline you are doing, there are risks. They can be minimized, though. Maybe it is time for a change of pace?

Take some time off, then go find yourself a western saddle and a fat, broke trail horse and have a good time for awhile. Just give yourself a little breathing room until you get your wits about you again.

Good luck and take care!

Ibex
Jun. 29, 2009, 02:58 PM
Is it always at a fence? If so, maybe take up dressage??

Pirateer
Jun. 29, 2009, 02:59 PM
Is it always at a fence? If so, maybe take up dressage??

I tried riding dressage and i just...erm...hate it.

I am a true blue Hunter Princess who may be able to be swayed by a purdy WP horse w/ bling. Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

fordtraktor
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:02 PM
Maybe you need to reevaluate the way you are doing things.

1. Consider your position. Is there something about the way you ride that, while looking technically correct, is not giving you stick-it-to-itiveness? Good riding form has to have function, and part of that function is reliably keeping you on top when horse does the unexpected. Are your legs strong enough? Is your balance reliable when the going gets tough, not just when the going is good? I fall more when my core strength is low. Since I can't ride as much as I used to, I try to run and do push-ups.

2. Are the horses you are riding suitable for you? I am the first to admit that while I have probably backed hundreds of colts, I am not the rider I once was. I try to ride appropriate horses for me NOW, not for the rider I USED to be. Hard for me to admit, but necessary to prevent falls.

3. Are your self-preservation instincts on target? You mention the horse you were riding was overfaced. It is your job as rider, particularly a rider with a lot of experience, to say "You know, I don't think this horse is ready for that, I'm actually going to wait/put it down six inches/[fill in the blank]." No one can make you jump a jump.

Cita
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:02 PM
Do you have balance issues, on the horse or otherwise?

Is there a chance there could be some physical problem, like an inner-ear issue messing up your equilibrium?

Or are you just built such that your center of gravity isn't somewhere that is helpful for riding? (You say you're a "big fatty whiner pants," lol, but is there some truth in there, that maybe if you lost some weight you might stay on a little better? I have no idea what you look like, but if there's a chance that your physique might be impairing riding, if you like riding, maybe it's something to work on?)

Or maybe you're just not in great athletic shape (like me, heh) and you don't have the muscle strength to hold on during those "oh crap" moments?

I'm sorry you're having such gravitational issues!!

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:03 PM
How do the falls occur? Meaning, what happens to cause a fall? Is it always the same thing, for example, problem with riding backwards to the fences, taking leg off, nerves? Or, do you think it might be something medical like an imbalance problem, vision, etc.? We need to have more details first! :yes:

Jealoushe
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:06 PM
Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

falling off all the time isn't?

FlashGordon
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:06 PM
I tried riding dressage and i just...erm...hate it.

I am a true blue Hunter Princess who may be able to be swayed by a purdy WP horse w/ bling. Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.


Oooh... do it. I too have a secret love affair with WP horses. Might be easier on your back, too.

A friend of mine who was a hardcore HP retired her TB last year, bought a 14hh TWH, and is tearing up the trails and loving every minute. Last week she rode her gelding to a pancake breakfast at a small local airport. :lol:

Vindicated
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:11 PM
I would work on balance and maybe take some tumbling classes.

Falling of is'nt a big deal if you know how to fall (I have alot of experience with this as well) I have had my own experiences with standards, varies other obstacles and walls.

Pirateer
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:11 PM
My self-preservation is crap. Too much time with people who assume I can ride anything (because I can, unless I fall off...)

My position was CRAP and wrong when I started riding. It has since been corrected and is, in general, good. (So say all the trainers, clinicians, etc) I can ride through bucks/rears/scoots/stops/etc. Just not runouts. Anything where the direction of travel changes dramatically.

The last fall was when the owner thought her green-bean WB needed to jump through a gymnastic set at pony strides. I believe its with the "right" side runouts the most.

The horses I ride are probably suitable enough. Because I was a "poor" horseless junior and am now a "poor" AA, I ride a lot of really random animals. Greenies, the unwanteds, ponies, etc. When I was in college I rode everything in the barn...all donations...usually for a reason.

Come Shine
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:12 PM
Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

Jumping is really dressage with fences in the way. Seriously, if your back is too sore for flatwork, perhaps your body is telling you that you are not in the best position to be jumping until you feel stronger. Like others suggested, a change of pace may be the best thing right now.

Plus the bit about lost vision from a past head injury is really concerning. Have you seen a neurologist and opthalmologist? Your brain is MUCH more vulnerable to injury - no matter what helmet you wear. Plus there could certainly be residual balance effects if you have lingering vision problems.

Please be careful.

Pirateer
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:14 PM
Plus the bit about lost vision from a past head injury is really concerning. Have you seen a neurologist and opthalmologist? Your brain is MUCH more vulnerable to injury - no matter what helmet you wear. Plus there could certainly be residual balance effects if you have lingering vision problems.

Please be careful.

The back problems are VERY, very new- centered only around the horse I was leasing. She's a huge moving dressagey type and my core is arguably NOT where it should be. But again, this is only related to the last fall, not ALL of the falls.

Head injury was last summer (and I've been falling off consistently since like 2000 or so...if that matters)

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:19 PM
So, it sounds like you are being over faced with horses who may not be quite suitable for you yet. I think for starters, you needs to get rid of the thought that you can ride anything...at least over fences. Not trying to be mean, just trying to help. If you're falling off a lot and it is always over fences, on runouts, etc., someone is over facing you with the wrong type of horse.

I know it can be incredibly tough sometimes to ride and be on a limited, or no budget. I think it may be even tougher where you are located as, well, let's face it, Alaska probably doesn't have the same opportunities for riding, doors opening up, trainers, good hunter horses as compared to California.

If what you are describing is the whole problem, I think it's extremely important at this point for you to find a packer to ride. Even if that means a 24 year old packer. You need to be on a horse who is not going to stop, is going to go no matter what. A horse who will gladly keep going when you pick back and try and chip. A horse who will gladly keep going when you ride with too much left leg and drift to the right side of the fence.

If you truly love doing the hunters, which is my love too, you need to start hunting for that perfect HONEST horse...or that perfect barn who is willing to let you school their school horses or something along those lines.

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:22 PM
The other main thing is your balance and strength on the horse. You mentioned you can sit through any buck, rear, etc. but cannot stay with a runout. To me, that means you are likely just a passenger up there but not a rider. I would go back to the drawing board, so to speak, and start doing lots of work without stirrups and getting your legs strong enough that they can completely balance you and hold you in the saddle. If you're flying off on a runout, it means you're likely not gripping enough with your legs in the first place....which can also end up causing a runout if you have no supporting leg on to the jump or too much of just one leg up to the jump.

Lots of falling off over fences can cause a person to start losing their confidence. Losing confidence over fences will cause a person to either stop riding forward to the fence or anticipating things happening. All of that can compound your problem...which is something a nice saint of a packer can try and help you repair! :)

AppendixQHLover
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:27 PM
I thought I was a good rider until I rode a bolter who also leg yielded across the arena without being asked. Yeah that was fun.

I went back several levels of horses and am riding a total packer who loves his job. We also went back to cross-rails to work on position. My position has gotten way better and so has my balance.

sp56
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:31 PM
I used to fall off a lot too - although it had a lot to do with the mare who made every effort to get me off her back. I also have ridden a lot of rejects/difficult horses. Here's a few things you may want to consider...

1) Try yoga - seriously. It's inexpensive physical therapy and WILL HELP with your back/body pain. If you can do Bikram, spend the money. The heat is great for your muscles and skin.

2) Really evaluate your position. If you're falling off at horses that run out, chances are that you're unknowingly jumping ahead. It's an easy habit (I do it!) but can be very dangerous when you're riding young/disobedient horses.

3) Work on riding in your heels. It's a lot harder for the horse to get you off if your weight is in your heels. I don't know your body type but anchoring yourself in your heels is the best thing you can do. I would find a good ole school horse and work on gymnastics, focusing on your heels and staying a little behind the motion (as opposed to jumping ahead).

4) It's okay to say no! It's your body, your life. If you feel like you're being asked to ride something or do something that could end poorly for you, don't do it! You might have a huffy and annoyed owner/trainer, but you'll be alive and well enough to be able to ride the next one.

I'm glad to hear that you wear a helmet though! If I were you, I'd take a little time off and start doing yoga. Heal yourself before you hoist yourself back into the saddle. Take the time to really evaluate your position - and maybe get a second opinion from another good trainer. Sometimes a new eye can help unlock a problem and provide a solution.

Stay safe. Good luck!

vxf111
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:32 PM
What about sticking with hunters but taking a step down in level to a physical/emotional level that is more suited with how you feel right now? Like, all the way down to a level that is BORING for you... and work on perfection at that level. It doesn't have to be all 3'6 oxers... even good riders at challenging levels are more prone to make mistakes than at a lower level. I would see about finding a nice, safe, been-there-done that adult hunter and work on absolute perfection over simpler 3'0 courses, instead of pusing yourself to do challenging 3'6 courses. But that's just me. I couldn't quit or switch disciplines either.

Hope you feel better!

Ibex
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:33 PM
Unless you have a specific injury or were riding in a really horrible saddle, dressage should make your back better. It helps to relax everything and build up the correct muscles.

You don't need to sit every step...

I'd second (third? fourth?) that it sounds like you're having some balance issues.

lesson junkie
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:34 PM
Daventry's right-it's time to stop riding problems that belong to other people, and treat yourself to a Nice Horse, who keeps his part of the bargain. It doesn't have to be expensive, and if you like greenies, get one with a good brain and enjoy a project worth the effort.

Good luck, and hang in there.

Long Shadow Farm
Jun. 29, 2009, 03:43 PM
If you are getting tired of the H/J scene, looking into doing Trail in the QHs. Still lots of riding the correct striding/positioning through the grids/pattern work that jumping has without the concussion and less of a chance of a fall. Once I hit the point that I don't want to jump anymore, I will for sure head this direction. The top levels of trail competition are unreal. Those horses are talented and brooookkkkkkeeee. Plus you get to wear bling! Always a fav with me.

Bobbi

KateKat
Jun. 29, 2009, 04:13 PM
ditto on balance issues, as well as working on strength and flexibility in your core. I'm sure the multiple falls have not helped at all in that department! Have you checked out a sports physical therapist? If not that, yoga or pilates maybe? Saddle velcro? Super glue on the bottom of your breeches? :)

mortebella
Jun. 29, 2009, 04:18 PM
About 3 things stand out at me: if dressage causes you back pain, but jumping doesn't? hmmm....I will bet you dollars that it's because you've learned to hold your back some way to minimize the shock, because for sure you're taking more of a pounding jumping than doing dressage. But what's wrong with that picture is that holding in this pain avoidance stance does not allow you to compensate quickly for horse's sudden unpredictable moves and leaves you unbalanced at crucial times. Hence, unhorsed. That back kink should be strengthened probably by doing the very thing you find painful, dressage, along with what ever other PT it takes.

2nd, what Vindicated said. If you're gonna fall, fall right. You can't do it every time, but what the hey. You're already goin' there. My early (and only) "career" was riding jumpers, and we all knew we were going down sooner or later, so we flung ourselves off til it was pretty much second nature. First standing still, then w/t/c. Curl into that fetal ball and roll. And if you can get it to be a reflex, it won't cut down on bruises and blood, but I'm convinced it'll cut down on breaks.

3rd, and this may be the deal breaker, loss of vision? Was that a retinal detachment? I worked in ophthalmology for 7 years, and this is the one that would really give me pause. If you're walking around with a "fixed" one of those, be advised that...that's not just good as new. It's not a real stable thing. And fixing it a second time is dodgy. Of course, maybe the vision loss is something else, but unless you've got boodles of assurances that you're unlikely to worsen it with a repeat fall, I'd also look at stepping something down a notch or two. Height of fence, experience of horse, something, until these troubling falls are under control. Protect your vision, foremost, 'cause you can work on fixing the rest of it, but one-eyed, you're gonna have a slew of other issues. And I always figure the worst one for me would be blaming myself that I could've avoided it.

hollyhorse2000
Jun. 29, 2009, 04:20 PM
Ride better horses!!

Step down to smaller fences!

Be evaluated by a physical therapist or really good Pilates instructor. You need core work, but probably also have a side-to-side imbalance i.e. one side of your body is "strong" and the other weak. (This would be especially true if you're always falling off on one particular side.)

Ride without stirrups. Check saddle. Say no to green beans. Falling off a lot is a big GIANT sign that something is wrong (but I don't believe it means you should stop riding altogether.) Try to figure out what it means . . . to you. (Do you generally need practice saying No, for example?)

paw
Jun. 29, 2009, 04:49 PM
I'm going to agree with the folks thinking that it might be a (subtle) balance/strength issue.

I've had my share of falls in the last couple of years from my new, athletic, horse, and only now am getting the hang of it - I started working through The Rider's Fitness Program (http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Fitness-Program-Dianna-Dennis/dp/1580175422/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246308295&sr=1-6) by Dianna Robin Dennis, and have recently started working with the Egoscue folks (http://www.egoscue.com/) for various postural problems. The difference in my stability on the horse is amazing.

The other thing that gets me when dealing with sudden sharp movements (runouts, quick turns, etc) is that I wind up looking down - forcing myself to look *up* helps at lot, too.

Good luck! And yeah, be especially careful if you're seeing changes due to head injuries.

Donkey
Jun. 29, 2009, 05:07 PM
Ride better horses!!

Step down to smaller fences!

Be evaluated by a physical therapist or really good Pilates instructor. You need core work, but probably also have a side-to-side imbalance i.e. one side of your body is "strong" and the other weak. (This would be especially true if you're always falling off on one particular side.)

Ride without stirrups. Check saddle. Say no to green beans. Falling off a lot is a big GIANT sign that something is wrong (but I don't believe it means you should stop riding altogether.) Try to figure out what it means . . . to you. (Do you generally need practice saying No, for example?)

agree 100%

Mimi La Rue
Jun. 29, 2009, 05:16 PM
So, it sounds like you are being over faced with horses who may not be quite suitable for you yet. I think for starters, you needs to get rid of the thought that you can ride anything...at least over fences. Not trying to be mean, just trying to help. If you're falling off a lot and it is always over fences, on runouts, etc., someone is over facing you with the wrong type of horse.

I know it can be incredibly tough sometimes to ride and be on a limited, or no budget. I think it may be even tougher where you are located as, well, let's face it, Alaska probably doesn't have the same opportunities for riding, doors opening up, trainers, good hunter horses as compared to California.

If what you are describing is the whole problem, I think it's extremely important at this point for you to find a packer to ride. Even if that means a 24 year old packer. You need to be on a horse who is not going to stop, is going to go no matter what. A horse who will gladly keep going when you pick back and try and chip. A horse who will gladly keep going when you ride with too much left leg and drift to the right side of the fence.

If you truly love doing the hunters, which is my love too, you need to start hunting for that perfect HONEST horse...or that perfect barn who is willing to let you school their school horses or something along those lines.

I think this is great advice. I have done just so. I took a step back from riding the greenies to riding a horse that children can ride and it really taught me a lot. It gained my confidence back which was very important. Also even though that horse was ridden by children, the horse sensed I wanted more out of it and gave me just that. Not as much as a challenge as a greenie, but it wasn't a cake walk either.

TSWJB
Jun. 29, 2009, 05:33 PM
Daventry's right-it's time to stop riding problems that belong to other people, and treat yourself to a Nice Horse, who keeps his part of the bargain. It doesn't have to be expensive, and if you like greenies, get one with a good brain and enjoy a project worth the effort.

Good luck, and hang in there.

I agree with this post! Its not worth giving up riding because you are riding someone else’s problem horses. Yes if you fall off all the time, you are going to lose confidence and then it becomes no fun.
BTW just because the horse is green doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. I have a young green horse that I started jumping 6 months ago and he is quite easy and really just very good. We did two shows at the 2ft and moved up to the 2.6ft for 2 shows at a show with really fancy fences and difficult courses. My horse jumped both shows without any problems.
You may very well be a good rider, but something in your position is making you unstable. I have seen very good pros ride really hard stuff. Stopping, ducking out last minute, dropping the shoulder and they do not come off. They have learned to sit tight in the saddle and never get ahead on a greenie! And I am not saying I am perfect. I struggle with getting ahead. I think a lot of my problems in the past have been cause by getting ahead and letting my leg off. You need to work with a professional that can really see what the problem is and why you are falling off. I just don’t think any of the numerous trainers you have had in the past have really gotten to the root of your problem. I can be a very good rider, but I can also jump ahead and fall off.
As far as dressage goes. I never liked dressage either. But then I met someone who really showed me how to get a horse really straight and working from the hind end and I feel all that lovely power and floating across the ground and I wonder if I should do dressage. In the past it just was boring. Because I was not doing it right. And it takes a very good teacher to really know where things are going wrong and how to fix. If your horse is crooked and it’s a minute change that can go from so so to wow, this feels wonderful. but its very hard to communicate these very subtle changes.
I would work on getting your back fixed and then work on changing how you participate in riding. Yoga by the way is really good. I tried it a couple of times when my back hurt. I wish I had more time to continue with it. I only did it when my back was hurting.
Good luck! Don’t quit riding!

Calvincrowe
Jun. 29, 2009, 05:53 PM
I had several falls, all related to my saddle--slick, didn't put me in a secure position over fences or on the flat, really didn't fit my body/leg length. Once I had a professional saddle fitting done, and got a bull leather saddle that FIT, my falls (knock wood!) have come to a stop. I suggest looking at your saddle in addition to the other ideas here.

Sebastian
Jun. 29, 2009, 05:59 PM
I agree with Daventry and lessonjunkie... Don't give up riding, give up the "green/problem" horses. They are for the young. :winkgrin:

I USED to be able to stick ANYTHING, but now that I am forty-plus, I have to rethink my desire to "fix" things. I just don't bounce well anymore, and the recovery gets more and more extended.

And, to those of you who think that jumping and dressage should effect back problems the same...??? NOT EVEN!!! Dressage position and Jumping position are two VERY different "animals." And, to say that Jumping is Dressage with fences in the way -- applies to the HORSE, not the rider's position. I have had lower back problems for 20 years. Each injury is specific as to what feels good and what does not. Dressage is VERY difficult for me, and Jumping is not.

Hang in there, Pirateer. Think it through for a bit and make a decision that's right for you.

Seb :)

Go Fish
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:07 PM
I would suggest an Osteopath for an evaluation and get yourself some drugs. Reducing your level of pain can do wonders to improve your riding and your ability to react quickly on the back of a horse. I don't think you mentioned your age, but if you're getting up there, GET OFF THE STOPPER!

At my age, I find riding in a deeper saddle has helped tremendously. I need a little help in the stick-'em department. :lol:

equest
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:19 PM
I got deja vu with this thread... Pirateer, did you post something similar before?

Anyway, no suggestions but hang in there. I have the opposite problem...

I can stay on, but it ain't pretty :) I SHOULD have fallen off when I had the recent incident with long-spot-to-swedish oxer, should've grabbed mane... fellow rider commented that there was a foot of daylight between my butt and the saddle. Maybe it's the deep saddle, maybe it's balance. Sometimes I am just riding badly but still very adept at self-preservation.

Pirateer
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:20 PM
I got deja vu with this thread... Pirateer, did you post something similar before?

Yepp, last summer (immediately post-2nd GPA breaking fall) I posted about wanting to take up competitive knitting. :)

findeight
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:23 PM
IMO, catching rides on whatever is available and/or leasing a greenie (whose owner blames you for it's training or lack thereof) gets you one or two nice ones and a whole bunch of...well...not so nice. That's fine for a kid, not so good as you get older.

The big issue is you get somebody elses problems and a horse that, 85% of the time, has never been in a good program for enough time to get finished properly. Then you get them, work thru it, and they go back to the owner to sit someplace so you can never finish what you started.

This whole issue of "not gripping enough with the legs" (and there are sure some that is the LAST thing you want to do if you want to live) balance, saddle and so forth are not a whole lot of help if something goes suddenly wrong right at the base and they dart off sideways...and, sorry...but there is no way to cushion flying off one spinning to the side and going into the standards or rails on an oxer. All this talk of soft landings is fine if you land somewhere soft and there is no way anybody can stay on some of these if they have a dirty stop or spin. That's a function of the lack of training-and may be why they are available.

Sooooo, you need to think about what you want to do here. If you are getting this kind of run out or stop, the horse either lacks training basics or is overfaced or has soundness issues. None of which you can address when it's not your horse. Likely not going to run out and buy a new saddle every time you pick up a short term ride either.

This whole scenario makes you a defensive rider and can make things worse. Plus it ruins your confidence.

Honestly, I'd stick to 3' Hunters or drop down at least a level in the Jumpers and stay safe and sound. Or get a QH or Paint and go play in the Trail and Western Riding Divisions.

See if you can't find a better class of owner as well...one that won't blame you for holes in her horse's training she's too cheap to have a Pro fix.

Paragon
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:31 PM
You are WAY. TOO. YOUNG. to be having these problems already. Take it easy and ride for you. Lose the problem horses and stop getting smashed.

Daventry
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:41 PM
And, to those of you who think that jumping and dressage should effect back problems the same...??? NOT EVEN!!! Dressage position and Jumping position are two VERY different "animals." And, to say that Jumping is Dressage with fences in the way -- applies to the HORSE, not the rider's position. I have had lower back problems for 20 years. Each injury is specific as to what feels good and what does not. Dressage is VERY difficult for me, and Jumping is not.



I have to agree 2000%. I started writing a similar post and then didn't want to bother arguing. As a pro who's shown in both the hunters and dressage for 20+ years, that all changed four years ago when I suffered a debilitating back injury in a bad car accident. Dressage can be difficult for me now, especially on a big moving, bouncy horse! :eek: I'm often laid up in bed for days after a dressage show. Jumping position, forward seat and even the way we allow the horse to carry themselves is much different than riding a dressage seat and asking the horse to come more from behind and up into a frame. Hunters is much easier on my back. :yes: It also helps that I've been showing a Welsh Cob in the hunters the last two years, as they are amazingly smooth!!

RugBug
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:42 PM
I feel like I fall off more than my fair share. I was falling off of my horse about once every 6 months. He's a spook/spin/bolt type and I just can't stay with it. I haven't been riding him much and the fall frequency has dropped to about once every 2 years. I'm currently sitting here with back pain from the most recent fall. The frequency dropped because I started riding a reliable type horse. I'm just not going to ride the stupid ones anymore. I'm too old and falling hurts too much these days. So what if it means I'm a crappy rider? I still enjoy what I CAN do...which is better than not enjoying/being scared/nervous trying to do more than I want to do.

I keep thinking that I want to take cutting lessons. I figure if I can stay with a cutter, I can stay with any spook and spin (or runout).

findeight
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:50 PM
I keep thinking that I want to take cutting lessons. I figure if I can stay with a cutter, I can stay with any spook and spin (or runout).

But Bug, they have this handle on the front of the Western saddles;). If God would have put it there for pulling cows out of the mud, S/He would have put it on the back of the saddle.

I still could not stay with them the few times I tried it, harder then they look and they are much quicker:o then they look.

AmandaandTuff
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:59 PM
Come ride with me :) I gave up and am attempting to get started again. Baby steps on my baby horse. I didn't fall off a lot while jumping, I just had one fall not related to jumping that killed my confidence.

RugBug
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:13 PM
I still could not stay with them the few times I tried it, harder then you look and they are much quicker:o then they look.

:D I absolutely think it looks terribly difficult. Talk about falling off a lot? :lol: But once you get the hang of it, I would think you could stay on much easier ('course I might stay on better if I was prepared for the spin, all hunkered down, weight on my butt, back rounded...holding on to a handle.

findeight
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:23 PM
Ahhh...I was not on the most gifted and learned that the dam cow can be just one more thing to trip over:o. Not all of them are that quick, physically OR mentally.

Chall
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:26 PM
Please see a doctor. I would put everything horsey on the back burner. You can always groom and smooch and get your horse fix by being around horses on the ground while you get yourself checked out. Forget everything else for the time being. If you don't, we will have to call the ASPCA on you for withholding medical attention from yourself.:)

Trixie
Jun. 29, 2009, 07:52 PM
Definitely go see someone that deals in back pain. If you're somehow compensating so as not to hurt your back, you could easily be making your position weaker or insecure.

I had been trying to compensate and "handle" hurting knees for months when Mr. Trixie finally nagged me enough to go to an orthopedist. He knew just how to threaten - "you won't be able to ride AT ALL if you don't get em fixed. Or walk, or run, or do anything you like doing." Hmmm, good point. It turned out to be something treatable that 6 months of therapy fixed right up, but I can now ride without debilitating knee pain.

Also, it helps if you find a doctor that knows riders. Mine started our initial conversation with "Well, I know you're not going to STOP RIDING, so lets try and make this more comfortable for you."

If the doc says there's nothing wrong, maybe consult a personal trainer about fixing up any weak muscles. You might have to spend some time in the gym, but they can give you great exercises to strengthen your legs or core.

Other than that, I'm with those that suggested stop riding bad horses. There comes a point where there's really no valid reason to ride the jerks - you're old enough to have proved you can do it, now it's just causing you pain and exacerbating injury. You can still ride hunters - just maybe try riding hunters that aren't jerks or dirty stoppers.


So what if it means I'm a crappy rider? I still enjoy what I CAN do...which is better than not enjoying/being scared/nervous trying to do more than I want to do.

I don't think this makes you a crappy rider. I think this makes you a smart person. Horse people, for some unknown reason, have it drilled into our psyche that we HAVE to be able to ride any horse or that we HAVE to move up or do this and that. Um, well, we don't. This is supposed to be fun, and the goal is to enjoy ourselves.

Trakehner
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:51 PM
You're only 25...too young to be labeling the injuries and various crash & burn disasters...wait, I had my best falls when I was under 23...Hmmmmm.

Anyway, you need a good clinician to watch your riding. You need a good medical check-up to see about your physical problems...falling off too much can be indicative of balance and eye problems.

magicteetango
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:46 AM
I went through something really similar. I used to be a confident make it stick rider who could ride anything, and ride it well. Not at your jumping level but nonetheless.

I was riding a green horse, who unseated me. His owner read me the riot act.

Starting the next day my anxiety started, but I continued riding tough horses thinking it would get better. It didn't, of course. And when it felt like I might fall, I started to. I was quitting subconsciously, I no longer fought to stay on.

It look my best friend and her mother, and a very nice mare who is green but takes a joke and takes care of me. My friend knew I trusted her, so she set me up in situations where I was challenged but I would succeed. These included being first rider up on several standardbreds, riding broke horses bareback in huge fields, and finally I bought the mare who had always been a partner after three years of riding Mr Wrong.

I find myself sticking, being brave, and never falling. I trust my horse, I trust myself, so I stick. This may be a mental block, I also reccomend riding western and just focusing on riding an honest horse who sets you up for success.

People aren't very different from horses sometimes, sounds like your a good doer who keeps being set up for failure. Time to go out of the ring and get back to basics.

JRG
Jun. 30, 2009, 06:33 AM
What ever you are doing...change it! Before you get youself seriously injured. It is not worth the bragging rights. It seems you need to get out out of your own head and see what you are doing.

Treasmare2
Jun. 30, 2009, 07:10 AM
I commend you courage and stick to it attitude but you need to take care of any physical issues that might be going on with you. I too have crashed GPA's and had too many falls to remember. Some falls were just the inevitable things that happen riding babies and tough horses. Some were because I have a short leg and seem to have bred and now ride very large warmbloods so I just pop off when my base gets rocked. The head injury from years ago did affect my balance and I had to not ride for some time. Even now, years later, if I have a cold or flu or get over tired I lose some of my stability. Could you be falling more when you are not at you best and your physical issues begin to over shadow the situation? Perhaps you have a cold or head ache or sinus stuff?

I agree, at age 25 you are way too young to be having a lenghty list of wounds. I am 56 so I am allowed to have more than you but even now I too am wondering if I need to join the competition knitting group. The better part of me says no way. Riding has never been an easy sport for me but it is my passion and I will continue to do it. I think you can too but you need to make adjustments as the others have suggested. Check out the physical stuff and perhaps have something good to eat before riding. Sometimes those tougher horses and the activity deplete us during the ride.....protein bar maybe?

The other thing I did several years ago was splurge on an expensive saddle...really not a splurge as a good well balanced well made saddle is safety equipmnent....so it and the best hat you can buy. Use some fricton wax when you are going to jump more than something low and ride the nice horses. I no longer jump on anything.....I ride only nice horses or nice young horses. Be selective.

I wish I had given my head injury more healing time before riding again. I have always had this stupid need to be a hero in some way and discount my body's needs. I do not know who I ever thought I would impress by doing that.....stupid youth. I regret that now...take care of you NOW and it may extend your riding career. No one else can tell you what to do and no one else has to live day to day with your pain. As you age, my dear, it will get worse so try to address it now. I believe in pressing onwards despite pain but that does not mean you need to ignor and not address what is going on....be persistent with the medical people about what can be one now....what is the long term plan. I have chiro( the fact that I am often twisted was a contributer to falls) and massage on a regular basis to maintain me....I do stretches (and as an older lady I take bone density medication but you are too young for that).
Take care of you....lots of good advise and concern here. As a rider I of course say looking after you will allow you to keep riiding longer....do nothing and you career on horseback may be winding down. Do all you can now.

TatteredDaydreamer
Jun. 30, 2009, 07:21 AM
I agree with Trixie and a bunch of others, if it hurts, go get it fixed. No doubt you are trying to compensate because, well, it HURTS and that's human nature.

Find something safe that you ENJOY riding. This is supposed to be fun and as much as we wish we were, we aren't kids anymore and we don't bounce like we used to. I was and am in your position, poor junior, poor ammy that rides whatever is available because hey, at least I get to ride!

I was falling off everyday. I was riding OTTB's, one that comes to mind was NUTS. She would, at any given moment, have all four feet off the ground, bucking, spinning, rearing....or a combination of two. I'm not a great rider, but I'm a decent rider with good balence and enough experience to NOT be falling off everyday. I was getting paid to ride the nutters that the BO didn't want to get hurt on, because she now had a family and didn't want herself getting smashed up or worse. Nice, eh? Let me tell you, getting on and riding defensively and just WAITING for the next explosion to come is not my idea of a good time anymore and at this point, it's supposed to be.

I'll still ride the green beans, in fact that's what I enjoy doing the most, but the green beans I get on now have are playing with a full deck of cards and if they act silly it's baby silliness that's easy to correct. Go find something you enjoy. The who blingy WP horse actually doesn't sound half bad!;) Hang in there....we're supposed to be having fun!

Romany
Jun. 30, 2009, 07:38 AM
Think about seeking professional help for maintaining your back - it's quite likely that you might be paying now for something you've done to it way back when. So, GP, chiropractor, osteopath, massage therapist, acupuncturist - whatever you're comfortable with. Get personal references if you can.

It might be that you don't have the same core strength or flexibility you used to have (ask me how I know :rolleyes: ), and your body is compensating by bracing, which becomes painful. Working with a pt, or in a good gym under competent supervision, on weights, I found hugely helpful for this. For flexibility and core strength, consider working with a good Pilates and/or yoga instructor.

One problem I have that I didn't realise probably contributed to my lower back pain is that I tend to be round-shouldered. The wonderful weights dude at the gym really worked on me "hollowing" my back and using the lower back for strength when I was lifting, vs my shoulders, and I found that one little lesson has made more of a difference than anything else! Same applies when riding, within reason of course.

Dressage...I wouldn't be surprised if it made you sore because you're already sore, and it irritated the underlying issue - ? Try a different saddle.

Try taking a Robax beforehand (I'm NOT a medical professional, but it's a muscle relaxant, which works for me when required).

Have you seen slomo footage of yourself riding over fences? Can you see if you're twisting, or snapping at some stage, or bracing, perhaps?

Poor you - the pain is frustrating and can really get you down, can't it.

fordtraktor
Jun. 30, 2009, 08:16 AM
On the dressage issue -- dressage is often really hard on people with bad backs. I have a pinched nerve in my spine, and can't sit the trot for the life of me -- I am virtually crippled by the time I get in the car. But I can post the trot and ride the canter fine.

OP has gotten a lot of good suggestions. You have to decide what is more important -- your reputation for being willing to ride anything, or your enjoyment of horses. For me that's an easy question. Learning how to use the word "no" is very helpful for these situations.

Sebastian
Jun. 30, 2009, 04:24 PM
Ah, so you're only 25... Well, it might just mean that you need to take a break long enough to allow your body to heal. (I know from personal experience that NOT doing that will only make the pain continue and falls more frequent.)

I also see a Chiro once a week FAITHFULLY. It helps a lot.

AND, if I ever have to give up jumping and be a DQ? I'm gettin' a Baroque horse...only trot I can really sit anymore... :winkgrin: :lol:

Seb :)

RugBug
Jun. 30, 2009, 04:28 PM
AND, if I ever have to give up jumping and be a DQ?

I'm switching to reining when that happens. :lol:

Sebastian
Jun. 30, 2009, 04:31 PM
I'm switching to reining when that happens. :lol:

I've thought about driving Mini's too... ;)

Seb :D

Pirateer
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:33 PM
I've thought about driving Mini's too... ;)

Seb :D

That is my backup plan :)

Come Shine
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:40 PM
That is my backup plan :)

Sounds like a blast!!! Are you sure maybe you're not subconsciously falling off to get to drive? ;)

Pirateer
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:43 PM
Sounds like a blast!!! Are you sure maybe you're not subconsciously falling off to get to drive? ;)

I bet that is it...
(I have even shown driving before...its pretty much the best thing ever...I want a fancy german sportpony to drive)

Come Shine
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:45 PM
I bet that is it...
(I have even shown driving before...its pretty much the best thing ever...I want a fancy german sportpony to drive)

That sounds too cool!!! What are you waiting for? :)

Pirateer
Jun. 30, 2009, 05:47 PM
That sounds too cool!!! What are you waiting for? :)

The only people who drive near me are...very....special.

Think Parelli with ASBs. Yes indeed.

Go Fish
Jun. 30, 2009, 06:59 PM
I hate to say it, but cutting and reining is terribly hard on your back, especially your lower back. My lower disks and neck on x-ray would make your toes curl. It's the main reason I had to give it up. :sadsmile:

tullio
Jun. 30, 2009, 08:59 PM
Some folks have mentioned a chiropractor and that is a great idea. I'm past the weekly visit (I go every 2 weeks! Accomplishment!) and it is ridiculous how much better I feel.... NO back pain and I've had it since college. I'm 28, so I understand how tough it is to be on the young side and dealing with injuries/pain.

The other thing my chiropractors uncovered was a serious lack of symmetry - definitely enough to mess up riding. With adjustments, therapy, and tons of strengthening exercise, I am feeling much better and riding better, too. I would need pages to catalog the difference in my fitness and the impact on riding. If you do nothing else, PLEASE consider seeing a good chiro!!!:)

vali
Jun. 30, 2009, 09:42 PM
Pilates has really helped me, and I have an S curve in my spine. But to do it right, you should find someone who is STOTT certified and do individual sessions on the equipment. It's the only thing that has kept my back from going out, and helped me recover from having a nearly 10lb baby. I also bought a very solid horse several years ago, one that never stopped, bucked, bolted, or reared. Amazing, but true. He could be a little hot but there was never any doubt he would go. I persuaded my husband that if we were going to start a family I needed a horse that was safe, after the very "athletic" gelding that used to dump me with great regularity, and had the trip of a lifetime horseshopping in New Zealand. I had my lovely safe guy for seven years and two pregnancies without ever coming off or having a stop, and now I'm back riding greenies with a renewed confidence. People now refer to me having a velcro seat. My older guy is 18 and is reintroducing my mother to the joys of riding. She just won her first dressage classes on him and is about to take him to her first event.

3eme
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:39 AM
Hey -

Maybe your saddle is too flat? Maybe try a model with a deep seat ...

Peggy
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:49 AM
I've thought about driving Mini's too... ;)

Seb :DAny other Left Coast types remember Mrs. J. A. Smith (I think I have the name right)? Every year her corsage got bigger, her outfit blingier, and her pony higher-stepping. Rumor was that she'd done hunters in her younger years.

Pirateer
Jul. 1, 2009, 02:08 AM
Hey -

Maybe your saddle is too flat? Maybe try a model with a deep seat ...

For the first 8 or so years of my riding life I rode in Crosby PDN...just about as flat as you can get. Also went through a super deep /padded Amerigo Vega, and my current medium deep/padded Antares.

Fixerupper
Jul. 1, 2009, 02:48 AM
So I have a dilemma.

And it may not be a dilemma so much as coming to terms with the inevitable.

I fall off.

A lot.

I don't suck. I'm not terrible. I can get around a 3'6 jumper course in fine fashion and win every time. Unless I fall off.

Been there


Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

If dressage is 'painful' and you fall off on 'stops'...I would suggest working on 'core' strength with a personal trainer....

Due to injuries unrelated to riding, I was laid up for a fairly long period and had serious difficulty with just these riding issues...once I recovered my true 'core' strenth with a non-riding fitness program, my riding and my confidence improved immeasurably...worth a try :)

Pirateer
Jul. 1, 2009, 03:45 AM
Been there



If dressage is 'painful' and you fall off on 'stops'...I would suggest working on 'core' strength with a personal trainer....

Due to injuries unrelated to riding, I was laid up for a fairly long period and had serious difficulty with just these riding issues...once I recovered my true 'core' strenth with a non-riding fitness program, my riding and my confidence improved immeasurably...worth a try :)

Yepp, am working on getting into a good fitness program.

Also, I generally do not fall off on stops, just runouts. This probably makes it painfully obvious that I have a one-sidedness, especially considering they are all right side runouts. *headdesk*

GotGait
Jul. 1, 2009, 08:07 AM
Ride gaited horses. Duh. :winkgrin:

Pirateer
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:18 PM
Ride gaited horses. Duh. :winkgrin:

No offense, but dear god, no. :)

Sebastian
Jul. 1, 2009, 03:25 PM
Any other Left Coast types remember Mrs. J. A. Smith (I think I have the name right)? Every year her corsage got bigger, her outfit blingier, and her pony higher-stepping. Rumor was that she'd done hunters in her younger years.

When I was in college I used to help a friend that showed Welsh and Hackney Driving ponies. I'm betting I used to see her go...

The mini-roadsters were my fav...(zoom, zoom, zoom) :yes:

Seb :D

Fixerupper
Jul. 1, 2009, 09:56 PM
No offense, but dear god, no. :)

:lol::lol::lol::lol:

Fixerupper
Jul. 1, 2009, 10:00 PM
Yepp, am working on getting into a good fitness program.

Do or do not...there is no try ....Yoda ;)

mvp
Jul. 1, 2009, 10:45 PM
First, I used to be your kind of rider-- I would/could ride anything. Bounced off the ground and got back one. Had no money so that's how things went for a very long time. I also tend to fall off to the right.

You might be correct looking and quite functional, but not as straight as you need to be in order to ride these snakey ones. It's subtle and many trainers don't see it, but I can ride with one hip ahead of the other and that's enough to make me crooked enough to mean that I'm not *really* straight and centered side-to-side.

What fixed this for me may not be attractive to you. But it included a set of remedial a$$-whoppin-lessons from a good, observant H/J trainer. It also took some help from a dressage trainer who helped me really feel when I wasn't straight. After that, I tied my stirrups to my girth so that I could really feel what it was like to be held straight and then just f-ing practiced by myself until straight got comfortable.

The pay-off has been great, but I had to first find my own reason for wanting to slow down and work on something as basic as straightness when the people and horses I rode didn't seem to notice or care. I just got tired of being known as the one who wasn't pretty but was effective.

GotGait
Jul. 2, 2009, 11:25 AM
No offense, but dear god, no. :)

Sadly, I feel the same way at times. :lol:

fair judy
Jul. 2, 2009, 11:54 AM
i have a dear dear friend who hit her head too many times. we begged her after each injury to stop. finally she had a situation where she had to have a surgery which could likely have left her paralyzed from the neck down, or on a ventilator for "life". she and her partner had to actually go back over her will and do the end of life decisions before the surgery. thank goodness she came through it.

she kept riding for a while. tried the flat stuff. changed her program. taking a step down or away just was not in her nature.

she pretty much cannot even take an accidental bump on the noggin from, say a horse swinging its head to get a fly, now.

this woman is a pro, has a pedigree that is a mile long in the biz. she has stepped away to almost nothing now. she is ony 50 years old.

sometimes you just have to go with your gut. if you have had the injuries you describe you have to consider the "who will take care of me if i am completely incapacited due to shaken brain syndrome" issue.

when being careful gets into your thought process i think you have more accidents. maybe i am reading something into your posts that is not there, but i hear a bit of self doubt, and an unwillingness to accept anything but the top of your game.

seeuatx
Jul. 2, 2009, 12:08 PM
I feel ya... except my issue is lack of confidence after being a crash test dummy for other people's horses. I got tired of getting hurt. I'm not riding much right now, just the occasional lesson at my trainers, so I started running. I thought that would be safe, but then I twisted my ankle and have been off all week. I guess I am just accident prone.

Anyhow, I find myself intrigued by Cutting and Team Penning... maybe even Reining. I think in my next life I might play around with some of those. I like WP bling... but I get bored easily

saddleup
Jul. 2, 2009, 12:39 PM
After a bad fall where I broke my shoulder blade in half (ouch!) and had to sleep sitting up in a chair for a month...I had lots of time to contemplate what it was I loved about riding. Was it jumping fences, speed, the challenge? Or was it the horse/rider relationship?

I decided that I just wanted to be with horses, in some fashion, and I didn't really care what anymore. I decided I could have a long and happy life with horses and never leave the ground again. Like you, I found dressage unappealing, so I ventured into trail riding/western pleasure/drill team/parades/cattle sorting/reining. A whole new world opened up and I've been very happy...and have only been marginally hurt once! Yes, I'm the "jack of all trades and the master of none", but I don't really care anymore.

As I've aged I am much more cautious about what kind of horse I ride, too. I've gravitated toward the stock breeds now, as much for their calm dispositions as for their different sets of skills and aptitudes.

Long story short, there are lots of options out there that will let you continue to enjoy your horse life without getting hurt!

jetsmom
Jul. 3, 2009, 12:17 PM
ditto on balance issues, as well as working on strength and flexibility in your core. I'm sure the multiple falls have not helped at all in that department! Have you checked out a sports physical therapist? If not that, yoga or pilates maybe? Saddle velcro? Super glue on the bottom of your breeches? :)

I agee about core strength. Work on abs (google "7 Min abs" Or Legendary abs). Also do dead lifts, hanging bent leg raises, dumbell raises, etc. If your core is weak, the "whipping" motion of a runout will make you fall off. Weight training will help immensely.

JumpQH
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:17 PM
I tried riding dressage and i just...erm...hate it.

I am a true blue Hunter Princess who may be able to be swayed by a purdy WP horse w/ bling. Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

I had also doubted jumping, and decided to switch to dressage. I bought myself a really nice dressage saddle and started lessons. Found out it hurt my back REALLY, REALLY bad! Now, I have a very comfy dressage saddle that sits after being used only a few times. I was happy to hear someone else also had back issues trying to ride dressage!

Mac123
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:18 PM
I am sorry to hear about your problem. You should be concerned. Our sport is a risky one and some seem to have a natural predisposition to falling off. I think some of that can be explained by bad luck or karma or what have you, but not all of it.

Let's face it: falling off is a normal part of the sport. Falling off a lot (how frequent do you fall, btw?) is NOT normal and points to something being wrong in the equation of how you're doing things.

Not knowing what you look like or how you ride, 3 things stand out to me:

1. You say you always fall of on runouts to the right. From this limited information, this means that either all the horses you ride happen to have a running out problem (and specifically to the right) OR there is something you are inadvertently doing to predispose the runouts. IME, runouts are caused by rider (form fault, anticipation, nervousness) or extreme crookedness or one sidedness in the horses. So my first thing to do is to watch a video of you jumping, preferably of a tumble, to figure out if there is anything you're doing or if you just have incredibly bad luck and end up with runouts!

2. Your position is correct to the eye (legs, seat, upper body where they should be) but biomechanically is incorrect. That is, you know where to hold your position to be correct but you are not *a part of the horse* so that when he goes one direction, you cannot stay with him. This would make it easy to stay with longituninal leaps or bucks but not lateral ones.

The other night I was riding my young jumper and had just finished a wonderful flatwork session with him. I dropped the reins on the buckle, had a hand one one thigh, and was walking him out. When we entered the corner of the arena a bird that was in the dirt suddenly flew up at his face. He spooked and immediately dropped his butt and shot to the left.

I stayed on easily, but only because of being so down "in" him that my body naturally deepend the seat, gave with my back to follow him but tightened the abs, and followed his sudden movement. It comes from ones position inherently having a supple litheness that allows the body to *let go* in those situations and follow the movement. Which is completely against the instincts!! But think about it - tensing against the horse pushes one away from the horse. Just sit on the horse and grip with the legs. It gives a false sense of security by making you feel tighter but in reality loosens your position.

So that would be my 2nd guess - that you are physically tight in your position which is not always the tightest and most secure position to be in.

3. Something physical. With all your injuries (or maybe without them) you might have an underlying physical issue that isn't allowing you to stay with your horse. You might have a balance issue or slow reaction time, which could be medically related. Go get checked out!!! It's not worth it to gamble with your life if there is something medically wrong.

Feel free to PM me with pictures or vids - I'd be happy to take a look and see if I can find anything.