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View Full Version : likelihood of falls in dressage vs H/J?



superpony123
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:03 AM
I wandered over from H/J land because i was wondering if there's really much of a big difference in likelihood/amount of falls from H/J to dressage, due to the lack of jumping in dressage.

Obviously, just because there's no jumping does not mean a horse can't have an absolute fit or take off or spook or buck or do anything a H/J horse could do on the flat.

However I find that 90% of my falls are from jumping. Maybe the manner in which you generally fall just depends on your experience? I've been thrown countless bucks in my riding life, and none of them have ever gotten me on the ground. emergency dismounts have happened a few times, and also occured on-course. When i try to think about it really hard, less than 5 falls have occured on the flat. I've only been riding for 6 years, though. All of those falls were when i was a beginner (like learning to canter! haha)

So, there's my quesion: for those of you who have done the H/J as well as dressage, do you find that your falls are much rarer in dressage due to lack of jumping?

I'm simply curious, and not insisting HJ is 'harder' or 'more dangerous' or anything just because of jumping. :) I've just kind of always wondered. I know the danger is just the same, but I'm more interested in the actual likelihood. for example, I've never been to a dressage show. How often does a fall occur at a dressage show? I know at roughly every h/j show i've ever been to, there's been at least one fall. at the bigger shows where there's a bajillion divisions, I'll see multiple falls everyday. I'm just wondering how things compare?

mypaintwattie
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:08 AM
I think its about the same- of course in my case I seem to have fallen off more riding dressage than H/J! Just because you are not jumping doesn't mean the risk isn't there.

lewin
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:23 AM
For me:

HJ falls: 5; 2 over fences

Dressage falls: 1

I do think it is less. At dressage shows I have only seen one or two fall off. Hunter-jumper shows you almost saw at least one fall per division.

thatmoody
Aug. 27, 2009, 04:50 AM
I know someone who falls off quite a bit, so she switched to dressage. She still falls off a lot. She's been riding a long time, btw, and I think she needs to do something different, but it's not really my business - I just think it's interesting. She just doesn't have a very secure seat, no matter what discipline she rides... :P. But I think that different activities bring different risk profiles - I used to train young horses, and that had a significantly higher RP than what I do now.

Eclectic Horseman
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:38 AM
Depends. Some unaccomplished riders have very bad balance and poor coordination. A rider who is rolling around in the saddle on her butt with her knees drawn up and using her reins for balance can just lose her balance and fall off without any reason whatsoever. Some riders that are a bit better than that will fall off if the horse trips or coughs. It really won't make any difference with this type of rider whether they are riding over fences or on the flat. In fact, with this type of rider riding the same horse all the time, the situation is likely to get worse and worse as both the rider and horse become more tense.

Other riders will stay on unless the horse does something sudden-like stop short or shy. Theoretically, this will happen more in jumping, particularly with a rider that unintentionally interferes with the horse's balance, causing a stop or run out. But it really depends on the horse's temperament. I've seen flying armchairs that pack around small courses with terrible riders aboard, and I've seen sensitive dressage horses that lose their confidence and freak out when not ridden every stride by a competent rider.

In most circumstances, dressage riding inside the arena should provide less reason for a rider with poor skills to fall off, as long as the rider has a suitable mount.

goeslikestink
Aug. 27, 2009, 11:54 AM
Depends. Some unaccomplished riders have very bad balance and poor coordination. A rider who is rolling around in the saddle on her butt with her knees drawn up and using her reins for balance can just lose her balance and fall off without any reason whatsoever. Some riders that are a bit better than that will fall off if the horse trips or coughs. It really won't make any difference with this type of rider whether they are riding over fences or on the flat. In fact, with this type of rider riding the same horse all the time, the situation is likely to get worse and worse as both the rider and horse become more tense.

Other riders will stay on unless the horse does something sudden-like stop short or shy. Theoretically, this will happen more in jumping, particularly with a rider that unintentionally interferes with the horse's balance, causing a stop or run out. But it really depends on the horse's temperament. I've seen flying armchairs that pack around small courses with terrible riders aboard, and I've seen sensitive dressage horses that lose their confidence and freak out when not ridden every stride by a competent rider.

In most circumstances, dressage riding inside the arena should provide less reason for a rider with poor skills to fall off, as long as the rider has a suitable mount.

yeap and it also depends on how well your horse is balanced

FancyFree
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:29 PM
I've never fallen off once while riding dressage but I've fallen off while jumping many times. I think there's definitely a greater chance of falling while jumping.

bort84
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:33 PM
I think most people would agree that there is an increased chance of falling while jumping. If a rider is very accomplished over fences and on the flat, there's just more chance for you or the horse to lose your balance when you're jumping over an obstacle (and if the rider isn't very accomplished in either case, then there's a LOT more opportunity to take a tumble while jumping). When you're encouraging a horse to take all four feet off the ground, it just increases the chance that if something goes wrong, you're going to lose your balance to the point of falling.

I know riders that always fall off while jumping and their trainer tells them that's completely normal (falling off every ride at least once), and I think that's a BIG problem. So I don't think you should fall off frequently just because you're jumping. But I do think jumping increases the chances of a fall compared to just riding on the flat (especially in a nice safe dressage arena, haha).

Beam Me Up
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:37 PM
Over many years . . .

I've fallen the most on x-c at events.
A couple times at jumper shows.
Once at hunter show (naughty greenie!)
Never at a dressage show.

However, I have fallen off on the flat at home, mostly when we were cooling out or walking on the trail and something spooky happened.

FancyFree
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:39 PM
However, I have fallen off on the flat at home, mostly when we were cooling out or walking on the trail and something spooky happened.

Oh if you're talking about out on trail as well, I've gotten dumped probably ten or more times throughout my life. I had a horse who would roll me off and run back home when I was a kid, so he counts for about six of those times. :lol:

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:45 PM
Well not counting the two falls (in the same week) when I was just learning how to ride (ok one WAS from a buck).

Jumping: 3 falls

Dressage: 0 falls

Have experienced naughty behavior in both disciplines from horses, but no falls from that (fingers crossed--full chaps are a trail rider's friend I tell you). All the naughty stuff, spooking, crow hopping, rearing, and bucking, etc.--if it is going to get you, it is going to get you on the flat regardless of what type of riding you do. So certain riders and horses are going to skew any stats you look at, but in general I'd stake my money on jumping causing more falls. Certainly more fatalities (look at eventing's unfortunate bad run in recent past).

All three of my jumping falls were over fences. 2 involved me jumping ahead (BAD) and the horse refusing.

And there are just certain horse's that are more likely to do naughty things. There's a reason I grab the 19 year old QH out of the barn when I want to ride bareback and leave my younger thoroughbred in his stall!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:47 PM
I know riders that always fall off while jumping and their trainer tells them that's completely normal (falling off every ride at least once), and I think that's a BIG problem.

Shut Up! I would quit if I fell off every ride/time I jumped. Good Lord! Time to go back to the base of support!!

That's straight up scary--

quietann
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:49 PM
So far I've never been dumped while on the flat or trail riding. But jumping is another matter; I've had maybe 10 falls total in 10 years of riding (7 as a teen, 3 more recently.) Only one was really bad, resulting in broken bones; two others resulted in injuries beyond a scrape or a bruise.

After the bad fall last summer, I swore off jumping, but I've gone over crossrails a few times on the gelding I ride, and I know maresy *wants* to jump, but I'm a bit unsure about actually jumping her as she gets very revved up. OTOH, for trail riding, I think having some jumping experience is absolutely necessary, as there will be logs, ditches, streams to cross, etc.

At our last schooling show, the warm-up jumps were next to the dressage warm-up, and every time we were pointed towards the jumps, she'd start subtly moving towards them. And she will use any excuse to jump over a pole on the ground!

It's very odd; I am not a "beautiful" rider by any means, and I can get pretty tense, but my balance is right on.

Janet
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:51 PM
I don't know about FALLS per se.

But with regard to "trips to the ER", there was a CDC study a few years ago.

The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

bort84
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:52 PM
Shut Up! I would quit if I fell off every ride/time I jumped. Good Lord! Time to go back to the base of support!!

That's straight up scary--

I totally agree. These are usually riders with those trainers we all like to avoid at the horse shows (you know, the ones where you want to close your eyes and say a little prayer whenever their riders come in the ring). My friend's little sister rode at a place like this and literally got dumped EVERY ride because they over mounted her constantly. Then she started jumping and it just got worse. Ack! We couldn't convince her parents to move her to our barn because they thought the sibling rivalry would be bad and because she had "such a great connection" with her trainer... I still don't understand that one because her parents were otherwise quite reasonable.

Anyway, just mentioned that because there are a lot of unknowledgeable people out there who believe trainers when they say it's okay to fall off all the time. No it's not. I don't care if you're jumping. If you're falling off every ride, something is really wrong with your trainer! Why does the horse world attract such nutters? Haha. I'm a bit of a nutter I suppose, but I'm the good kind = )

bort84
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:54 PM
I don't knwo about FALLS per se.

But with regard to "trips to the ER", there was a CDC study a few years ago.

The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

Haha!!! Obviously! That's why I'd always cringe when I'd see young riders doing this at horse shows, and forbade my students from ever being so careless under my watch = ) Though I think most of us have been guilty of that at one time or another...

Eclectic Horseman
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:54 PM
I
The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

I definitely believe that. And if you really want flying lessons, take a powerful, reactive upper level dressage horse for a hack in the woods! :eek:

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 27, 2009, 12:56 PM
I don't knwo about FALLS per se.

But with regard to "trips to the ER", there was a CDC study a few years ago.

The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

I believe it. But for my full chaps (seriously), I'm sure I'd have some of those too. Like the time the cat jumped into the arena through an open window, trying to land on my lap. Unfortunately I was mounted at the time, cooling my horse out on a loose rein. Fastest spin/jump/spook combo I'll ever sit. Thank you full chaps!!

Miss-O
Aug. 27, 2009, 01:13 PM
I think it really depends on the individual rider. I think there are a lot of people out there who ride better when they are doing something they consider more dangerous, such as jumping or galloping. I know that is true for myself. I'm ashamed to admit that my worst falls have been at the trot.

Rival
Aug. 27, 2009, 01:39 PM
I definately think people fall off more jumping. I used to jump and then swapped over to dressage. In the year I was at a dressage only barn I think I was the only person to come off their horse (my three year old). When I moved into a mixed facility (about 70 horses and 60 are hunter/jumpers) atleast one and usually more falls per week seem to be the norm.

I will say however if you are going to come off a dressage horse it is usually in much grander fashion (maybe than even some rodeos)

FancyFree
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:10 PM
Anyway, just mentioned that because there are a lot of unknowledgeable people out there who believe trainers when they say it's okay to fall off all the time. No it's not. I don't care if you're jumping. If you're falling off every ride, something is really wrong with your trainer! Why does the horse world attract such nutters?

The more I read about some trainers, the more I appreciate the trainers I've had. None of my trainers would want me to do more than they thought I was capable of. From the size of the jumps to the type of show, if they thought it might be a bad experience, they'd give their honest opinion about it. I remember when practically my whole barn was going to a big show. I only had my mare about six months with just two shows under our belt (little shows at my home barn). My trainer discouraged me from going. Waste of time and money she said, not to mention being demoralizing if we did really badly. Some trainers are just in it for the cash though.

Ambrey
Aug. 27, 2009, 02:15 PM
I don't knwo about FALLS per se.

But with regard to "trips to the ER", there was a CDC study a few years ago.

The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

Haha, I definitely buy that! At least in my n=1 study of ER trips it fits ;)

mbm
Aug. 27, 2009, 04:02 PM
i dont think it is discipline specific - at least for me all my falls have been on greenies. and most of them have been on a free rein ;)

it used to be i could stick anything, but a i get older i am less able to stick - i think my reaction time is lessening :(

anyway, my vote is for green beans.

LD1129
Aug. 27, 2009, 04:07 PM
I have had less falls after switching from hunter/jumper to dressage. However my 5 year old last year got me off at a recognized dressage show by jumping like a cat 8 feet over a puddle (in a covered arena :rolleyes:)

Equibrit
Aug. 27, 2009, 04:20 PM
The more time your _ss stays planted in the saddle - the less chance of bidding it farewell. Hence the benefit of developing a secure and balanced seat, whatever the discipline.

Carnelian
Aug. 27, 2009, 04:42 PM
The last fall I had was on xc going novice in 2007. My DH thinks jumping is soooo dangerous that a "condition" of my new horse purchase was dressage only. This was no biggie because my eventing trainer moved to Georgia, and I gave it up rather than go it alone without her. I'm a re-rider that went prelim back in the 80s so I've had plenty of years eventing and doing lower level jumpers. It was an easy concession.

However my biggest horse related injury happened in the stall AT A DRESSAGE SHOW. Arm broken, surgery, plates in both bones.

I do have to agree that while on the horse, the more time you butt is in the saddle and not over a fence the more likely it will stay in the saddle.

All that being said I miss jumping and admit that I "cheat" once a month or so and jump some little stuff.

FancyFree
Aug. 27, 2009, 05:14 PM
However my biggest horse related injury happened in the stall AT A DRESSAGE SHOW. Arm broken, surgery, plates in both bones.

What happened? That's sounds really bad.

BTW it's not "cheating" to jump your dressage horse. Some of them, like mine, really enjoy it. Although for us "jumping" is an itty bitty cross-rail at this point.

badawg
Aug. 27, 2009, 05:23 PM
Well, I'm an eventer, and have had two somewhat serious falls in the last year. But both happened on the flat. Once was between fences, wasn't even presented to a fence. The other happened as we were warming up. *shrug* My absolute worst injury happened years ago before I ever jumped as I was hacking in a field. You just never know. Ok, none of these examples were from dressage, but they were all on the flat.

eventing-n-SD
Aug. 27, 2009, 05:39 PM
The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

I think about that every single time I dare to walk on a loose rein (which is a lot). The other voice in my head is Ingrid Klimke admonishing a rider several times at a clinic for not walking her horse on the buckle. It's a double edged sword!

SoldierBoy96
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:22 PM
I've only ever been dumped once over a fence. All the other times, I was doing flatwork. Makes me nervous that I'm cheating the system :lol:

rodawn
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:48 PM
I also had eyes bugging out of my head when I read the comment of falling off every ride... errr WAY too much. Far too dangerous. Your head, neck and back can only take that kind of abuse so long, even with safety protection. You land on your head, even with a helmet on and your brain still smashes into the inside of your skull, and you can still break your neck. Geez louise, I'd be rethinking the coach and looking for one who taught me and my horse proper balance and form, or investing in some serious glue for my butt. Getting catapaulted out of the saddle by a powerful 1200-1500 pound animal at a speed akin to what - 20-30 km/hour? Can be a permanently life-altering experience, should you be fortunate enough to survive, which thankfully most of us do survive it.

Christopher Reeves broke his neck being catapaulted out of the saddle while jumping. (Did someone already mention that? I haven't read everybody's responses yet... if already mentioned, I apologize.)

It's a rare to fall off during dressage. Actually, jumping is more dangerous than dressage, because the idea behind dressage is to teach your horse greater skills, obedience, and tractability under saddle.

It would possibly be more common to fall off a wiley youngster or a very dishonest pony who likes to do full-stops whilst dropping their shoulder, or one certain pony who thought it very funny to scoot under low branches.... It is very important for everyone to learn how to do an emergency and/or flying dismount to land on your feet and still hold onto the reins.

The last time I fell, I nearly died. It wasn't my horse's fault, or mine. It was a freak accident. We were jumping in competition. His feet slipped out from under him in slightly slick turf conditions (even while wearing studs) during take off and down we both went, he on top of me, crunching me under poles and standards. Fortunately for me, the ground was soft and cushioned and enveloped me a bit, and doubly lucky for me, my horse was very careful getting up because studded hooves would have been devastating. People said he was watching where he put his feet, like he knew I was under there somewhere under the smashed poles and splintered wood. Good boy, he never ran away either, he stood there looking and waiting for me to get up - - which I never did get up until I woke up in the ER. Doctor said, no more jumping for you. Next fall could be your life. He, by the way, only had a few bumps and bruises.

Yes, you can fall while riding in dressage, but jumping definitely has a higher incidence and greater seriousness to it. For this reason, I also have a younger, skilled person start my youngsters and put a few months on them and then I take over.

Falling isn't always the problem, however, it's getting hung in your stirrups in the middle of a fall which could be the most life jeopardizing situation to be in. It would help to have the stomach strength to stiffen your leg, roll your body outwards to rotate your foot in the stirrup so it can fall out, or be able to heave your body to the saddle so you can reach the pommel and hopefully be able to hang on until you could release your foot, or talk your now anxious horse into calming down.

bird4416
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:51 PM
I can't begin to count the number of times I've fallen off over the years. (been riding for over 40 years) Usually if the horse jumps, I stay on. Its when they slam on brakes at the last minute or veer off suddenly that I've parted company with the saddle. I have only come off once while riding dressage and that was because my mare gave a giant buck that sent me flying. She was unhappy about the movement I was asking for and let me know it big time. I think jumping just lends itself to more opportunities to lose your balance and come off.

twofatponies
Aug. 27, 2009, 11:15 PM
Depends. Some unaccomplished riders have very bad balance and poor coordination. A rider who is rolling around in the saddle on her butt with her knees drawn up and using her reins for balance can just lose her balance and fall off without any reason whatsoever. Some riders that are a bit better than that will fall off if the horse trips or coughs. It really won't make any difference with this type of rider whether they are riding over fences or on the flat. In fact, with this type of rider riding the same horse all the time, the situation is likely to get worse and worse as both the rider and horse become more tense.

Other riders will stay on unless the horse does something sudden-like stop short or shy. Theoretically, this will happen more in jumping, particularly with a rider that unintentionally interferes with the horse's balance, causing a stop or run out. But it really depends on the horse's temperament. I've seen flying armchairs that pack around small courses with terrible riders aboard, and I've seen sensitive dressage horses that lose their confidence and freak out when not ridden every stride by a competent rider.

In most circumstances, dressage riding inside the arena should provide less reason for a rider with poor skills to fall off, as long as the rider has a suitable mount.

Sorry, this just reminds me of a kid I saw at a junior type dressage show. She was sitting on her horse at a halt, outside the ring, and the horse did something so small - raised its head, coughed, rested one leg, I can't recall, and the kid just plopped straight to the ground. I really had to work hard not to double over laughing. Poor thing.

twofatponies
Aug. 27, 2009, 11:18 PM
I think about that every single time I dare to walk on a loose rein (which is a lot). The other voice in my head is Ingrid Klimke admonishing a rider several times at a clinic for not walking her horse on the buckle. It's a double edged sword!

The several most serious accidents I know of (among acquaintances) all happened while walking horses on the buckle at shows. One woman nearly had to have her leg amputated due to the severity of the break! And they were all riders who also jumped.

In fact, the other several recent falls among acquaintances I can think of were during trail rides, at the walk (horse bucked, horse spooked, horse stung by bee, etc.) All resulted in broken bones.

ETA: makes sense, when you are walking on the buckle you are often chatting with friends, relaxing, thinking about how well/badly you just did, etc. and not as focused on what's going on or what your horse is doing; besides not having the reaction time to address the sudden unexpected movement when the horse does something like buck or spook.

dressagevettech
Aug. 27, 2009, 11:52 PM
I don't know about FALLS per se.

But with regard to "trips to the ER", there was a CDC study a few years ago.

The activity MOST LIKELY to send you to the ER?
Walking on a loose rein.

Ah yes that was what last sent me to the ER actually.
Done riding, cooling out in the indoor arena when thing "x" spooked my mare into a full out gallop. I had to bail out before she went down a hill into a fence she had no hope of jumping. She was fine.
I on the other had had a sprained shoulder, black eye/roadrash face, and a nice concussion.

Needless to say I am always on my toes when I walk on a loose rein now!!

Twigster
Aug. 28, 2009, 01:08 AM
Most of my falls have come since I went from dressage to hunters when I got a new horse a year ago. Strangely, not one has been over fences and they've all been at the walk. (I think I got into a nasty habit for awhile of not worrying about the walk, and used that time to think about distances, where to change leads, etc...and miss mare's big spook caught me by surprise more times than it ever should have.)

Janet
Aug. 28, 2009, 01:13 AM
Christopher Reeves broke his neck being catapaulted out of the saddle while jumping.
Actually, he fell off due to the horse NOT jumping.

thatmoody
Aug. 28, 2009, 09:08 AM
I did fall off once during a warmup on a loose rein. Horse saw a cow, reared, ducked hard sideaways during the rear, and came out from under me. But that was pretty extreme circumstances with a green horse, and it's kind of unusual for me to get dumped that way. I was really nervous when I started riding English that I would fall off more often (after all, there's no horn), but truthfully riding western I really was riding less broke horses, and didn't get dumped that often anyway. Besides, I always rode in a slick roping saddle, and that horn isn't much use for anything other than a rope anyway - I'd challenge you to even put your hand AROUND it! :)