View Full Version : Love Riding A Horse I Keep Falling Off! Ok to continue?

Jul. 10, 2010, 03:31 PM
For the first 7 years of my riding tuition, I never jumped a twig- the stables kept promising to arrange it but never got around to it. Now that I want to progress I am learning to jump but I do feel on the back foot a bit!

I have been jumping a horse in lessons who has masses of enthusiasm- never refuses and gives me loads of confidence- but in the last two lessons I've managed to come off both times. The first time we did a grid- I jumped ahead of her as she was trying to put her legs right and she managed to come up underneath and unseat me. I was bruised and winded, but ok, we got on again and did it right. The next time I gave her a rotten approach as we ended up heading for a wing between two jumps. I felt her go- er which one do you want?! assumed she would stop and adopted the safety position. This genuine little mare launched herself over the huge wing, but because I was right behind her I fell off her. That was a much softer fall, I came out with no bruising or winding whatsoever, and we jumped a cross pole twice together successfully afterwards. I just felt so guilty because she made such a big effort and probably ended up with a whack in the mouth for her trouble.

Because I ride her at a riding centre, they are understandably a bit concerned about me being in the accident book 2 x now!

I still get a lot of confidence from this brilliant little horse and I know exactly what went wrong both times I came off, but I am worried they might want to stop me riding her. Do you all think it's ok to keep going? Honest opinions welcome and I'll give you more info if I can. Thank you!

Jul. 10, 2010, 03:54 PM
I think it's ok if you keep going. We ALL fall off, multiple times. It's usually rider error (as it sounds in your book). Are you maybe doing too much too soon?

Also, I love the accent and phrases I hear in your writing :)

Jul. 10, 2010, 04:27 PM
Hey! Nice to see someone from home. :D (I was born in North East England! Still have family there.)

You know why you came off. That's always a good start. :D What height are you jumping? Does the horse wear a neckstrap?

I wonder if you need to work on jumping single fences for a bit longer until you get really secure. Might be worth a try.

Twice in two lessons isn't great, but it's not too scary either. :)

Jul. 10, 2010, 04:39 PM
A neck strap is a good idea. I think single fences, the smaller the better until you get your position figured out is the way to go. I also love courses set up with standards and ground poles instead of jumps. It gives you the feel of steering to the jumps and getting a distance but there is less of a problem when you make a mistake.

Jul. 10, 2010, 08:53 PM
You're not a true rider until you've fallen off at least 7 times! (or some shibang of that nature.)

If you enjoy her, keep riding her! A neck strap is a good suggestion, but it doesn't sound like this horse is putting you in a dangerous situation at all.

I remember falling off this overly energetic large pony 7 times in one lesson, when i was 13 or 14. The horse was very spooky, and I was unable to calm him down or even control him. In this situation I was certainly over mounted, and I'm sure the poor boy would've been much better off with a more confident and secure rider. I'm still unsure why they kept hoisting me back into the saddle, as neither of us was learning anything useful at that point except to ride/go in a more defensive manner.

If you feel that getting left behind/finding the right distance and approach to jumps is difficult, put down the jumps, or do a crossrail course, and practice single jumps, then work back up to a full course.

Jul. 11, 2010, 07:07 PM
If you know why you fell off, and what you can do to fix it, keep going. You don't sound the slightest bit scared of falling off- kudos to you! Keep going.

PS- I love your writing phrases!

Jul. 11, 2010, 08:25 PM
Making mistakes is part of the learning process! It sounds like you genuinely love this mare (and she sounds so cool!) so I hope they keep letting you ride her. I don't think falling off a couple of times is a big deal, as long as they aren't falls resulting from being overmounted. It just sounds to me like you made a couple of pilot errors and came off as a result. Happens to all of us! :)

Jul. 11, 2010, 08:33 PM
Grab mane. It is there to prevent you from getting too far ahead of or behind your horse :).

Jul. 12, 2010, 07:22 AM
Nothing wrong with falling off only if you hurt yourself badly I consider that to be a broken bone :winkgrin: I think to be a good rider you also fall off alot more than 7 times.

Maybe you should consider riding with a different trainer if they are so worried about you stacking it 2 times. I do realise that insurance premiums etc could be why they are so concerned but it is actually quite normal to stack it especially when beginning.

Jul. 12, 2010, 08:24 AM
Okay, this whole mentality that it's okay to fall off all the time is really hard for me to swallow. As a coach myself, I have VERY few falls occur during lessons. In fact, I've been at my current barn for 3 years and have had TWO....thats it and I'm teaching 20-40 lessons per week on top of my own riding.

I teach dressage and jumping. If you move through training (either horse or rider) correctly, without rushing or skipping steps, you shouldn't be falling off all the time! YES, falls happen, they always will....but it shouldn't be happening all the time.... something is wrong when that happens.

It sounds like it's time to seriously back up and work on your balance and position. Lunge lessons, conditioning, and practice over smaller/simpler obstacles until you are secure at that before you move up.


Hunter Mom
Jul. 12, 2010, 09:32 AM
Falling is a part of riding. Sometimes it's their fault, sometimes it's our fault. Sometimes it's a combo effort. I find my falls go in spurts. I'll fall off a couple of times in a matter of a couple of weeks, then go months without. I wouldn't worry if it hasn't shaken your confidence. Maybe go back a few steps and focus on single fences or a small line - no grids, etc.

Jul. 22, 2010, 12:57 PM
Hi folks, sorry to bring this up late, but I lost track and only now have remembered to come back to it.

Thanks for all your replies (and the nice things you said about my writing, he he), and for backing me keeping on with the horse. To tell you all a bit more, she wears a running martingale so she does have a neck strap really, but I never seem to think to grab it in time, or her mane, unfortunately, maybe I'll be more switched on now. We jump cross poles mainly, usually less than 2ft or 2ft, and I've also started out by riding over just poles and trotting poles, and by riding on flat going in and out of jumping position, I've lunged without stirrups through walk trot and canter etc... and I've been over single fences and just 2 fences before we tried grids. I wouldn't say I'm ambitious, I'd like to think we're taking it slowly, and things have gone without a hitch up to now...!! When it comes to falling off I'm pretty bombproof, I just get back up as fast as I can, something I proved when I fainted giving blood, I tried to leap to my feet as soon as I realised I'd been on the floor! I tend to take the approach that if I didn't want to fall off I wouldn't get on.

So, as an update, you will be pleased to know that next lesson we set up a small course with teeny tiny crosspoles and we went around it all directions no problems. It was much easier having more room between jumps as even if she got a bit excited and tried to 'attack', there was only one jump for her to go for so we both knew exactly where we were headed! We put the last fence up quite high (well, just over 3ft, that's high for me!) at the end but it made no difference to either of us, it was still nice and straightforward- her jump felt nicer in fact, not so fast and flat.

I was over the moon that I hadn't caused her any problems and that I got to ride her again. What a superstar, she may be barely more than a pony and not the most beautiful creature in the world (I think she's pretty!), but she'll give anything a shot for you. Who doesn't love an honest horse?!!

Jul. 22, 2010, 01:02 PM
If you can't stay on with a saddle, I recommend to ride LOTS bareback. That will teach you and your body how to stay on really well.

That is how I got my foundation for riding. And yeah, I jumped jumps, worked cows, miles and miles of trails.

If you have a horse who is not comfy bareback, work it out. Or find another horse to ride.

Hey, come ride my arab, he is great bareback. Smooth, and knows how to keep you on top and not on the ground.

There are great benefits to riding bareback.


Come Shine
Jul. 22, 2010, 02:19 PM
I think it depends on why you are falling off. If it is something that you can 'fix' by working on, then by all means, falling off is part of riding. Congrats on you working through things!

However, falling off should never be a 'normal' part of riding. As a vlnt, I hate to see students come off.

I had a student that when the pony would stop, she would fall off. She was simply too big for the pony and the law of physics meant that when the pony stopped, because she was tall, she simply kept going. I couldn't make the child any smaller or the pony any bigger, so the tough lesson was that if she wanted to continue to learn to jump, it was going to need to be on a different pony.

Jul. 22, 2010, 03:22 PM
Everyone falls off, especially when you start jumping. I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. I am sure all will be fine.

If it continues, maybe you should do a step-by-step breakdown of your approach and jump and see if there is a fundamental someplace you are missing.

I honestly thought when I opened this thread that you were gonna say something like you have fallen off the horse 50 times, or something like that.

I also love your written accent, very cool!