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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2005
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    Default Teaching riders how to fall on cross country

    I wasted my youth competing in gymnastics. Wasted because it didn't involve horses. Not entirely wasted because it did teach me a very important skill that has served me well in horse riding. The first lessons I got in gymnastics were how to fall and avoid serious injury.

    The lessons I got involved falling in a tuck and roll fashion with no attempt to land immobile and upright. While this has resulted in some significant laundry, it has spared me broken bones or torn muscles from my fairly numerous unplanned exits from horses' backs.

    With the new rule contemplated for lower level eventing requiring that riders who will be allowed to continue on course cross country must land on their feet, I am confounded what to teach my eventing students about how to fall. The one rider I know who did plan and succeed in landing on her feet damaged her knee as a result of her effort.

    I do see that it would be difficult to judge if a rider is concussed when they are rolling all over the ground after a fall, but I also worry that riders who are attempting to remain on their feet may cause themselves injury they could have avoided with a safer falling technique.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin


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  2. #2
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    May. 5, 2011
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    Frankly, I'm falling in the tuck and roll fashion. I'd rather be DQ'd than blow out a knee or break a bone. My knees suck enough from, surprisingly enough, gymnastics as a kid. They don't need me attempting to land on them bizarrely.

    I'd teach the kids to fall safely. If they want to attempt to land on their feet as adults, let them decide to try it then.


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  3. #3
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    Aug. 14, 2002
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    Virginia
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    Default

    Falling in gymnastics is not like falling from a galloping horse.
    "Tuck and roll" is widely disputed.
    Practical Horseman August 2009 issue has a How to Fall article featuring Danny Warrington, a steeplechase jock.
    The photos in the article are of Philip Dutton surviving a rotational fall and clearly not using tuck and roll.
    The falling method recommended was described at length but was something of a modified tuck and roll, fall over your shoulder, but use arms and legs to deflect and lessen the impact. No tucking the chin down.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 13, 2003
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    Default

    someone on COTH posted about martial arts that teach how to fall, here is a video with an example of a forward roll http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wV49Q9mpUI

    i think it's pretty cool that he is able to jump over that block before diving into his roll, not sure if that translates to falling off a horse?

    the other part is given the nature of cross country courses, it's not a given that the rider will have a flat open space to roll into, there could be obstacles/jumps in the way and then how to manage those?


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  5. #5
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    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Saco, Maine
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    When I'm falling off my horse, I am mostly marveling at the air time I am enjoying and wondering how much it will hurt when I land, whether my horse will stand and wait for me or bolt back to the barn. So far, I always seem to land on my heaviest body part. Being able to roll this monstrosity into a ball would be mind blowing...When I was 13, I learned how to jump off a galloping horse, touch the ground running and bounce right back up into the saddle again. Pretty sure that won't ever happen again.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    15 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Aug. 11, 2010
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    Default

    I have landed on my feet a total of one times, doing an emergency dismount (so not technically a fall) from a horse who bolted.

    I severly damaged my ankles, couldn't walk for two months, couldn't walk properly for six months, and was in physiotherapy for three years.

    It is not worth it.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Aug. 11, 2000
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    Chantilly,va.
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    Default

    I'd wondered about that, too.
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  8. #8
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    Jan. 14, 2006
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    Nashville, TN
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    Default

    We've all seen those falls when you just happen to land on your feet... I think the point of the rule is not to teach someone to get launched and land on their feet- if you get launched, you land like you should land. If you fall off and you happen to land on your feet, you can go on. Does that make sense?


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  9. #9
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    Jun. 16, 2007
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    I can't believe that someone would NOT teach to tuck duck and roll. No one ever said you should roll till you hit something hard or roll til you fall off a cliff. And you sure can pick your landing to not come off in the manure spreader. You are rolling to disipate the energy of the fall...and to get the cheap stuff down first and to not stick out things that break or will cause other things to break. Don't stick out a hand to "stop"the fall...and break your collar bone in many places as your arm jams into your body. Don't try to land on your feet and break your ankle or create a pivot point that causes your joints to lock then over extend. And for Pete's sake don't hang onto the reins and pull the horse out of balance and on top of you. If rolling as you land doesn't make sense to you you are not doing it right and you should take martial arts like judo to safely learn to fall. You can also push away from the horse as you fall hoping to not get fallen on. The only times I have been hurt in a fall was when I was too busy being embarassed about the situation I got myself into. Not paying attention while coming off to start my spin in time to get my shoulder and hip down in time to save me from a face plant. The other danger is fighting to NOT come off so you are dribbled up there until you can't control your landing and don't know what side is up. Some people are DETERMINED to fall badly...you can fall and get up and walk away to ride another day.



  10. #10
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    Jan. 5, 2010
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    VA--> Washington (state)
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverBendPol View Post
    When I'm falling off my horse, I am mostly marveling at the air time I am enjoying and wondering how much it will hurt when I land, whether my horse will stand and wait for me or bolt back to the barn. So far, I always seem to land on my heaviest body part. Being able to roll this monstrosity into a ball would be mind blowing...When I was 13, I learned how to jump off a galloping horse, touch the ground running and bounce right back up into the saddle again. Pretty sure that won't ever happen again.
    You are savoring the moment. How Zen of you!

    When I fall, I hate it because I tend to whack my head. Theres no roll other than OFF. Good thing CO replaces helmets.

    Re: landing on feet- scares the beejeebees outta me. I think (& have seen) awful tib/fib fractures (read: ankles), ligamentous injury, dislocation, pain. Kids typically heal well, albeit slowly, from fx like these- adults with a big fx? Not so much.
    And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2010
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    England
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarnField View Post
    Falling in gymnastics is not like falling from a galloping horse.
    "Tuck and roll" is widely disputed.
    Practical Horseman August 2009 issue has a How to Fall article featuring Danny Warrington, a steeplechase jock.
    The photos in the article are of Philip Dutton surviving a rotational fall and clearly not using tuck and roll.
    The falling method recommended was described at length but was something of a modified tuck and roll, fall over your shoulder, but use arms and legs to deflect and lessen the impact. No tucking the chin down.
    A fall is a fall. speed and trajectory differ, but afaik it is still all about dissipating the forces around the body so as to avoid injury. so, falling off a ladder and falling off a horse at speed, if you stick your arm out straight, you're still very likely to fracture your collar bone.
    I thought that if you don't tuck your chin down as you fall, you are more likely to break your neck? Obviously it depends on how you are falling, but if you tuck your chin in, you are more likely to land on your shoulders and back, far safer than on your head. Steeplechase jockeys fall all the time (one fall per 9 rides on average, I believe, in the U.K.) and they are all taught tuck and roll.

    I am friends with a rider who is also a martial arts trainer. I showed him that article and he said that while PD was lucky not to be injured (and we've all seen falls where we've thought 'how did s/he walk away from that?!?!), tucking and rolling, and breakfalls, are still the answer to escaping unscathed. Why risk breaking your hands, wrists, arms, collarbones when you can tuck and roll and protect yourself far better (and end up further from the horse, which has to be a good thing.)

    We co-wrote one article
    http://www.eventingworldwide.com/how-to-fall/
    and he wrote another
    http://www.eventingworldwide.com/improving-the-odds/

    Neil came to my yard for an (unmounted) training session, in how to fall. Once warmed up, he was happy to launch himself headfirst off the top of my (pretty high) mounting block, with no protection, onto the arena. Tucking and rolling. I think if I'd said he had to do it while keeping his head up and using his arms to protect himself, he'd have tried to have me committed!

    Btw, I've landed on my feet quite a few times. Sometimes with no injury, twice with severe injuries to my right knee. I'd never try to land on my feet... a breakfall onto your back is far safer. This is a pretty stupid rule, imho...


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2010
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    VA
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    Default

    When I was a teenager I was taught to vault off a horse at the walk, trot and canter. I cannot tell you how many times that ability has SAVED me!!

    Many times when I come off I can turn myself around and land on my feet or nearly so. It has definitely kept me safe!

    About 20 years ago I started taking Tae Kwon Do. I learned how to fall there too. I learned how to run, dive, tuck and roll. Of course this was always done on a padded floor!!! That move has saved me too!! One fall in particular on very hard ground at a gallop, I came away with just a bloody arm and some soreness when I easily could have broken something.

    IMO it is VERY important not to learn how to fall, but to learn how to LAND!!! It also helps, I think, to have shoulder pads on your vest if you are going to land there.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    Default

    Funny story... a middle aged woman who was my grandmother's neighbor decided to take up riding. She tried a number of local lesson stables in a wide range of "english" disciplines. I am at least moderately familiar with the personalities and barn culture of all her choices. Around here, it is quite common for indoor arenas to double as storage space... for sawdust piles....driving carts... tractors... motorhomes...

    At the one barn, the owner gives beginner lessons, and also takes lessons from another "more advanced" (his opinion) trainer. On lesson day, Beginner Rider was taking beginner lesson. Visiting Advanced Trainer had stayed over from his lesson time teaching Resident Beginner Trainer. Apparently VAT and RBT had gotten into the boxed wine (totally believable) and VAT decided to help out RBT in teaching BR. They decided it was time for her to learn to fall off safely and insisted on the next pass she throw herself off her horse into the sawdust pile.

    Naturally, she refused. And found another lesson barn. Where all falling off was purely accidental.
    Why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?
    ~ Dave Barry


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  14. #14
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    Jun. 13, 2001
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    usa
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    I think the coming off rule has more to do with riders who are struggling to stay on (ie almost off, but fighting for control)...they would slowlyyyyyy land on their feet. Remount. I think the reasoning is that Tuck and curl would show impact, hence stop continuing.
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  15. #15
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    Nov. 18, 2004
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    Catonsville, MD
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    So far, I always seem to land on my heaviest body part.
    This, oh yes, this.

    The tuck and roll makes sense to me, but I am NOT an expert. My last fall, I managed to land on my heaviest body part (good) with one finger breaking the fall (bad). I would like my next fall to be less injurious, but am not sure how to achieve that without risking more injuries. Right?

    Falling is inevitable, unless you are going to ride a lawn chair instead of a horse. If that is the case, there can be value in learning how to fall in such a way as to minimize injury. I will let the experts tell me what techniques will minimize falling. ???

    I don't think Phillip Dutton, who is insanely athletic, and as far as I can see, has about 3% body fat, is going to supply a good example of how to fall for riders who are conformed less like a wire sculpture and more like a Weeble. :-)
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09



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  16. #16
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    Can you get a big resi mat and teach falls?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  17. #17
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    Aug. 14, 2002
    Location
    Virginia
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    Default

    Yes, Kerilli,
    in the first article you linked to above (http://www.eventingworldwide.com/how-to-fall) it says:

    "NEVER try to roll over the top of your head in the classic school PE type roll. Always aim your shoulder at the ground, with the intention of impacting the ground with your shoulder blade / back"

    This is what I was saying in my first post, roll over your shoulder. Not a classic tuck-n-roll over your head.
    Although in the PH article, it did suggest using a limb in the process to help dissipate the forces, not to absorb all, but to help reduce the force of impact a bit.
    Rather break an arm than break my back or neck.



  18. #18
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    Oct. 1, 2003
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    Nonsuch House
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverBendPol View Post
    When I'm falling off my horse, I am mostly marveling at the air time I am enjoying and wondering how much it will hurt when I land, whether my horse will stand and wait for me or bolt back to the barn. So far, I always seem to land on my heaviest body part. Being able to roll this monstrosity into a ball would be mind blowing...When I was 13, I learned how to jump off a galloping horse, touch the ground running and bounce right back up into the saddle again. Pretty sure that won't ever happen again.
    I'm with you all the way on this one, although I will "touch the ground running and "end" with bounce at this point . . . My husband has a nice video demonstration of this from a month or so ago at an event.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



  19. #19
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    Nov. 30, 2009
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    Just watch two or three Star Treck episodes. James T Kirk performs GREAT shoulder rolls in at least two out of three episodes. A perfect tutorial
    Last edited by arlosmine; Dec. 11, 2012 at 07:42 PM.


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  20. #20
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    Jun. 11, 2003
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    Canada
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    gotta say the only thing going through my mind as I am falling off is "oh crap this is going to hurt" and "I cant believe I'm actually going to fall off".
    I cannot imagine actually having the presence of mind or the time to think about how to land.
    On the positive(?), I fell off so often as a kid, I guess I became quite good at landing well, and more importantly, at learning to somehow stay in the saddle no matter what happens (almost always anyway). On the rare occasion I do now get dumped, I think I instinctively hang on to one or both reins which has the effect of flipping me over so I dont go down head first or with my arms extended.


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