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Terrible question about falling

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  • Terrible question about falling

    Is it a lot worse falling off an 18h horse than a 16h horse? I've only really done the former.

    Now, what if it was likely you would fall off the shorter horse a few times a year (say 3-4), but would only fall off the 18h horse once in a blue moon?

    I know it is vague and hypothetical, and it is terrible to ask people to think about falling, but if anyone has thoughts on the matter that they would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it.

  • #2
    That's an interesting question!

    Clearly you are adding 8 inches to the distance you fall.

    But I would think the far more significant factors would be speed, surface you land on, body part you land on, angle you land on body part, whether horse steps on you, etc etc.

    If all other things were perfectly equal, you'd have a slightly longer fall, thus be going slightly faster on impact, so it would be slightly worse.

    But I think the other variables are more important and more likely to make the difference in injury.

    Anyone know the physics exactly?

    Comment


    • #3
      It's not the falling so much as the landing!

      I strongly recommend you avoid falling from either.

      If I were falling off 3 and 4 times a year I'd be reviewing very seriously what I was doing wrong.

      I'd also strongly recommend it's best to be concerned and spend time thinking about how to stay on rather than what happens if you fall off.

      Though learning to fall is pretty much a pre-requisite for every racehorse jockey and possibly something that might be a benefit to you if you're intent on making it a habit

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
        It's not the falling so much as the landing!
        My daughter fell off a sawhorse and broke her arm when she was 4 ... it was a short horse
        Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

        Comment


        • #5
          Was going down another track but here is the most important thing:
          We all fall off of horses - it is a given.
          Learn to:
          1) Control what you can - is your horse thinking about bucking, running away, shying etc - then take the appropriate steps to get their mind back on business.
          2) Once you know you are going to fall you must learn how to handle your body to lesson any injury. Danny Warrington had a great article in Practical Horseman several months ago. Talk to your trainer about emergency dismounts, learn how to tumble.

          Like the old saying goes - it isn't the fall that hurts, it is the sudden impact. Remember a smaller horse is often quicker than a large horse so can often toss you more ways than a larger horse. Not always true - but something to consider.
          "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
          Courtesy my cousin Tim

          Comment


          • #6
            Here you go--someone sent me this a long time ago & I'm not sure it is a comfort, but it is interesting!

            http://lorienstable.com/articles/misc/buck/

            Comment


            • #7
              From a trauma POV, 8" is not a significant difference in a fall from height. A fall from height meets trauma center criteria if it's 3 times your height or approximately 15'-20'. You would need a double-decker horse for that.

              As that very cool page LAZ posted shows, the significant factor is speed. It all goes back to KE = 1/2mass x velocity^2.

              But you might feel a fall off a taller horse more, or vice versa, if you're used to falling from a shorter horse, or vice versa. Chances are your falling reflexes didn't compensate for the distance.

              When I started doing martial arts and getting thrown by humans, I hated it. The ground came up way too fast and I kept getting slammed into the mats. I much preferred falling from a horse -- but I eventually got used to it.

              Comment


              • #8
                The height of the horse is only a very small part of the equation.

                What are you landing on? Soft cushy sand or frozen ground and rocks? Flying over the horse's head to land on a jump?

                Why did you fall? Slipping off a standing-still horse is different than getting bucked off a moving horse.

                How did you land? On your head? On your butt? Were you able to tuck and roll?


                Did the horse step on you? Yeah, a large horse can hurt you worse than a pony, but it just takes one well-placed hoof to do a lot of damage, regardless of size.


                I don't think there is a simple answer to this question.

                But I will add, if falling can ever be "fun," I got bucked off a 15h firecracker one winter. Trotting along outside, it was cold and windy, I could feel him getting tense and balled up, and knew it was coming. I tried to shorten my reins just a little more to maintain control and he took that instant to bronco-bust. He leapt 4' in the air, corkscrewed, sunfished, heels sideways over head. I distinctly remember my butt at least 2' from the saddle, no left stirrup, very much airborne off his right shoulder. In what seemed like an eternity, I weighed my options of trying to hang on vs letting go-- I realized I'd probably slip under his chest and get stepped on-- and decided bailing was the safest action. Still floating in air, I distinctly PUSHED off his neck with both hands, kicked away from his body with my right knee, and landed in a tuck and roll safely away from his feet. Between my 6 layers of clothing and the cushy snow, it felt like I landed on a foam mattress. I was on my feet immediately, only too see the silly horse still bucking like a fool and galloping madly around the field (thank goodness it was enclosed!). It's the only time I've ever smiled after falling off...not saying I want to do it again, but it was almost fun.

                It's amazing how quickly your mind can operate sometimes. My whole recognition, thought process, and intentional flying dismount happened at the height of one buck. I know the horse had some hang-time, but it felt like an eternity!
                “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                ? Albert Einstein

                ~AJ~

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can I just use your post to comment on people that have told me I need to learn how to fall properly? Tuck and roll, or whatever? I don't know about everyone else, but when I fall I usually don't know what happened until I'm on the ground. It's not like I have time to think about what the hell my body is doing while I'm in the air!

                  I think the height is probably not that big of a deal. My 16.1 hh bucked one time when I was in two point galloping and I was catapulted so far that I actually DID have time to think about how bad it was going to suck when I hit the rock hard ground. That fall hurt worse than just a tumble or slide off of any 18 hand horse I promise!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Velocity, and the type of surface that stops the impact is what matters. 8 inches isn't significant distance-wise, but it can be in reaction time to how you land. In other words, falling from a 17 hand horse, vs a 15 hand horse, may give you more time to contort your body to land in a less injury prone position. At least, that is what I keep telling myself....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Similar to what others have and will say, its less about height of horse, than speed and how you land. I've come off 16.1 - 17 hand horses and the result has been a sore butt and/or shoulder. A week ago, almost to the minute, my little 15.1 guy got an honest fright while I was doing fitness work in very short stirrups...he bucked me off, I landed on my head, broke my neck, and miraculously am not paralyzed. But much wiser...and cannot wait to ride again!!!
                      ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RunForIt View Post
                        Similar to what others have and will say, its less about height of horse, than speed and how you land. I've come off 16.1 - 17 hand horses and the result has been a sore butt and/or shoulder. A week ago, almost to the minute, my little 15.1 guy got an honest fright while I was doing fitness work in very short stirrups...he bucked me off, I landed on my head, broke my neck, and miraculously am not paralyzed. But much wiser...and cannot wait to ride again!!!
                        WAIT! WHAT?????????? You have a BROKEN NECK????????? Are you KIDDING ME?????????? What about all the wine we're going to drink in Aiken in the next 2 months?

                        I suppose I should add I am very sorry and horrified to hear your sad story but jeeeeze!
                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How/why you fall definitely makes a bigger difference than the height of the horse - Star is 15.2 and she and I have parted ways more times than I can count - 2009 marked the first year with NO falls! (and yeah, on De. 27th I had a good ride and didn't get on for the rest of the year on purpose)

                          The worst injury happened when the landing was very compacted bluestone and I landed on my back/side - one of those so quick I didn't know I was falling until I was on the ground.

                          But the other 30 or so? I know how to fall and she didn't usually plant me, but leaped out from under me so there was no additional velocity.

                          Soft sand in a ring is best, grass is OK if it's muddy underneath. However, I was always glad she's short!


                          Thomas1 - no one believes how quick my horse is until they see her pull one of her stunts. Prior to her I came off three times in 10 years.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                            WAIT! WHAT?????????? You have a BROKEN NECK????????? Are you KIDDING ME?????????? What about all the wine we're going to drink in Aiken in the next 2 months?

                            I suppose I should add I am very sorry and horrified to hear your sad story but jeeeeze!
                            I'll PM you the details...but suffice to say I WILL be in Aiken and we WILL drink the wine. Rasta is going to Lellie Ward til the end of May so half the partnership will be wintering (and springing ) in Aiken. My halo comes off the end of March...see you soon!
                            ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                              If I were falling off 3 and 4 times a year I'd be reviewing very seriously what I was doing wrong.
                              Hence, consideration of a more steady (but potentially much larger) mount.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'd say if you have the distinct feeling you'll be coming off the taller horse less often, and the shorter horse more often, that's a strong vote for the taller horse before physics ever comes into the equation!
                                Talk to the Hoof

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by bip View Post
                                  Hence, consideration of a more steady (but potentially much larger) mount.
                                  When Patrick found me, his height and size was the only thing that didn't match my criteria. I really wasn't looking for something that big. I'm told he's 16.2 and I haven't measured him. I don't want to know. In addition he's rather wide.

                                  The first time I climbed up there I was nervous, but he's such a good boy, and it turns out that there's an upside. It's kind of like riding on a table... there's horse in every direction, and you have to really *try* to fall off of him. I've only managed it once.
                                  --
                                  Wendy
                                  ... and Patrick

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    It is a lot easier to come off a smaller horse because there is less horse to "hang on to" and under you. I have always fallen harder off of smaller horses for some reason. Haha. With bigger horses, yes there is more to fall from (i.e. height), but there is more horse under you. It is just kinda how it is.
                                    Eventingismylife
                                    http://www.jumpingthebigsky.wordpress.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by eventingismylife View Post
                                      It is a lot easier to come off a smaller horse because there is less horse to "hang on to" and under you. I have always fallen harder off of smaller horses for some reason. Haha. With bigger horses, yes there is more to fall from (i.e. height), but there is more horse under you. It is just kinda how it is.
                                      What they said ^^

                                      I'd rather come off something that has more to hang on to. I've also fallen off the big ones a lot less!
                                      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I had a 17.2 HH horse for a number of years. Falling off him was a breeze. My brain had that extra split second to prepare itself it seemed, and I had plenty of time to relax into the roll .

                                        I think it really depends on the circumstances of the fall though. Until yesterday, I hadn't come off in a year and a half, and last time I did, my very very green, yet smaller at the time horse, as in his sixth ride, tripped at a canter and we both went over his head. That one hurt and the ground sure came up fast.

                                        But yesterday I had the easiest, most graceful fall of my life. So graceful in fact that my husband who was watching was convinced that I jumped off on purpose Same horse, now 16 HH, did a dirty sideways spook and I lost both stirrups. He then bolted and crowhopped his way to the end of the arena. I had managed to regain my centre, but not my stirrups, during the crowhopping, but then of course he realized he was headed into the wall and promptly did this big deer like leap and came down at a dead halt from the little gallop he was partaking in. I went up, both my front feet went over his neck, and I landed right beside him, on both feet, holding my reins. Didn't even stumble. It was perfect footing and I didn't jar myself in the least. I swear it was a perfect 10 landing. I highly recommend landing on your feet although I doubt I'll ever get that lucky again. I did get some good air though.

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