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Curious in general; how often do you/your students take a fall?

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  • #21
    When I got my first pony I think I fell off at least once a week (green pony and young, inexperienced rider=terrible match). Luckily I can say, 8 years later with the same pony and I've only fallen off 0-1 times per year for the past 5 or so years.


    • #22
      I can't comment about our students falling off honestly I don't keep track. But I fell off twice last year. Both green horses. One let off a rodeo buck on the back side of a fence and my 5'9 frame didn't stand a chance on the 13.2 pony. My second fall was me and horse. She misjudged the hight on a maybe 3' vertical and down we went. I haven't fallen off on any of my personal horses in I believe 4 years. (Knocking on wood as I type this!)
      Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.


      • #23
        When I first got my horse 8years ago, he tossed my ass off 25+ times in one year (i was an inexperienced rider and he had horrific bolting/bucking issues). After that first year, he probably got me off about 2 or so times a year. He hasnt gotten me off in quite a few years now (knock on wood!). That may be because he doesnt bolt OR buck anymore haha ;]. my last fall was about two years ago riding our greenie who used to have quite a spectacular spook :].
        Lots of things you could do with a stopwatch...


        • #24
          I think my trainer falls off of greenies more than everyone else at the barn combined Iv'e fallen off 6 times in 10 years of riding. And 3 times of my personal horse of 5 years. Usually it was simply because I was really weak/tired. Except a rare occasion where he had a *moment* Leaped I fell on his neck and he took off.. slammed me into the fence then trampled me. I was in the E.R for a while.


          • #25
            As an adult, I average about a fall a year (I parted ways with my guy earlier this week, so I'm not due for a while haha). Of course as a kid who would ride anything, I fell much more often. Now, if I fall its usually because the horse pulled that "spook & drop the shoulder" spin move. Thus the reason I've never fallen from my mare, but have come off my gelding a few times. Funny thing is he's actually a much easier ride.


            • #26
              Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
              I agree with you Alterhorse, and it is common sense (or hope it would be!) I feel confident that my kids don't attempt something that they are not foundationally stong enough for, or I would be witnessing my student's falling off a lot more than they do, and similar to your first post, very rarely do they fall off because of any sort of lack of readiness or ability, and almost entirely due to the unexpected events. Because I feel like parent's today are more protective than they used to be though, I second guess myself when I even ask a student to drop stirrups; I know and the student knows that it is necessary and will make them stronger, but WHAT IF they take a bad spill doing it, and WHAT IF the parent's don't understand and consider going without stirrups an unnecessary risk? By the way, this example happened in our area, trainer almost got sued over it . So even if I feel confident a student is ready to move up, I may hold off on that step longer than necessary, while another trainer may not hesitate at all.
              But when a good trainer first asks a student to drop stirrups, it's only after the trainer has assessed the student as being capable of doing so safely, and then they have their studient drop the stirrups while on a lead line, with the pony first standing, and then at a walk. The trainer has the student do all of those familiar balance reinforcing exercises; like hand behind the back, touching your opposite knee, touch your nose, etc, etc....

              So again, it's a step by step process, and a factor of safety is structured into that process by virtue of the trainer having reasonable control over the pony, and the trainers ability to continuously assess the students ability through every step of the learning process.

              The only factor left is one of the unforeseen.

              I think a trainers best defense against lawsuit, is a sound training methodology that they adhere to.

              That said, yes I've seen trainers have their unbalanced students trot on ponies with no stirrups. I understand their rational, and it's the sink or swim rational. I do not agree with that methodology.

              I see kids who have fallen who loose their confidence, and then see their trainers continue to put the kid in the same situation that scares them.

              Some trainers were taught to "suck it up and get over it" when they themselves learnt as kids, and I see that as the root of this methodology. But not all kids learn the same, and not all trainers have the mental/empathetic capacity to understand minds that learn differently from their own.

              Not saying there can't be very effective trainers with the right studients. Just saying that a trainer should be able to know when they have a student they don't understand how to teach, and either seek advice, or send them to a different trainer who has more experience.


              • #27
                Just to throughly jinx myself, I ride about 4 a day, some days of the week as many as 7, most of which are quite green or started out pretty remedial, and teach 5 or 6 lessons a week.

                I have not fallen off since 2010 and no student has fallen off since I turned pro (also in 2010).

                Obviously it can't last but I am enjoying the streak.
                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                • #28
                  However often, it's TOO often!

                  That being said, some appear to be more prone to it than others. And THAT being said, I've had a sneaking suspicion that some don't mind the ensuing drama and attention, and either take risks or don't take sufficient precautions to prevent it.

                  Certainly, it's evident that some riders are comfortable in the saddle from the start, with good balance and spatial awareness, even without having much technique, and can anticipate the movements of the horse and accommodate to it, while others appear to have very little ability do so, even after they have mastered many of the basics, such as two point, and posting.

                  The wobbly ones (adults more than kids) sometimes have to be informed that part of riding is making sure that they and the horse are traveling the same path at all times, and that the laws of physics must be taken note of. It comes as quite a shock to some if they learn this the hard way, by parting company without even realizing it was coming--when this happens, injury is more likely, IMO.
                  Inner Bay Equestrian


                  • #29
                    I'm actually kinda shocked at how little some of you have fallen! I've fallen 3 times since June. Twice on xc, once in a lesson where I just rode plain old badly and deserved to hit the deck. While I have gone stretches of a couple of years without a fall, I probably average once a year. I think jumping xc probably raises my potential of eating it, although I usually fall more at home, in the ring than while out on xc.

                    I knew a girl who went years and years and years before her first fall (for the record, I maybe went 6 months before I tumbled for the first time). She was TERRIFIED of falling because of it. I think I was taught exactly right when I was a wee one. Falling is part of the sport. At some point my little friends and I were told "you're not really a rider until you fall 7 times." So, yeah, we counted our falls I'm not sure when I hit that magical number, but it was a long, long time ago and the count is probably a multiple of 7 now!

                    For your amusement.


                    • #30
                      After my first fall at age 4 my instructor told me that I wouldn't be a real rider until I had fallen at least 100 times. By 15 I had counted to 100. Probably it hadn't been that many, but I did eat dirt plenty thanks to lousy instruction on bad ponies. I also learned to stick really, REALLY well.

                      The last time I came off my guy was a half-fall, half-bail when I made the singularly poor decision to gallop him bareback with a halter and lead rope on a windy day while I had active Lyme disease and no balance or strength (or brain, apparently.) The last time I came off period was in November 2012. I didn't know that my trainer's super athletic but a little interesting first year horse hadn't been sat on in 5 days or I would have made different choices about what I asked him, but he lost his ability to cope with his own energy, found an excuse, and delivered a leap/buck/180 spin maneuver that rang my clock pretty well. I wish I had it on video. I was told I had no chance to stay on, but I would have liked to have seen that for myself!
                      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                        I think you'll get a lot of people answering in their heads, but not wanting to put a number down for fear of jynxing them/ourselves.
                        ^^^ This is me. I think it's been a combination of luck and strategy that I haven't taken one in years. But I have a babysitter old man and a usually forgiving mare who I've been lucky enough to stick to when she has her very occassional bucking episodes.

                        But I dare not give numbers because I have a coming 3 year old that just got her first ride (by someone else) last weekend and I'm hoping to start riding either today or next weekend. ....Irish luck, don't fail me now!

                        Edited to add: I did have to bail off the mare this past Fall, but it was one of those one-in-a-million occurrences. Got on her outside and as my butt was descending into the saddle, a tree behind us let go of a very large branch that came crashing through the other branches and to the ground. Of course she spooked - took off as if from a starting gate and I totally don't blame her. Even though she only took 3 strides, I couldn't hang on so I bailed and landed on the my feet. Jammed one ankle a little, but really, everyone was fine.
                        ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

                        The equine love of my life: Gabriel
                        4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                          You're wearing my lucky number. I'm not sure it's working for you.
                          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                          • #33
                            Well, I typically fall off twice a year. On a thread on this very BB I made that claim after falling off my horse schooling XC (got ahead, she launched down a bank, I landed on her neck, she bucked me off)

                            One day later she spooked in the indoor, stepped in a wet spot, and fell over on top of me. I dislocated and relocated my jaw and had to live up to the "fall off twice a year" claim.


                            • #34
                              My most recent trainer had a policy that "juniors and amateurs are not allowed to fall off." This was because she knows how many people quit riding or have to overcome years of fear issues because of a fall.

                              Did students still fall off? Of course! But it was rare. I would say 4-5 a year (teaching about 40 rides a week). In 4 years with her, I fell off once in a lesson. I was riding my favorite horse who I had ridden a hundred times. We can around a tight corner to a trot fence. My horse was totally surprised by the jump, I took my leg off, he stopped, I got a little discombobulated on the neck, he jumped HUGE from a stop, and I popped off. My one fall in 4 years was over a trot X. And she thinks that's the first time anyone ever fell off that horse.

                              Those are the types of falls she has. She does not have falls due to riders who are over-faced. That's not an option for her. There are 100 other ways to challenge a rider does not involve putting them in a (more) dangerous position. For me, that's a mark of a good instructor!
                              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                I knew a girl who went years and years and years before her first fall (for the record, I maybe went 6 months before I tumbled for the first time). She was TERRIFIED of falling because of it. I think I was taught exactly right when I was a wee one. Falling is part of the sport. At some point my little friends and I were told "you're not really a rider until you fall 7 times."
                                I thought it was 10. Or a dozen

                                But I thoroughly agree with the other point. I don't fall off much, but I've also fallen off plenty. There was a point when I was going on 4-5 years without a fall and I do feel it made me take "caution" to an inhibiting level. When I finally did come off it was like a big sigh of, "oh, yeah, that's not so bad."

                                Of course, I proceeded to fall off 3 more times that summer
                                EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta


                                • #36
                                  Slightly off topic, but do you trainers find that falls come in patterns? I swear, at my barn once one person falls off there are always two more right after. Its always three falls clustered together and then none for a while. Obviously its superstition, but so is me not answering about last time I personally fell off


                                  • #37
                                    I fell off 6 times one year, landed on jump cups every time! It wasn't my lucky year!

                                    I think I've had one tumble in the last two years but I expect that luck to change this year...


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I wish I could figure out how to quote on an i-pad, but wonders12 brings up a good point that the idea of falling off can be a source of anxiety, and after the fall many lose confidence. I buy those little breyer horse models that cost $5 or so, and put a little tag around the neck that says "always get back in the saddle" that I give to students after their first fall (knock in wood a thousand times all falls have been simple and resulted in no injuries that would keep them from getting back on!) Whether they take the message literally or as a philosophy, it tends to take the sting out of the situation a bit.

                                      Rel6, I do belive in the "rule if 3"! But it seems to include horse related injuries along with student falls, or facility related problems at my place
                                      Last edited by eastendjumper; Mar. 17, 2013, 04:57 PM. Reason: Fat fingers


                                      • #39
                                        As of late usually come off a couple times a year. When I was younger and riding stupider/greener things, that number was much higher (like multiple falls in a day), but now I try to ride things that are less likely to toss me.

                                        I hit the ground three times last year - two freak trip-and-falls, and one buck-off. This year I've come off once so far. It's the first time I've come off at a jump in a long time, which is somewhat surprising considering my mare likes to stop. Usually I'm pretty good at sitting up when she stops but this time I jumped and she didn't...physics took over and down I went.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Wonders12 View Post
                                          My most recent trainer had a policy that "juniors and amateurs are not allowed to fall off." This was because she knows how many people quit riding or have to overcome years of fear issues because of a fall.
                                          Interesting, mine has the exact opposite policy. "I guarantee that you will fall off, everyone falls off, stop worrying about it."

                                          I think I've been coming off an average of around once every 6 weeks, but most of those are really just bails. When things get squirrelly I have a habit of poppping off like a starfish, usually followed by a lecture about how I didn't need to jump off, and if I've landed on my feet I probably wasn't in that much trouble in the first place I think I've only had one proper fall since I started back up, and it was a sudden loud noise spook.