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A lot of Bruises and a Dilemma...

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    A lot of Bruises and a Dilemma...

    So I have a dilemma.

    And it may not be a dilemma so much as coming to terms with the inevitable.

    I fall off.

    A lot.

    I don't suck. I'm not terrible. I can get around a 3'6 jumper course in fine fashion and win every time. Unless I fall off.

    I've ridden with about a squillion barns and trainers, all of them have the same statement "You ride too well to fall off so much".

    Last year I broke 2 GPAs with head-first falls at horse shows. I stopped riding for a few months.

    Yesterday I fell off and broke myself over a standard. I'm fine. Bruised, bloody, sore, etc but no need for a trip to the ER.

    My current lease was ended by me/owner because of what happened (owner overfaced her green horse and blames my inexperience (nevermind the dozens of greenies I've started successfully....)

    My trainer is willing to find me something to ride. I'm not sure if I should.

    I'm pretty sure that just about ANY other sport would be a good idea.

    My body is too used up, I think, for me to continue doing this. I have constant back pain, hip pain, knee and ankle problems, lots of arthritis from past injuries, a lovely bit of lost vision due to the last head injury. I haven't woken up without hurting since I started riding again in April (and have been riding enough to be past the "sore" stage).

    Ok yes I'm a big fatty whiner pants and I should be lucky to be able to ride blah blah blah.

    Nah you're not being whiney.

    We've all been there, at one time or another.

    Regardless of what discipline you are doing, there are risks. They can be minimized, though. Maybe it is time for a change of pace?

    Take some time off, then go find yourself a western saddle and a fat, broke trail horse and have a good time for awhile. Just give yourself a little breathing room until you get your wits about you again.

    Good luck and take care!
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


      Is it always at a fence? If so, maybe take up dressage??
      "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."


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by Ibex View Post
        Is it always at a fence? If so, maybe take up dressage??
        I tried riding dressage and i just...erm...hate it.

        I am a true blue Hunter Princess who may be able to be swayed by a purdy WP horse w/ bling. Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.


          Maybe you need to reevaluate the way you are doing things.

          1. Consider your position. Is there something about the way you ride that, while looking technically correct, is not giving you stick-it-to-itiveness? Good riding form has to have function, and part of that function is reliably keeping you on top when horse does the unexpected. Are your legs strong enough? Is your balance reliable when the going gets tough, not just when the going is good? I fall more when my core strength is low. Since I can't ride as much as I used to, I try to run and do push-ups.

          2. Are the horses you are riding suitable for you? I am the first to admit that while I have probably backed hundreds of colts, I am not the rider I once was. I try to ride appropriate horses for me NOW, not for the rider I USED to be. Hard for me to admit, but necessary to prevent falls.

          3. Are your self-preservation instincts on target? You mention the horse you were riding was overfaced. It is your job as rider, particularly a rider with a lot of experience, to say "You know, I don't think this horse is ready for that, I'm actually going to wait/put it down six inches/[fill in the blank]." No one can make you jump a jump.


            Do you have balance issues, on the horse or otherwise?

            Is there a chance there could be some physical problem, like an inner-ear issue messing up your equilibrium?

            Or are you just built such that your center of gravity isn't somewhere that is helpful for riding? (You say you're a "big fatty whiner pants," lol, but is there some truth in there, that maybe if you lost some weight you might stay on a little better? I have no idea what you look like, but if there's a chance that your physique might be impairing riding, if you like riding, maybe it's something to work on?)

            Or maybe you're just not in great athletic shape (like me, heh) and you don't have the muscle strength to hold on during those "oh crap" moments?

            I'm sorry you're having such gravitational issues!!


              How do the falls occur? Meaning, what happens to cause a fall? Is it always the same thing, for example, problem with riding backwards to the fences, taking leg off, nerves? Or, do you think it might be something medical like an imbalance problem, vision, etc.? We need to have more details first!
              Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
              Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                Originally posted by Pirateer View Post
                Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.
                falling off all the time isn't?
                Boss Mare Eventing Blog


                  Originally posted by Pirateer View Post
                  I tried riding dressage and i just...erm...hate it.

                  I am a true blue Hunter Princess who may be able to be swayed by a purdy WP horse w/ bling. Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.

                  Oooh... do it. I too have a secret love affair with WP horses. Might be easier on your back, too.

                  A friend of mine who was a hardcore HP retired her TB last year, bought a 14hh TWH, and is tearing up the trails and loving every minute. Last week she rode her gelding to a pancake breakfast at a small local airport.
                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                    I would work on balance and maybe take some tumbling classes.

                    Falling of is'nt a big deal if you know how to fall (I have alot of experience with this as well) I have had my own experiences with standards, varies other obstacles and walls.
                    "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18


                      Original Poster

                      My self-preservation is crap. Too much time with people who assume I can ride anything (because I can, unless I fall off...)

                      My position was CRAP and wrong when I started riding. It has since been corrected and is, in general, good. (So say all the trainers, clinicians, etc) I can ride through bucks/rears/scoots/stops/etc. Just not runouts. Anything where the direction of travel changes dramatically.

                      The last fall was when the owner thought her green-bean WB needed to jump through a gymnastic set at pony strides. I believe its with the "right" side runouts the most.

                      The horses I ride are probably suitable enough. Because I was a "poor" horseless junior and am now a "poor" AA, I ride a lot of really random animals. Greenies, the unwanteds, ponies, etc. When I was in college I rode everything in the barn...all donations...usually for a reason.


                        Originally posted by Pirateer View Post
                        Dressage is incredibly painful on my back, also.
                        Jumping is really dressage with fences in the way. Seriously, if your back is too sore for flatwork, perhaps your body is telling you that you are not in the best position to be jumping until you feel stronger. Like others suggested, a change of pace may be the best thing right now.

                        Plus the bit about lost vision from a past head injury is really concerning. Have you seen a neurologist and opthalmologist? Your brain is MUCH more vulnerable to injury - no matter what helmet you wear. Plus there could certainly be residual balance effects if you have lingering vision problems.

                        Please be careful.


                          Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Come Shine View Post

                          Plus the bit about lost vision from a past head injury is really concerning. Have you seen a neurologist and opthalmologist? Your brain is MUCH more vulnerable to injury - no matter what helmet you wear. Plus there could certainly be residual balance effects if you have lingering vision problems.

                          Please be careful.
                          The back problems are VERY, very new- centered only around the horse I was leasing. She's a huge moving dressagey type and my core is arguably NOT where it should be. But again, this is only related to the last fall, not ALL of the falls.

                          Head injury was last summer (and I've been falling off consistently since like 2000 or so...if that matters)


                            So, it sounds like you are being over faced with horses who may not be quite suitable for you yet. I think for starters, you needs to get rid of the thought that you can ride least over fences. Not trying to be mean, just trying to help. If you're falling off a lot and it is always over fences, on runouts, etc., someone is over facing you with the wrong type of horse.

                            I know it can be incredibly tough sometimes to ride and be on a limited, or no budget. I think it may be even tougher where you are located as, well, let's face it, Alaska probably doesn't have the same opportunities for riding, doors opening up, trainers, good hunter horses as compared to California.

                            If what you are describing is the whole problem, I think it's extremely important at this point for you to find a packer to ride. Even if that means a 24 year old packer. You need to be on a horse who is not going to stop, is going to go no matter what. A horse who will gladly keep going when you pick back and try and chip. A horse who will gladly keep going when you ride with too much left leg and drift to the right side of the fence.

                            If you truly love doing the hunters, which is my love too, you need to start hunting for that perfect HONEST horse...or that perfect barn who is willing to let you school their school horses or something along those lines.
                            Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                            Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                              The other main thing is your balance and strength on the horse. You mentioned you can sit through any buck, rear, etc. but cannot stay with a runout. To me, that means you are likely just a passenger up there but not a rider. I would go back to the drawing board, so to speak, and start doing lots of work without stirrups and getting your legs strong enough that they can completely balance you and hold you in the saddle. If you're flying off on a runout, it means you're likely not gripping enough with your legs in the first place....which can also end up causing a runout if you have no supporting leg on to the jump or too much of just one leg up to the jump.

                              Lots of falling off over fences can cause a person to start losing their confidence. Losing confidence over fences will cause a person to either stop riding forward to the fence or anticipating things happening. All of that can compound your problem...which is something a nice saint of a packer can try and help you repair!
                              Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                              Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                                I thought I was a good rider until I rode a bolter who also leg yielded across the arena without being asked. Yeah that was fun.

                                I went back several levels of horses and am riding a total packer who loves his job. We also went back to cross-rails to work on position. My position has gotten way better and so has my balance.
                                Kenny - Hanoverian Gelding
                                Sampson - Multi-breed Tri-Pawed Super Puppy
                                Tuggy - RIP at the bridge (9/12/2016)
                                Theodore the Boxer - RIP at the the bridge (10/5/2017)


                                  I used to fall off a lot too - although it had a lot to do with the mare who made every effort to get me off her back. I also have ridden a lot of rejects/difficult horses. Here's a few things you may want to consider...

                                  1) Try yoga - seriously. It's inexpensive physical therapy and WILL HELP with your back/body pain. If you can do Bikram, spend the money. The heat is great for your muscles and skin.

                                  2) Really evaluate your position. If you're falling off at horses that run out, chances are that you're unknowingly jumping ahead. It's an easy habit (I do it!) but can be very dangerous when you're riding young/disobedient horses.

                                  3) Work on riding in your heels. It's a lot harder for the horse to get you off if your weight is in your heels. I don't know your body type but anchoring yourself in your heels is the best thing you can do. I would find a good ole school horse and work on gymnastics, focusing on your heels and staying a little behind the motion (as opposed to jumping ahead).

                                  4) It's okay to say no! It's your body, your life. If you feel like you're being asked to ride something or do something that could end poorly for you, don't do it! You might have a huffy and annoyed owner/trainer, but you'll be alive and well enough to be able to ride the next one.

                                  I'm glad to hear that you wear a helmet though! If I were you, I'd take a little time off and start doing yoga. Heal yourself before you hoist yourself back into the saddle. Take the time to really evaluate your position - and maybe get a second opinion from another good trainer. Sometimes a new eye can help unlock a problem and provide a solution.

                                  Stay safe. Good luck!


                                    What about sticking with hunters but taking a step down in level to a physical/emotional level that is more suited with how you feel right now? Like, all the way down to a level that is BORING for you... and work on perfection at that level. It doesn't have to be all 3'6 oxers... even good riders at challenging levels are more prone to make mistakes than at a lower level. I would see about finding a nice, safe, been-there-done that adult hunter and work on absolute perfection over simpler 3'0 courses, instead of pusing yourself to do challenging 3'6 courses. But that's just me. I couldn't quit or switch disciplines either.

                                    Hope you feel better!
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                      Unless you have a specific injury or were riding in a really horrible saddle, dressage should make your back better. It helps to relax everything and build up the correct muscles.

                                      You don't need to sit every step...

                                      I'd second (third? fourth?) that it sounds like you're having some balance issues.
                                      "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."


                                        Daventry's right-it's time to stop riding problems that belong to other people, and treat yourself to a Nice Horse, who keeps his part of the bargain. It doesn't have to be expensive, and if you like greenies, get one with a good brain and enjoy a project worth the effort.

                                        Good luck, and hang in there.