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Pony Club Rule When Rider Falls Off.....

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  • Original Poster

    Thanks everyone. I was told it was a Pony Club rule. For me, the two most dangerous times are when mounting and dismounting whereby you have the least amount of control of your horse. You're far more vulnerable on the ground next to the horse than on top of the horse. This could be a rule specific to our pony club. I just was curious as I found it rather unusual to dismount when someone fell off. We were always taught to just bring our horses to a halt. The pony club ways are not as archaic as they used to be. I sat in on an instructor meeting and was most pleased with many of their requirements regarding ratings.
    Bethe Mounce
    Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
    Brentwood CA


    • #22
      I am not sure the all riders dismount rule is good or not it really depends upon conditions. Most all the showing our kids did was breed shows with them riding horses, not small ponies. Some kids can dismount like a rabbit while others must collect everything they ever owned before looking where the ground is...then decide how to exit.

      I do remember after watching the behavior of some of the horses pulling my kids from classes while the horses were still in the warm up ring....and never having our child be mad for doing so as they too were concerned for not their safety but the safety of their mount.

      We had a very good horse get run into by a run away in a Class A; fortunately our trainer was on board... this horse to this day remembers that collision


      • #23
        Originally posted by Unfforgettable View Post
        Before I opened the thread, the title had me thinking of what we do in the barn when someone falls off: The person who fell has to buy ice cream for all those who witnessed it.
        Mine would yell PIZZA!! as soon as you would hit the ground..lol. He would of course check to see if you were ok after
        Draumr Hesta Farm
        "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
        Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


        • #24
          This is interesting you posted this...a few weeks ago I was on an overnight trail ride/campout with some of the 4-H and other lesson kids from the area. I went along as I (an adult) am affiliated with some of the trainer(s) there...so I went on a couple of the rides with the kids led by the trainers. On the last ride we had 2 loose horses all of the sudden come running up to our group from behind us, and the trainers automatically had the kids all dismount (and they all did immediately as trained to do) and hold their horses. The loose horses ran up to ours and were caught. I was the only one left sitting on my horse! (but there was no way I was dismounting as I have no clue how I'd re-mount my 17hand beast...I'm not that young and monkey-like anymore and I suppose in my situation I knew how my horse would react after having him for 17+ years since he was a foal). Since I was the only mounted one left I offered to ride back the way the horses came from to find the riders...luckily there was a gentleman in a van who gave them a ride to us and nobody was injured.
          I was surprised at the kids all dismounting but in hindsight I think it was a very good idea...if one of their horses had spooked on the trail and taken off the kid could have been seriously injured! All horses react differently and unless you know your horse (and even then that's iffy) it's definitely better to err on the safe side so as to cause the least harm to the child/rider.
          Although some rules seem odd I'm sure somewhere along the way there was a good reason behind the rule to cause it to be a rule.


          • #25
            kw - your post reminded me of a Pony Club hunt (about 22 years ago because the kids are now in their 30's).

            I volunteered to be the Mother Superior and take the littlest kids at the back. We ended up alongside a traintrack for a short while, and darn it, the train came along. Everybody got off, held their horses, spread out, and waited . The ponies were remarkable, but I had visions of one taking off with kid and the others following. This way, on the ground, they could let the ponies go and at least I'd have the kids safe.

            Pony Club is all about safety and sometimes it is not a black and white thing, but a calculated gamble.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


            • Original Poster

              A calculated gamble is exactly the right phrase. Right, safety is not always black and white. And yes, Pony Club is ALL about safety. As am I. We're all a product of our individual experiences with horses. I am safer on the horse as opposed to standing next to it (am a young horse trainer primarily, am not particularly fond of scared horses mowing me down and rearing on top of me). Just my own experiences make me really wary of accidents due to mine always occurring when I am on the ground, not in the saddle. Pony Club is SO great about stable/horse management. I am delighted to be a part of it once again....
              Bethe Mounce
              Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
              Brentwood CA


              • #27
                I know we all have taught or been taught the Emergency Dismount. Some say it's useless. But I think that just like fire drills at school, when you keep this skill fresh in kids, it keeps them thinking in an emergency.

                If it were me, I would expect my kids to stop drop and hold, as we call it here.

                IF a person hits the dirt, every rider is expected to halt, dismount immediately, and try to retain control of their horse. I want ALL riders off. We now have a loose horse, which can bolt blindly and create a domino effect. I don't want any rider having to spend one second longer getting a handle on what just happened and deciding whether they can control their mount in the flash of seconds that follow a fall by another rider.

                So for my junior riders, we yell STOP DROP AND HOLD! This guarantees me the best chance for my focus to be on the fall rider and loose hose. This gives my other riders a better chance of letting go of their horse if that horse panics OR gaining control from the ground of their panicked horse because they are standing on their own two feet.

                There is never a time when this doesn't come into play in our schooling arena, regardless of rider skill or number of horses involved.

                Stop drop and hold is like a fire drill in our house. Once a rider has been tossed and a horse is loose, I want my other riders to execute a PRacticed emergency dismount. Often times, the loose horse runs up to another horse. A rider on the ground can grab it safely while holding the other horse.

                STOP DROP AND HOLD best emergency plan I've ever used, at home, at horse shows, on trail.
                ...don't sh** where you eat...


                • #28
                  I guess I should add that we do have a variation on this drill.

                  HOrse tosses rider, I immediately yell stop! every rider in ear shot is to Halt immediately. IF the loose horse stops or shows no immediate sign of bolting, I yell Rider Down.

                  But if that horse has dropped the rider midbolt, as we have all seen, I have already shouted stop drop and hold.

                  If horse looks like it will start to run after the rider has hit dirt, I will then yell Drop and HOld.

                  All my riders know this drill. I never yell stop if I am teaching unless I have a horse running off with a rider or already tossed and on the move.

                  I have found that this drill also helps the rider being run off with. I have used the Stop command and that has helped a rider check in mentally and pull that horse to an abrupt stop to prevent a bolt too.

                  I never use the word stop for a halt or any other instruction to horse and rider. I will use halt, come down, watch out for the wall, whatever. But Stop is reserved for all within ear shot to halt themselves and their horses, no matter where or why, because someone is in danger. It prompts my riders to stop immediately and listen for the Drop and Hold if need be.

                  I can't tell you how many times I've used this over the years in group lessons at various barns or at events. Sometimes, I'm telling my rider this across a crowded arena as I watch a wreck happening out of eye line of my rider. It's usually happening to someone else's rider. But my riders go into a crowded warm up arena with an emergency plan that gets them on the ground safely, before their horses have a chance to panic.
                  ...don't sh** where you eat...


                  • #29
                    I'm with 'winfieldfarm' on this. I'm going to start incorporating the command 'stop, drop and hold' that is perfect. All of my riders from beginners on up know how to emergency dismount.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                      Yes, while I can see the idea behind the rule, I think situation would matter. Plus I can see the other argument--I would not want youngish kids scrambling down the horse and having the horse take off while the kid is on the side of the saddle. A kid in the midst of a dismount when the horse takes off is not in a better position than one up on its back.

                      I think we're back to that other thread about the kid who was doing road racing on a bike and died...you can only make an activity SO safe, not perfectly safe. There's no 100% right answer.
                      One of the first things a PC rider learns is an emergency dismount. They are not scrambling down the side of a horse.
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Lucy17 View Post
                        And can you still get docked points or whatever at a Rally if you're walking around in spurs because you can trip or something? I did one rally as a kid, had that happen, and decided it was for the birds.

                        And I've heard that "Right way, Wrong way, and Pony Club way." line before, too.
                        Having tripped on my spurs...


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by FRM View Post
                          My last Pony Club involvement was a while back in the 90's but what amazed me was that when any of our kids fell they just lay there - even though they were not at all hurt or even had the breath knocked out they made no attempt to "shake it off" and get up. We had to call an ambulance for one girl who was perfectly alright but scared and she went to the emergency room for no real reason.

                          I know we all pull out the "in my Day" stories but I got buried any number of times and automatically rolled over to at least try and get up. This group just landed like a sack of feed and stayed put on the ground!
                          Jumping up immediately can worsen some injuries (e.g. broken things). I was taught to stay still and assess myself before moving. If your first instinct is to hop up again, you may find yourself getting up before the pain hits (and then you end up on all fours gasping in pain ). Even just taking a few seconds to catch your breath is a good thing IMO.


                          • #33
                            Yeah for Prince Philip Games - the derring-do and the athletic vaults!
                            I must say that in all my years of Pony Club we never had the Thelwellian picture painted by Winfieldfarm, most Pony Club mounts were pretty stable
                            and often ancient for the little ones, passed from child to child to child.

                            I've seen the explosions at breed shows where young horses are involved
                            under saddle.

                            I do think that it should be an exercise that should be practiced so kids
                            know the ropes.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                            • #34
                              Hello: A few of us read this with interest. Let me try shed some light on the this topic. While this is not a “rule”, it is a practice that has been used in lessons and certifications when the instructors feels the situation could escalate, and possibly jeopardize the safety of the riders in the arena. As always safety is paramount in Pony Club.

                              Kind Regards,
                              Claire Harmon
                              USPC VP of Instruction

                              Originally posted by Bethe Mounce View Post
                              Good evening everyone. I coach some pony clubbers and there is a rule that has me a tad baffled. If one of them falls off during a lesson, all others in the lesson are to dismount and stand by their horses until loose horse is caught (that is if horse runs off once rider is on the ground). This happened not too long ago and I asked why everyone had gotten off their horses. I was kinda shocked. ;-) For me, riders just stop their horses until errant horse is caught, it's far more dangerous on the ground next to the horse as opposed to being in the saddle, right? Was just wondering.......


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by charmon View Post
                                Hello: A few of us read this with interest. Let me try shed some light on the this topic. While this is not a “rule”, it is a practice that has been used in lessons and certifications when the instructors feels the situation could escalate, and possibly jeopardize the safety of the riders in the arena. As always safety is paramount in Pony Club.

                                Kind Regards,
                                Claire Harmon
                                USPC VP of Instruction

                                and thank you for the clarification.


                                • #36
                                  I used to ride a fairly pleasant quiet type of horse that would LOSE HIS MIND at the sight of a loose horse in the arena. My training had always to been to halt when a rider was down, and if possible, try to find a safe hiding spot, possibly beside a jump. Imagine my surprise the first time I found myself on him with a loose horse running and bucking to find my old quiet dude had spun and was bucking whilst going sideways! I didn't even try to stay on. I was already loose in the tack to I hopped off. I figured I was better off on the ground on my feet than on the ground on my back (or head or shoulder etc.) I was able to control the horse just fine from the ground while the other horse was gathered up.
                                  F O.B
                                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                  • #37
                                    In our Pony Club it was always halt when you heard "loose horse" called. If you hear the 'all clear' quickly (as in, got away from a kiddo and is now munch grass at the edge of the arena) you just ride on once the horse is caught. If the horse was careening around like an idiot, it was requested that everyone dismount and keep a lookout for the loose horse/if possible, move to a less dangerous area.

                                    At my first dressage rally we had a crazy one....I wasn't riding at the time, but was about to lead my guy out of his stall. Glad I didn't, because crazy pony came running down our barn aisle, stirrups a-flyin'. Luckily, both horse and rider were fine at the end of the ordeal.
                                    To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.