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Falling off of a Western saddle worse than English fall?

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  • Falling off of a Western saddle worse than English fall?

    Hello everyone, I'm a longtime (17 years) English rider. I rode Western very briefly (for a few months) when volunteering at a primarily Western barn. A few years ago I picked up a Western saddle at a yard sale on the cheap, and yesterday I finally(!!!) saddled up my mare with it. The mare (an OTTB) goes English, but she seemed to very much enjoy our little Western jaunt.

    I felt very secure (and comfy!) in the saddle, but having ridden English until now, it seems like a fall out of a Western saddle could be SO much more painful - there's more to get hung up on, and it seems to me that you could get all sorts of flipped around, I guess, in coming out of the saddle.

    Anyone have any thoughts or experience in this? I really enjoyed riding Western for a bit, and hope to do so a bit more in the future, but any wisdom which could quell my (hopefully unsound) fears would be very welcome!
    Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.

  • #2
    The ground felt the same whether I fell from an English or western saddle...HARD !

    Comment


    • #3
      The only times in my life that I have been seriously hurt falling off a horse I was riding bareback (once) or in an English saddle (once). I've never been hurt falling out of a western saddle.

      And now that I think about it, I did once have a particularly spectacular fall out of a western saddle with ample opportunity to get hung up in the stirrups or on the horn and it was a completely clean fall. (It was a spectacular fall, but I wasn't hurt, beyond the usual bruises and wounded pride.)

      So, my personal experiences do not indicate that falling off a western saddle is worse than falling off an English saddle or bareback.

      Oh, now that I think some more, I did get hung up on a western saddle once. I was dismounting and my T-shirt got caught over the horn. I hung there, pinned to the side of my mule flailing around as the saddle ever so slowly slid off to the side and dropped me off. And my mule, bless his heart, just stood there wondering what the heck I was doing.
      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
      that's even remotely true."

      Homer Simpson

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      • #4
        Originally posted by qhwpmare View Post
        The ground felt the same whether I fell from an English or western saddle...HARD !
        I have only fallen bareback or off a western saddle; both suck! Honestly, I doubt there is much difference.

        I have never ridden english but a western saddle seems to be a little more substantial if there is a problem.

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        • #5
          Never had an issue with being hung up or whatever in a western saddle.

          However, some of my western falls were much better because they were on stocky, short horses (that didn't buck as well as the bigger guys) instead of giant 17 handers.
          Semi Feral

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          • #6
            I have an EZ fit treeless that looks like a cross between a Western saddle and an endurance saddle. Being used to English I was concerned that I might get hung up on all that saddle http://www.americanlisted.com/pennsy..._12447620.html

            Well Fella bucked me off with the greatest of ease. I did not get hung up

            Paula
            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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            • #7
              ...I'm an English rider with an inner cowboy. But I did hear of a lady who got her bra caught up in the horn.. My male friend had to untangle her. Maybe it saved her, I dunno.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                ...I'm an English rider with an inner cowboy. But I did hear of a lady who got her bra caught up in the horn.. My male friend had to untangle her. Maybe it saved her, I dunno.
                Now that has happened to me before but I am quite large busted. It was so embarassing. Thank God the bra ripped when I was bailing off of my very green horse on her first trail ride.

                Sadly it was one of my favorite $80 bras I always take extra bras on trail rides now

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                • #9
                  I've had a whole lotta falls out of my western saddle, and just a couple out of English - and I can say by far my English falls have been more spectacular in terms of bruising. I've never gotten hung up (or even close) in either saddle.

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                  • #10
                    Unless you are roping cattle. , having a large metal spike sticking out of a saddle seems kinda dumb to me. My mother knew a young vet that totally destroyed his pelvis & the organs in said pelvis by coming down on the horn.

                    I do think that it would be easier to catch your foot & get dragged by a western stirrup. I am always horrified when I see someone riding in one w/ sneakers.

                    I, too, have gotten my bra caught on a horn. I thought that was something only someone as clumsy I could manage.

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                    • #11
                      Maybe it's what you're used to. I trained to come out of an english saddle, and always landed on my feet. The only times I ever got bruised in a fall was out of a western saddle, and the bruises were where I got hit by the saddle, not by the ground. My worst fall was a year ago, when my aging body couldn't compensate for getting over the high cantle and I landed on my back right across my pelvis. No more western saddles for this old girl.

                      BTW, I feel much LESS secure in the average western saddle. The wider tree forces my legs out right at the point where I need them to be in. I feel like I'm riding on top of a board rather than down "in" the horse. Cut outs help, but don't solve the problem entirely.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I fail to see how the type of saddle you are sitting on makes any significant difference in how hard you hit the ground. Whatever you were doing with the horse when you fell off probably has a hell of a lot more influence.

                        And count me in as one who finds western saddles less secure. Between the chair seat and the gigantic amount of leather, no thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by caballero View Post
                          I fail to see how the type of saddle you are sitting on makes any significant difference in how hard you hit the ground. Whatever you were doing with the horse when you fell off probably has a hell of a lot more influence.

                          And count me in as one who finds western saddles less secure. Between the chair seat and the gigantic amount of leather, no thanks.
                          It's not hitting the ground that makes a difference; it's what happens as you exit. Some of the worst bruising I ended up with in a fall came from my thigh hitting the horn as I exited.

                          As someone else said, it may be what you're used to. I'm more used to getting dumped from an English saddle, so if I was trying to help myself get off (I don't really remember) I might not be anticipating the horn being in the way and so knocked into it before landing gracefully on my face in the dirt.
                          Last edited by TheTwinTiersHorse; Feb. 2, 2013, 03:24 PM.
                          What's Horsie in the Twin Tiers? Find out here:
                          http://thetwintiershorse.blogspot.com/

                          Former user name: GilbertsCreeksideAcres

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                          • #14
                            I think the whole issue is that dang horn! I have a Bob Marshall Endurance saddle, because horns scare me. I have ridden in regular Western saddles and still do occasionally, but I prefer something without a horn. For me, it's only usefulness is to hang a bridle on. I have known people to rip bras on them and injure various body parts on as they were falling off.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've fallen using both, I'm more likely to fall English because I still grab leather and there's plenty on a Western saddle.

                              I would NOT like to have a horse fall with or on me riding Western. I have a fat male gaited riding friend whose horse fell with him at a show. He never actually parted company with the horse but somehow he managed to be severely injured by the horn and the cantle as the horse struggled to regain it's footing. He finished up his horseshow, took the horses home and put them up and then drove himself to the ER still towing the horse trailer. Severe internal injuries, bruised spleen, liver and somehow his kidneys, almost lost his kidneys.

                              GF took her horse to the beach, horse injured a tendon in the deep sand and went down, GF's foot stayed in the stirrup and was crushed, broke a few of her bones and the two of them had to convalesce together.

                              I haven't met any hunt seat English riders that haven't just been thrown clear. I might need to expand my circle of friends but . . .
                              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                              Incredible Invisible

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                              • #16
                                A horn can squash you if the horse comes over on top of you. Bronc saddles for cowboys who intend to ride mostly bucking horses, don't have a horn for that reason. But you can still break ribs if the horse goes over on top of you- you just don't have a horn to puncture anything specially.

                                A horn can also rip the buttons out of your blouse with a big, cutting-horse style move or a big jump over a log. I know a gal whose bra got ripped off (blouse still on, bra around saddle horn!) by her saddle horn when her colt really started bucking hard.

                                Western stirrup leathers do not come off a stirrup bar like english ones do, so my call is that it is a bit easier to get hung up in a western stirrup than an english one- though it is completely possible to get hung up and drug from an english stirrup. There are safety western stirrups available, from expensive ski-binding-engineered-release to a less expensive simple peacock-type design.

                                I have had a spook/spin episode in a form-fitter style saddle with a REALLY big pommel. I'm pretty sure I would have gone off in a normal western or english saddle, certainly bareback, but I just ended up with a honkin' black and blue bruise on my upper thigh, the saddle 'beat me up' but I stayed on. That saddle was designed for cowboys who break and ride a lot of mustang horses in the 30's and 40's.

                                Otherwise, how much you get hurt has mostly to do with how bad the fall is.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  as Paloma Faith sings ~ "falling never hurts but landing does"


                                  as Paloma Faith sings ~ "falling never hurts but landing does"
                                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post

                                    as Paloma Faith sings ~ "falling never hurts but landing does"
                                    Speed does not kill. Sudden deceleration does.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by longride1 View Post
                                      Maybe it's what you're used to. I trained to come out of an english saddle, and always landed on my feet. The only times I ever got bruised in a fall was out of a western saddle, and the bruises were where I got hit by the saddle, not by the ground. My worst fall was a year ago, when my aging body couldn't compensate for getting over the high cantle and I landed on my back right across my pelvis. No more western saddles for this old girl.

                                      BTW, I feel much LESS secure in the average western saddle. The wider tree forces my legs out right at the point where I need them to be in. I feel like I'm riding on top of a board rather than down "in" the horse. Cut outs help, but don't solve the problem entirely.
                                      If a horse decides to go into Bucking-Mode Overdrive, and you try to stay in the seat for a few bucks, that horn and cantle will beat the livin' squid out of your inner thighs, pubic bone, and wherever else it punches you. Seriously: the landing was fine. However, I looked like I had been ravaged by a pile driver and my right ankle was wrenched when it was yanked out of the stiff and immovable fenders and stirrups.
                                      <shrugs>
                                      But as others have said, it's what you're used to/most comfortable with.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        ...again, English rider here with the inner cowboy - I cannot get out of the jump seat position when jumping in a Western saddle - say a tempting log - and have several times winded myself badly on that darned horn (without getting my bra hooked, luckily.)
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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