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Falling Off Means You're A Bad Rider?

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If a horse rears or bucks or spooks (or what have you) and a rider falls does it mean they aren't a good enough rider? In what way? Does every proficient rider know how to plant themselves on a horse *no matter what?* If you aren't prepared to handle the unexpected is there something you lack as a 'good rider?'

What do y'all think?

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i don't like making judgements. if someone falls off it just means they weren't able (for whatever reason--timing, not reading the body language quickly enough, didn't know the horse i.e.) to go with the motion. doesn't mean they were a *good* or *bad* rider, and i would hope they wouldn't get hurt. really good bronc riders (just like really great skiiers) go with the flow and flow with the go.

and i don't know anyone (no matter how proficient) that has never hit the dirt for one reason or another.

Edited by nick

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I fell off a horse a little over a month ago. Almost 6 weeks now? Maybe 7, I forgot haha. I broke my collar bone. I was not prepared for bucking. There was no signs. He was facing the fence, I turned him and kicked him closer to the shoulder, and we took off at a buck. I didn't lose the reins or the stirrups for a good few bucks but obviously I did fall and break my collar bone. I do think I'm a pretty good rider, though we are all always learning, and I think any rider of any level can fall off a horse.

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You know, things happen. I've seen some REALLY good riders bite the dust for simple things. Riders that could ride a buck to the moon and back... just a bad moment. A half second of distraction... got a cramp in the thigh at just the wrong instant.... read a spin to the left and got a spin to the right. I don't think many people who have logged a large number of hours and experienced a variety of horses and situations have come out of it without a story or two to tell. I'd probably question someone who claimed vast experience with horses who also claimed to have never had an unexpected acquaintance with the dirt.

Now, if you are falling off constantly, you may want to check yourself. Re-establish your basics, evaluate your balance...

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When I took skiing lessons many years ago in Mammoth the first thing they taught us was how to fall.

It's going to happen, they say. The trick was to learn how to minimize chances of serious injury. With skiing I seem to recall part of the strategy was to land with as much body area as possible to absorb the impact, and roll or slide with it to dissipate the energy. And of course try to protect your head. Trying to break a fall with knees or elbows focuses the energy of impact there and is a good way to suffer serious injury.

I don't know how much of that applies to horses.

With horses, is there perhaps a time when prudence dictates that you bail? And if so is there an art of doing so?

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If you have never fallen off, you haven't had a lot of experience. There's a lot of truth to the old saying "there ain't a horse that can't be rode, nor a cowboy who can't be throwed".

With horses, is there perhaps a time when prudence dictates that you bail? And if so is there an art of doing so?

Yes, on both counts. If the horse is bucking under a tree, you do NOT want to be there, and there is an emergency dismount, or a simple football tuck and roll.

Edited by ozland

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Coming off a horse doesn't mean you are a bad rider, all of us can work on refining our seat, but a horse has emotion, & that can't always be predicted. We probably have less chance of coming off a horse that we are doubt full about, than one we consider broke the best. PD

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Falling off in a spook/buck/rear situation doesn't make you a bad rider.

BUT, there's this one girl at shows that falls off at least once or twice per show, running games. She has a FAST horse, so if she doesn't fall off, she wins, which make people think she's just great. But her position and seat are just atrocious, it's pretty obvious why she's falling off. You think at some point she'd figure out that falling off that much just isn't normal.

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I'm sure there's a horse or a move that could unseat every rider.

Nobody has come off my mare in the 9+ years I've owned her. I've done up to 7-8 miles bareback, with lots of cantering, on the trails without problems. Jet is that horse who works hard to stay under you, will shift to get back under you if you falter. So - am I a great rider? No, she's a great horse. That's why I'm a bit of a nervous Nellie on any other horse!

I've had a horse fall down, but I have not come off a horse for more than 30 years. It says more for good luck and good judgment than it does for my riding, although I have a pretty secure seat.

Edited by KatyB

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"If you aren't prepared to handle the unexpected is there something you lack as a good rider?"

No.

It simply means the rider wasn't prepared and didn't expect the unexpected .... at that particular moment.

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Youtube is full of Olympic level riders having bad moments - including coming off.

If you ride, you will fall off.

I have a really, really good velcro butt. I've sat things that would have the average rider off - try a 17 hand TB deciding to go all the way across a huge arena by means of alternating the vertical and lateral equine teleports. *I* don't know how I stayed on, except I had to get on a plane the next day and was going "Ican'tfalloffican'tfalloffgodsthat'salongwaydownican'tfalloff" ;). It happened because a tree randomly fell down in the nearby woods - something any horse would have spooked at and this particular horse - he wasn't insanely spooky, but when he DID spook it was explosive.

Anyone can fall off. Which is why fall training is so **** important and it annoys me that it's so neglected in the horse world. I've been launched (by a brat of a Quarter Horse who picks fights with his rider on occasion) with so much force I rolled all the way to my feet! It was spectacular to watch, I'm told, but my trainer yelled at me for getting up too quickly. I was like "I couldn't help it!" The sum total of my injuries was a bruised shoulder, and I got back on the brat too :P. He never bucked me off again - I guess he figured if I was just going to get right back on again, it wasn't worth the effort!

A good rider is less likely to come off than an inexperienced one, but it can happen and it WILL happen.

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I've never had 'riding' lessons but I've always had a pretty good seat and balance.... I've ridden down impossible rides while staying on... and been tossed by an inadvertent stumble.

:confused0024:

Like Shameless, I've been in situations where the lesser of two evils was to stay on - no matter what - and I did.

I like to think I'm a good rider.

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Last time I came off it was off my WB, bucking fit for no apparent reason. We had just started warming up, so I didn't have his face. Sent me flying, broke several ribs. Sucks, especially at my "advanced" age, took forever to breathe again without hurting. Not even joking when I say his bucking would make a PBR man cry. I can usually recover when I have my reins to yank his big dumb head up. He's not usually a jerk right off the bat, so he caught me unprepared.

Time before was probably a year earlier. Was on my (then) 22 year old, who've I ridden since he was 10. After a very nice ride I was hacking him out, hands on the buckle, no stirrups, not paying attention to anything. I think he just realized this was his chance--head between his knees, one buck and I went flying over his shoulder. First and only time he'd ever gotten me off. I got up and laughed, no harm, no foul. I was more amazed than anything.

I just kind of accept the fact that I'm going to eat dirt once in a while. If Olympic caliber riders can come off, I as a mediocre ammie, hardly stand a chance (especially with something as athletic and loose in his back as the WB is)

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Embarrassing when the horse shakes himself,and off you go...

I've been thrown off a few times....always got back on..

Fallen off before I didn't pay attention to the horse, new surroundings, horse shied I went off.

Just depends on the situation..

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On the other side of the coin.... NOT falling off does not necessarily make you a good rider. :grin: I've seen some pretty horrible riders manage to remain mounted.

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On the other side of the coin.... NOT falling off does not necessarily make you a good rider. :grin: I've seen some pretty horrible riders manage to remain mounted.

For sure^^!

I am a pretty good rider I think but I am not in any way the rider I was 20 years ago! I came off a mule a few weeks ago, first fall in 10 years when another mule got me!

I was unprepared for both but really unprepared for the last one. I knew Shorty was on the muscle for no apparent reason but since I had been riding him for almost an hour, I did not expect him to just randomly take off bucking! I was unhurt and rode back to the house double with my husband. We had to catch Shorty as he ran off bucking and kicking to find the herd!

I did not get back on then and have no plans to EVER ride him again. I am too old to put up with that nonsense and while I know that they can be unpredictable, I will not subject myself to one that bucks, has ever bucked and certainly not one that has bucked me off! Shorty is not even my mule and I have no need to ride his sorry butt, so I will not ride him any more. I still really like him, he has the greatest sense of humor and he really likes me but he is no longer a candidate for my saddle. My nephew, his owner, can figure out what to do or not to do to avoid those bucks in the future!

I am Ok with someone thinking that I am a bad rider because I got bucked off or because I did not get back on even though I was not injured or because I will never get back on that mule or all of the above. I know what's up and I am the one respnosible for my medical status!

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For sure^^!

I am a pretty good rider I think but I am not in any way the rider I was 20 years ago! I came off a mule a few weeks ago, first fall in 10 years when another mule got me!

I was unprepared for both but really unprepared for the last one. I knew Shorty was on the muscle for no apparent reason but since I had been riding him for almost an hour, I did not expect him to just randomly take off bucking! I was unhurt and rode back to the house double with my husband. We had to catch Shorty as he ran off bucking and kicking to find the herd!

I did not get back on then and have no plans to EVER ride him again. I am too old to put up with that nonsense and while I know that they can be unpredictable, I will not subject myself to one that bucks, has ever bucked and certainly not one that has bucked me off! Shorty is not even my mule and I have no need to ride his sorry butt, so I will not ride him any more. I still really like him, he has the greatest sense of humor and he really likes me but he is no longer a candidate for my saddle. My nephew, his owner, can figure out what to do or not to do to avoid those bucks in the future!

I am Ok with someone thinking that I am a bad rider because I got bucked off or because I did not get back on even though I was not injured or because I will never get back on that mule or all of the above. I know what's up and I am the one respnosible for my medical status!

Agree!!!!! I used to ride horses for a local horse trader. I was able to hop on anything she got in and my job was to see what they were made of. In the process I got tossed allot. Then when I lived with my friends and helped them with the guided trail ride business we got a ton of horses in to ride and make sure they were ok for customers. Getting tossed in an arena is wayyyy different then getting tossed on the trails down hills into trees...

Needless to say I've had my fill of rank dumb horses. Plus I don't bounce. Never have. If I'm riding I won't ride a known bucker. It can't always be prevented but I will try to stack the deck in my favor as much as I can.

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The lady who taught me to ride, told all the students you had to fall off ten times before you're a good rider. I've been riding for 66 years so I'm sure it's been that many by now.

The last time I came off was eight years ago. I was going at a pretty good clip at a trot and the next thing I knew, I was propelled over my horse's head like a rocket. He had stumbled and gone down in front when neither of us were expecting it. I got back on because he was still green and it had scared him. But I didn't stay on long. My sister drove me to the ER and checked me in. The next thing I knew, a lady with a clipboard called out, "Where's the lady who fell off the horse?" Very embarrassing! I only had a cracked collarbone but couldn't ride for two months. That was worse than the pain. Sometimes you just can't stay on.

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I agree with the not riding being worse then the pain. I broke my collar bone and that was horrendous, but not getting to ride? Even worse. Now I don't own a horse anymore so the wait is terrible but I'll have one soon (long story)

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Embarrassing when the horse shakes himself,and off you go...

I've been thrown off a few times....always got back on..

Fallen off before I didn't pay attention to the horse, new surroundings, horse shied I went off.

Just depends on the situation..

Rocky gave a good and unexpected shake on Friday and somehow completely jammed my thumb. That was a painful nonevent, lol.

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At some point in time, I think everyone gets dumped, falls off, hits the ground. If I had a nickle for every time the ponies dumped me way back when, invested it properly, I would be independently wealthy now!

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I agree with the not riding being worse then the pain. I broke my collar bone and that was horrendous, but not getting to ride? Even worse. Now I don't own a horse anymore so the wait is terrible but I'll have one soon (long story)

I dunno, I'm pretty much done with the pain. I'm "only" 40 but there isn't a part of me that doesn't ache on a daily basis, from ankles to the bum shoulder. It takes the fun out of life. I could be happy not riding again, or only hacking out Ol' Reliable. That doesn't explain why I picked up a weanling a few years ago *sigh*. Makes the Celebrex investors and the chiro happy, my little way of stimulating the economy haha

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Anyone can come off, and the more different horses you ride, the more likely you will eventually meet a horse that gets you off

In fact, there are many technically good riders, able to win hi point non pro, that would not be able to ride a green horse, as they always are on a horse that in maintained by atrainer

Ask any great trainer, and they have had some horse wreak along the way

There is also a difference in being a good rider /trainer and being a person able to stay with a true bronc

In fact, I have been told that a good rider is more likely to get hurt on a bucking horse, as they will stay with that horse longer, and if they eventually come off, really get 'drilled' into the ground

Having said that, a good rider should be able to sit a spook, a rear is easy to sit, the danger lies in having the horse go over backwards, so you need to timing to boot that horse forward. Bucking-again, if you have some body control on that horse, can prevent him from getting his head down, and really 'going to town, boot him ahead, then you don't need to be a great bronc rider, just a good horseman with some basics on your horse

Most bad wreaks with a good rider, happen because a trusted horse does something very un expected,really getting the rider off guard

My worst wreak happened that way, about 6 or 7 years ago, and resulted in six broken ribs.

I had been riding this colt for some time that winter, had ridden and started many of his full siblings, and all had great minds with little inclination to buck.

On that particular day, I was in a hurry, as we were going to drive to Calgary, and as it was a fairly nice day for an Alberta winter, I decided to quickly ride him in my snowy outside arena. Had a good ride, and then decided to ride him back to the barn. Along the way, we passed hubby's black bear bait barrel, which was up against the side of a corral. Newton spooked a bit, but no big deal, as he was a willing colt, so urged him up to it. Leaned forward and gave him lots of rein to get his head down and sniff the opening, cut into the side of that barrel. No doubt, a smell of rotten meat remained!

At that moment in time, hubby banged the back door, letting the cat in. Newton could not jump ahead, as the corral was there, so he spun around and took a big leap, while I was still gathering up reins and trying to sit up. I could still have stayed with him, but unfortunately that big leap and me being out of position, reins thrown away, felt unfamliar, so he threw in a big leaping buck.Those bucking leaps took me from the corral to the cement slab poured along our bottom walkout, and I got planted in front of it, hard, on frozen ground

Pain!!!!!

I did ride him again, and he never offered to buck again, but it took some time until I trusted him, and could relax on him. Sold him to a teenage girl that was in a situation where she worked with the trainer at the barn she did chores at, and he did everything for her. Jumped, endurance rode,etc, bareback pleasure rides, and he became her very special horse.

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I went off last week. I was riding my green broke mare home from town and decided to jump a small water filled ditch. I expected her to go over it and she went up and back, so I bailed off her side, because I didn't want her falling over on me.

I landed on my butt, got up and got back on and finished the ride home. lol I've been riding for 55 years and I think if you ride enough horses and miles, you will come off a few times.

It doesn't mean you are not a good rider, just that you ride a lot.

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Every rider I know, whether good or bad, accomplished or beginner, has come off at one time or another. Every situation is different, and sometimes skill and knowledge can't keep you in the saddle.

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