View Full Version : How to minimize injury from fall
30th Mar 2003, 05:27 PM
I am 36 and have been riding about 2 - 3X week for the past 3 years. I have just taken my 3rd fall. The falls occur in a split second - thus far always from a sudden movement of the horse e.g. buck or side spring.
The seems to be a pattern to the position in which I land - flat on my back with the back of my head hitting the ground a fraction of a second later. (Yes, I always wear a helmet ;-) )
In all of these cases, I have sufferd serious whiplash which has made me unable to work for 1 - 2 weeks. I have a professional job and have no desire to be out of work for any unscheduled period of time. On the other hand, well, you guessed it - I am not willing to give up riding so the risk will always be there that this happens again.
So, does anyone have advice or can point me to some resources e.g. books on how to "correctly" fall off of a horse? Hopefully this will minimize the impact if/when this happens again.
Thanks in advance!
30th Mar 2003, 05:33 PM
Your pattern is different to mine. I tend to land on my feet or my side because I have a tendency to gtrab onto my pony's neck when I fly of which usually gives me thinking time.
Everytoime I fly through the air I try to curl my arms around my body and it seems to help, esp on my worst fall. If I wasn't curled up i would have been stood on.
i think you need to make sure that you get lots and lots of lessons to make you leg grip really, really good. I have fallen off from sharp side steps, but that was when I first starting riding seriously. Now my legs are much stronger and I find it easy to hang on which has made riding much more fun. With lots of practice you'll stay on and you'll feel good for your perserverance.
30th Mar 2003, 06:58 PM
Hi, I know that it won't help with whiplash but do you wear a body protector? I know that some people find them restrictive but after a fall where I really hurt my back I won't get on without one. Apparently some martial arts help with falling... I must start some classes. :)
30th Mar 2003, 10:49 PM
There was a thread about this a while ago - I'll try to find it for you....
30th Mar 2003, 10:50 PM
Here it is I hope it helps! http://www.newrider.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17608
30th Mar 2003, 10:57 PM
If you go to the thread above, be sure to check out galadriel's link to her teaching site. It has good info.
30th Mar 2003, 11:22 PM
:) Thanks, mikka! I'm not entirely sure that an emergency dismount would help in the cases she's mentioning. I've been pondering and not come up with anything yet, except of course "relax!" (yea, right)
I've seen (and been the subject of) sudden unexpected "dismounts" as a result of a shy or a buck--or even a trip. There simply isn't time to grab onto the horse and control your fall; you're in the air before you know what's happened.
I do find that falling off a horse takes *forever*; I always have plenty of time to berate myself for whatever it was that I did wrong, before I hit the ground. For some reason this doesn't seem to translate to time to consider how to fall--not sticking out my arm to break my fall, for example.
I do think martial arts is a good suggestion; it definitely teaches how to fall without being hurt. Aside from that, practicing relaxing your whole body on a moment's notice (like going into meditation) woud probably help. I think that the best way to be prepared for an unexpected fall is to practice falling (as in martial arts)--if you do it right enough times, then when you're startled and don't have time to consider what you're doing...you'll still do it right.
31st Mar 2003, 12:06 AM
They say that jockeys learn to tuck and roll. If you have time to tuck yourself up, it might keep your neck from snapping back the way you're describing.
2nd Apr 2003, 08:29 PM
My falls are pretty much the same as Christene's, accept I also have a tendancy to stick my hand out and sprain a finger or wrist just for good measure! I have noticed the value of a body protector and always wear one hacking out. The tuck and roll thing is a great idea, but for me - I realise I'm coming off, then I'm off. There just isn't the opportunity to decide what to do with the different bits of me!
2nd Apr 2003, 08:37 PM
I find the tuck and roll happens automatically without thinking. Whether this is a result of the hundreds of falls I must have had (first rode at 3yrs old) or something different I have no idea. The only times I have not rolled up have been falls from Shetlands as they are so close to the ground:D One fall was rather spectacular off one of the shelties (I forget which) I went over the shoulder did a complete somersault and landed on my feet holding the reins - I couldn't have done that if I tried:D The only time (fingers crossed) I have been injured off a horse (more than bruised I mean) was off a sheltie (Mac) - I fell off very embarrasingly when the saddle slipped and I concussed myself by banging my head on the edge of the road (I had a hat on but the road was still rather hard;) ).
3rd Apr 2003, 10:21 PM
This has been the subject of interesting NR discussion over the years. Here's another thread from a long while ago in which Ceraptor discusses the merits of learning how to do (and practice) judo falls:
If the link doesn't work, just search the messages under 'judo'.
It seems most falls happen SOOOO fast that you can only rely on your instincts to protect you -- and a LOT of luck. :D I guess working to develop those instantaneous, instinctive reactions is the key.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.