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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
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    299

    Default When to call it quits?

    I just got a call from a former instructor. She'd informed me that the mother of one of her clients had told her about my recent fall off of my horse (which I'll detail later). She was calling to check up on me and wanted to let me know that she was concerned. She then went on to say that I need to reconsider maintaining ownership of the Thoroughbred that bucked me off.

    She said that, at my age (23), I don't need to be falling off, and told me about her accident recently where she pulled a horse over on top of herself, and it made her reconsider her programme, which is a very, very safety conscious programme.

    This fall is my second within the span of six weeks. Last time, my horse over-jumped a 2' vertical (cleared the standards), and just wasn't ready for THAT much of an effort. My leg came back pretty far, which scared him, and I landed in a bit of a heap on his back, so he took off bucking. I almost saved myself, but, alas, it wasn't to be. I landed flat on my back (ouch). To my credit, I did give him a great release

    I put him in training with my instructor for a month afterwards while I recovered from back pain. I thought he'd benefit from some time with a professional.

    This past Thursday, it was a freak occurance that got me. We just finished up our ride, and he was a total star the entire time. Often, when we're cooling off, I'll drop my stirrups. I do it all the time, and thought nothing of it as I pulled my feet out. As soon as I dropped them, my instructor flung her arm up into the air. My horse leapt straight into the air, and darting off to the side. He was wearing an EZ Boot (he lost a shoe) and at some point tore it off - we're not sure if he spooked because he stepped on it or tore it off after the spook. Ultimately, we're not sure what happened - if it was the stirrups, the sudden movement, or the boot.

    This time, I rolled, but still managed to hit my head. Went to the ER with blurred vision in my left eye and nausea. CT scan showed no bleeding, but showed a dark spot (which I got an MRI for).

    I've owned this horse for two years. Between the two of us (illness & schedule on my part, injury on his), he's got about 120 days under saddle. I'm just getting into riding him more often and we're making great strides. He's a lot of horse, I knew when I got him - he's high energy and very fit - but he's never given me problems before, other than some baby moments in the canter depart. I've never felt unsafe on him. I consider myself to be a strong rider with good balance, and I don't feel as though I'm over-horsed.

    Aside from these two falls, I haven't fallen off in two years. I'm a little confused as to why my former instructor says I can't "keep" falling off, as though I do it all the time. I understand her concern, of course. She's a new mom (well, her little boy is 2), plus she just had a bad fall, so I see where she's coming from. My instructor has said, as well, that if he does it once more I should move on.

    So, do you think it's time to call it quits on a horse that has bucked me off twice in the past two months? Once for sure out of fear, the other time...? We really don't know what happened.

    I should add, this last time, he'd had some time off and I did not lunge him since we were only going to walk/trot and work on some lateral work, so he had a lot of pent up energy. Lesson learned on my part.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
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    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
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    6,793

    Default

    Sounds like she is projecting...
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
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    10,319

    Default

    How do you feel? If you don't feel safe riding him, then it's time to part ways. If you feel safe, then keep riding him. I always find my falls are clustered- I'll have none for ages, then two or three together.

    Hope you're feeling better.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
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    299

    Default

    I feel like I'm not done with him yet. He's not dangerous - he's just young and stupid with a lot of energy to express those qualities. He's come leaps and bounds since I got him off the track (no manners whatsoever).

    I do think I need to do more to strengthen my core as we start jumping higher.

    I feel better - still getting a little nauseous with a few short-lived headaches in-between. Thanks



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2000
    Posts
    520

    Default

    If in two years he only has about 120 days under saddle, how can you describe him as "very fit?" I can surely understand high energy because that is his personality, but how can he be very fit if he's been actually ridden that little?

    But yes, I think they're over-reacting.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
    Location
    On the buckle
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    956

    Default

    I agree that her personal experience seems to be coloring her advice to you. I don't think you should allow this to erode your confidence. At age 23, not having fallen off a fit TB for two years, I think there is every reason to be sure of yourself. These two incidents could have happened to anyone and don't necessarily mean you have an unsafe horse. This is coming from a safety-conscious 60 yr old TB rider!
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 17, 2002
    Location
    West Point, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,329

    Default

    Hmmm...well if you are not afraid of him and it doesn't sound like he is purposefully bucking you off (sounds like a couple of random "baby" moments).....
    Any chance your old trainer has her eye on him? Just playing devil's advocate.
    RIP Spider Murphy 4/20/02 - 10/31/10



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2006
    Posts
    291

    Default

    Aside from these two falls, I haven't fallen off in two years. I'm a little confused as to why my former instructor says I can't "keep" falling off, as though I do it all the time. I understand her concern, of course. She's a new mom (well, her little boy is 2), plus she just had a bad fall, so I see where she's coming from. My instructor has said, as well, that if he does it once more I should move on.
    Maybe they feel you are over mounted and don't want to come right out and tell you so for fear of hurting your feelings.
    I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,179

    Default

    You said it was the former instructor that was concerned.

    What does your current instructor think?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
    Location
    NC
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    1,091

    Default

    You fell off twice in six weeks because of spooks? That's just ... horses. Hopefully you're not falling off consistently every six weeks, but it's hardly a reason to cash in your chips and take up knitting.

    If this is a former instructor, I would politely tell her to mind her own business. Really, did you mistype your age, because most 23-year-olds bounce pretty well.
    "Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
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    1,706

    Default

    So, what does your current instructor say? Or the trainer you sent the horse to? If other professionals (or experienced amateurs) have also told you the horse is too much for you, perhaps they're right.

    There's falling off because you have a bad moment, and there's staying on because you haven't had a moment bad enough.

    There's no shame in admitting the match isn't working if it isn't, and often the right horse is what gets you in the saddle often enough to really form a partnership.

    Without seeing you and the horse working together... hard to say if it's time to quit, or not. But I *can* tell you you don't want to rack up too many concussions at *any* age.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2000
    Location
    San Diego, CA
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    785

    Default

    I agree - if _you're_ not worried, why should your former instructor be? I'd be annoyed that someone felt it was her business, in fact.

    That said, if you're still having nausea and a few headaches, you must have gotten your bell rung more than a little. The horse doesn't sound dangerous to me, but you might concentrate on groundwork for another week or so until you're back to normal. Heads don't heal all that quickly (as me how I know).

    But 23 isn't too old to be falling off. 80 might be. If you ride, you're going to hit the dirt now and then.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
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    34,858

    Default

    Several thoughts

    A) How do YOU feel about it? are YOU "riding scared" or not?

    B) What does your CURRENT instructor think about it? (I found it a little difficult to tell when you were referring to your former instructor and when your current instructor)

    C) What does your HORSE think about it? Some horses, after you fall off, see it as an opportunity, and will try again. Others see it as a mistake, nd will try to avoid getting you off.

    For instance, when they are starting to jump. they often give a gleeful buck after landing. For several of my horses, if I stay on, they tend to keep doing it, even if I correct them. But if I fall off, they seem to stop doing it. I certainly don't intentionally fall off, and I am very annoyed with both me and the horse when it happens, but it does seem to "cure" the problem. I have had similar exeriences with being bitten by "B52 bomber" hores flies, and with spooking at deer.

    But I have known other horse where the rider's falling off has made the problem worse.

    C) Being bucked off is VERY different from "pulling a horse over on you". I would seriously consider stopping riding a horse that I "pulled over on top of me".

    D) What does she mean by "at your age"? You are only 23. You still "bounce". I am more than twice your age (see the "over 50 thread). I may go several years without falling, and then fall off several times in a few months, then go several years.

    E) Yes, it is good idea to build your core (to ride better as well as to stay on). Also wear a safety vest (as well as an approved helmet) if you are at all unsure of the horse's future behavior.

    F) You could also work on desensitizing your horse to "spooky" things, like people throwing their hands in the air.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
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    840

    Default

    I'll repeat everybody else and say it depends on how you feel. If you're worried, at all, that he'll spook or overly react then he may need some time to get desensitized. If you're not worried about it and feel you can handle his "episodes" then it's your call. I'd be blunt with your trainer to see if she feels your overfaced in general with him or is just nervous because of her past. I say that only because we had an older lady in the barn who regularly fell off and wasn't concerned by it but was very much a danger to herself.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
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    299

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Monica67 View Post
    Maybe they feel you are over mounted and don't want to come right out and tell you so for fear of hurting your feelings.
    My former instructor has only seen my horse once, ever, and it was in a walk-trot class at a local schooling show in which he was a complete angel. I mean, perfect. She's never, ever seen him jump OR canter, never seen him being lunged or handled on the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    Several thoughts

    A) How do YOU feel about it? are YOU "riding scared" or not?
    I don't feel scared. I was nervous the first time we cantered after my first fall, but after he didn't pull anything, I settled down and we had a good ride.

    B) What does your CURRENT instructor think about it? (I found it a little difficult to tell when you were referring to your former instructor and when your current instructor)
    Sorry, that is confusing. My current instructor likes him a lot and thinks he's talented. She doesn't think he's too much for me, but she does agree he's a bit of an airhead. She said if he starts being malicious about his bucking, then I need to consider moving on.

    C) What does your HORSE think about it? Some horses, after you fall off, see it as an opportunity, and will try again. Others see it as a mistake, and will try to avoid getting you off
    He looked pretty sorry lol! Both times, a rider got back on him (my instructor the first, me the second), so hopefully that helped some that he's not getting to "be done" after he loses a rider. He was definitely freaked out by it both times.


    C) Being bucked off is VERY different from "pulling a horse over on you". I would seriously consider stopping riding a horse that I "pulled over on top of me".

    D) What does she mean by "at your age"? You are only 23. You still "bounce". I am more than twice your age (see the "over 50 thread). I may go several years without falling, and then fall off several times in a few months, then go several years.
    I think she just meant that I have a lot of life ahead of me and she doesn't want me to get injured/killed.

    E) Yes, it is good idea to build your core (to ride better as well as to stay on). Also wear a safety vest (as well as an approved helmet) if you are at all unsure of the horse's future behavior.

    F) You could also work on desensitizing your horse to "spooky" things, like people throwing their hands in the air.
    I'd agree with that He's never been particularly spooky, so it surprises me. I mean, jackets flapping, tarps, people running... he's never paid it much mind. I'll certainly work on that, though.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    531

    Default

    It sounds like you're doing fine. Young horses do dumb things, 2 falls are not the end of the world. If you feel that you're doing fine, and your instructor does, then keep on with the plan

    This past Thursday, it was a freak occurance that got me. We just finished up our ride, and he was a total star the entire time. Often, when we're cooling off, I'll drop my stirrups. I do it all the time, and thought nothing of it as I pulled my feet out. As soon as I dropped them, my instructor flung her arm up into the air. My horse leapt straight into the air, and darting off to the side. He was wearing an EZ Boot (he lost a shoe) and at some point tore it off - we're not sure if he spooked because he stepped on it or tore it off after the spook. Ultimately, we're not sure what happened - if it was the stirrups, the sudden movement, or the boot.

    Ok, I do have to mention that this is a bit concerning to me. I know many people like to walk around without stirrups, just slumped in the saddle, after their ride, and I know a number of people who've been badly hurt this way. I'm not sure why your instructor flung her arm up, but this is maybe too green a horse to be riding without stirrups while you're cooling off on a long rein. So, just be smart and careful, some accidents are preventable and you can just avoid those. Otherwise, pay more attention to what your current instructor thinks and how you feel than your old instructor. There must be a reason you left her



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
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    299

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty View Post
    If in two years he only has about 120 days under saddle, how can you describe him as "very fit?" I can surely understand high energy because that is his personality, but how can he be very fit if he's been actually ridden that little?

    But yes, I think they're over-reacting.
    He's been worked much more consistantly lately - pretty much all of his rides have been in the past few months. Plus, he runs laps around the pasture. I suppose "very" is an overstatement, but my point is, he's muscled and strong. Everyone has their own definition of "fit."



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2006
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    960

    Default

    To me, falling of is a part of our sport. It is an inherently dangerous sport and falling off is going to happen sooner or later. There's falling off, when the rider falls off by no real fault of the horse. Then there's being bucked off, when the horse is trying to get the rider off (one of my pet peeves is when riders say they've been "bucked off" when in fact they've just fallen off). And there's falling down, when the horse trips and falls accidentally. And then of course legitimate spooking causing a fall.

    To me, both of your falls are more in the "falling off/spooking" category - they seem legitimate on your horse's part.

    Being angry at the rider losing the position over/after a jump is very common for a young or sensitive horse. We've all had that happen to us! Nothing to be ashamed of. And sometimes we stay on, sometimes we don't! But it's pretty common for a young/green/sensitive horse to buck when the rider ends up on their neck, especially when the leg gooses their sides!

    Your second fall seems to be a legitimate spook and combination of factors, which unfortunately seems to get us all at one time or another!

    I personally would never blame a horse for either of these falls if it were me. Just a few weeks ago, I got lazy on take off and relaxed my upper body, assuming the horse was going to take a longer distance. Instead, being tired, he chipped, over a wide solid oxer. I ended up in front of the saddle (practically hanging onto his ears!) with only one stirrup. I saved it, barely, and my horse was SOooo kind to me and didn't react or buck - which is out of the ordinary as he usually gets pissed about that sort of thing. Anyway, my point is, that was my mistake, and had I come off, I would have blamed myself and learned from my mistake.

    The only time I would ever move on from a horse in your situation is if I doubted my ability/strength/technique to properly train a young athletic horse. If you feel like this is just going to keep happening because you're not able to effectively deal with these situations, or if you feel like you're becoming scared and intimidated (which is perfectly legitimate), there's nothing wrong with admitting you're over-horsed.

    Other than that, to me, these falls are just part of the game - one where you made a mistake and he reacted, and one where he spooked.

    Also - 23 is so young!! If you were like 60 or preggers or had a back condition or something, I might understand, but I am very confused at your former instructor's concern. I'm very safety conscious myself, but her concern doesn't make very much sense.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2009
    Location
    Ohio
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    225

    Default

    The truly athletic horses that have the talent to go really far can have a normal reaction or spook, but due to their sheer power, will either lose the rider or give them one heckuva chiropractic adjustment. If you aren't upset, and don't fall off at every spooky, fine. But if the horse is dumping you with every baby/green moment, and as another person pointed out, only has 120 days under saddle, the horse will get fitter and stronger, then you may be overmounted. It will get better in the mind, too, but every horse remains a creature of flight and can always spook. I know I don't need GP talent for my budget, so I wouldn't keep one that could merely sneeze and throw me. I'm a good rider, and have ridden those, and know they went on to great things. I just don't need that kind of power. But it is ultimately up to you, just remember that if most people you respect share an opinion different from yours, be open to it.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 1999
    Location
    San Ramon/Castro Valley/Brentwood, California
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    1,664

    Default

    Ride horses? Then ya fall off. It's a sport with an inherent risk. Any time you are with your horse (it starts when ya put the halter on) you are "training" him what to do or what not to do. Halter off-he's on his own time. Any horse at any age can do anything at any given moment in time. Complacent riders = tragedy waiting to happen. Unfocused riders = tragedy waiting to happen. Intimidated riders + horse who has your number = tragedy waiting to happen. No matter how many zeros were attached to his price tag when he was purchased, he is a horse, subject to doing anything and everything. He is always unpredictable. Riders who drop their stirrups and their reins and sit there slumped in the saddle are the riders who will get hurt, not might get hurt, will get hurt. As a young horse trainer for a gazillion years (so it seems), never ever do that with any horse......just get off. I am sure this is a nice horse, lacks some training and experience. Daily consistent work is always advisable unless horse is injured. As the others said, if you are intimidated or scared (there is NO shame in either), contemplate selling him. If you are not, then cowgirl up a little! ;-)



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