Monday, November 24, 2008
Oh Sh*t, This Can't Be Good...
There isn't a horseback rider out there that has not experienced that expression!! As riders we get bucked, ran away with and much more!! However there are SOME things we can do to help keep us safe!!
For years we as riders have been told that while riding if our horse bolts that we should pull back on the reins. Uh... yeah, that sounds great on paper, but in real life, not so much. So therefore we introduce the one rein stop. Horse bucking? Bolting? Rearing? Crank that head to your knee! The one rein stop is one of the best tools we have as riders, because for the most part it allows us to disengage the horses hindquarter, therefore we have shut their entire body down. I say for the most part because some horses will still give their best efforts in getting out of the one rein stop, but not likely.
OK so this is how it works... horse bolts, or rears or who knows, (let's say you're right handed) you place your left hand down on the pommel of the saddle for leverage, then you slide your right down the rein as far as you can safely go. Then you heave-ho to the right, pulling your right arm straight back!! Never up, or never straight down far down, just back!! Some riders will also wrap their pulling rein around the saddle horn for extra leverage and support. You also MUST make sure that you've shortened that right rein enough to make an impact and force that horse to crank it's head. So, Heels down, left hand stationed and make that pony kiss your knee!
OK, things to keep in mind if you're going to apply the one rein stop. Do NOT do it in a double bridle, or a severely rank bit. So not use this a punishment tool. It is a SAFETY Tool!! Oh and also do NOT try to break your horses neck.
We've also all been in the position that stopping may not be an option, so we decide it's time to bail and do it fast! So now we come to the emergency dismount. Horse doing something unsafe, you can't stay on, running towards something dangerous? Dismount immediately!
Trust me, I emergency dismount without a second thought if I begin to feel unsafe. So, here we go. Pop your feet out of those stirrups grab your horse's neck and swing yourself down while pushing yourself as far away from your horse as possible!! The so-called "experts" say you should be able to land on feet, but I say who gives a crap just get the hell out of harms way and fast!! I ALWAYS teach my students how to take a fall and when to recognize a good time to bail. Instead of grabbing your horse around the neck you can also just push of their withers almost like a vaulting type of dismount. Just always remember to push yourself AWAY from the horse! If you can land on your feet, good for you, if not, then try to roll away. The idea is, is that you don't want to do anything that jars your body too much, so that you break or sprain a body part. And you also want to make sure you can get as far away as you can from thundering, scared, pissed off horse hooves.
Safety has ALWAYS come first for me and my students and my horses. We do everything in our power to stay as safe as possible, but sometimes life does not always play out that way so it's best to be prepared. And NEVER try to be a bad ass. If you need bail or one rein stop then DO IT with out a second thought. Never try to hang on because your "too cool" to fall, or you've never fallen. You won't feel like such a bad ass as a corpse or a quadriplegic either.