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.

28 comments:

SammieRockes said...

Good Point. I use the emergency dismount before I ever knew what it was! Cuz when your 8, a newbie to riding, and a big old belgian starts bucking with you bareback, you just want to get the heck off!

I was in a position once where it wasn't safe to use the one-rein-stop, and It wasn't to dangerous, but it wasn't safe to use the emrgency dismount. my horse bolted with me, and we were on the road, and where I live there are huge dangerous ditches on each side of the road, so basically I rode the storm tilol the pull back "WOAH DAMMIT method worked. Ah good times.

Trainer X said...

LMAO!!! Yes yes this true!! Sometimes you do have to ride out the storm and use the good 'ole WHOA DAMN IT!! Good call!!!! LOL!

kestrel said...

Great post, I especially like "the object of jumping off is to get the hell away from your horse!" Saw a major wreck where the kid, (who was overhorsed on a rank TB and stated that she was afraid of him, thanks trainer asshole...) tried to be cool and land on her feet and got sucked under the horse and wound up with an injured neck. Let go of the reins! If asshole horse is headed for traffic or a fence, save yourself first!
Next move, once a rider is down make them stay down until you can evaluate injuries. The adrenaline rush can get you up on your feet with a broken neck or back, only to result in paralysis.

2toads2luv said...

Kestrel- Excellent call! I actually saw that happen one, a gal was way over-horsed, got dumped, and started to get up. Fortunately, there were several EMT's close to where she landed, and they wouldn't let her get up.

Ambulance ride and x-rays later, broken neck. Adrenline and pride do powerful things.

Mikolaj said...

Haha, I've never had to use an emergency dismount yet, but I've had one initiated for me! We were galloping through a snowy field and I was on bareback. I was paying attention to another rider, so time to buck! My normally velcro butt came unvelcroed in a hurry with the corkscrew, and I ended up hanging off the side of her neck, one leg slung over her back. I said "...dammit" and waited for the next big snow bank! There was just no recovery, and she wasn't stopping, so that was a day I thanked god for snow! I could have kept clinging on hoping she'd stop, but the idea of her tripping and coming down on both of us just wasn't a good looking option.

I've never had to use a one rein stop yet, but I've been fortunate enough to be in big enough areas as to force my mount into small circles until they get tired of trying to run away with me. I have cranked a head to my knee on a bucker or rearer. Magical!

horsesandponies4ever said...

I can emergency dismount like no one. I fly out of that saddle as fast as I can because I do not want, yet again, another ER visit. Especially when the horse has completely 'shut down'. Rode a horse like this once and nothing would stop him. A really good horse that just had quarks that made him freak and 'shut down' completely...... And when you do use the pulley rein, try not to break their neck, or make them fall over on you.......

Trainer X said...

Yeah sometimes you are just way safer hitting the dirt!!! Sometimes they just won't stop.

chickenrider said...

My personal idiot took off with me down the MIDDLE (of course) of a paved road with 4 shoes on. *facepalm* I was too scared to pull too hard on him--afraid he'd fall. Finally we hit the barn and I one-reined in the sand.

PS Was out with friends and my friend tried to catch us on her Arab she uses for speed... too bad my horse was an OTTB! grrrrrr

chickenrider said...

*I should say "barn property" LOL. Not hitting the actual barn!!

Trainer X said...

Thats actually a very very good thing you didn't pull too hard on him while on the pavement!!!! PHEW!!!

boadicea1 said...

I can't tell how many times I have watched someone who had been told to pull back on the reins, pull a horse over on top of them. Or the alternative which is panic, do nothing, and become a human torpedo. This technique works, as does the dismount.

Lachelle said...

My old trainer actually used to practice flying dismounts quite a lot. I would do flying dismounts off the schooling ponies at a canter. Of course now that I have gained common sense (aka a fear of falling), I will not practice them off of my nutty Arab. Now I try to stay on no matter what, even if he is bucking (which happens to be more often than not). I've gotten a few comments that maybe I should try bronc riding next : )

Mikolaj said...

Boadicea - I think that has got to be the MOST frustrating thing to ever have to deal with. I've met so many people that just seize up, drop the reins and hang on for dear life as I scream my fool head. I was stupid enough to let an ex-boyfriend ride my Arab mare (he was supposed to stay at a walk), and he decided to be a showoff and ask for a trot. She promptly moved into a canter and then gallop, as he clutched the horn for all he was worth, slamming her back as she went racing by screaming "NIKI! HELP ME! HELP ME!" I was screaming and hollering for all I was worth to pull back, and he completely ignored me. She finally got fed up with him and piled him hard. My Arab is hyperactive, but she's well trained and would have stopped immediately if he would have just kept his damn wits about him and pulled back!

I was so flipping angry, I had trouble even feeling sorry for him as he gimped his way back to the gate (haha, my Arab of course dumped him and beelined straight for me with a very triumphant look on her face).

twhlady said...

You know what I said about my Walker dumping me the other day, he is quite content to listen to the rein when you fall. He rides with a short shank curb and a one rein unintentional stop is most effective. When you hit the ground and you dont let go of the rein until you hit they tend to stop very well. At least then you dont have to worry about chasing them down.

twhlady said...

I meant to let go but it didn't happen that way. I had resigned myself to chasing him down while I was falling through the air.

ezra_pandora said...

Oh yes, pulling back is often not the most appropriate movement. I learned that during one lesson with my trainer after he had just put 60 days on my marer. It was my very last lesson for his training on her. Something goofy happened, she reared up, I instinctively pulled back instead of leaning foward and making her GO and over backwards we went. Not one of my most favorite moments, but I now know that forwards any which way is where we want to be going when she starts hopping around. The trainer said if she's acting up, she will be more dangerous standing still than she will be moving foward, that's just the way she is.

As for the one reined stop, I had one occassion (well, really twice in one occassion) to use it. We had an appy gelding who decided one day after three months of riding that bucking sounded like fun times on a windy day. The first time he started bucking, I before I could even get his head remotely turned, I became a projectile about 8 feet into the air and off running he went. Thank goodness for the outdoor arena fencing and soft ground. How is it that the right side of your face and head can be covered in dirt, but the left side of my pants were too? How the heck did I land??? Being one to always get back on the horse after a fall, I catch my breath after laying on the ground for about 5 minutes, check him over to make sure nothing's pinching or poking. Kind of lunge him around in a few circles to see how he's acting, and proceed to cautiously mount again. I sit down, he stands still. I wiggle my foot slowly into the stirrup and wait a second before asking for any movement. He seems ok, so I hardly press my legs against him and off he goes again. I basically let go of my left rein and pulled his head into my lap with the right. Guess what? I had the only horse in the world that is able to buck while looking backwards into my eyes because he was still bucking like a mad man. I finally found a safe place to let myself be launched off, and as he was turning to the right, i jumped to the left. lol Not fun times, I tell you.

GoLightly said...

I had a rein break, galloping in an open field, in the fairly deep snow. My horse, a slightly evil character, (he had good reasons) flattened his ears, bared his teeth and flew for the barn. I bailed into a snow bank.
Whew:) It was icy on the way back to the barn, if I'd tried to stop him, with one rein, we'd have fallen together. He ended up safe, happily munching hay in his stall:)
A true bolter is darn near unstoppable. Set their jaw, tighten their neck, and GO! They are the scariest. They are usually the ones that have had their mouths torn off, and they resent your puny attempts at controlling them.
Bucking? I always kinda liked a bucker, within reason. As long as they didn't get Too carried away:)
I was riding a mare with some sore back issues, I was doing two-point outside to be "nice" to her back. BOOM, off I went, she high-tailed it straight for the road, turned around, Thank God, and zoomed back to the barn.
Her back got MUCH better;)

Great post, as usual..

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

IMHO to leave your horse on purpose is to get more hurt than if you stayed on.

If you are headed for a busy highway or a cliff and you can't stop your horse, you didn't use good judgement on your mount to begin with.

IMHO.

I jumped off one horse, one time. We were stuck in wire in tall grass. I received a concussion through my helmet and promptly lost my horse because, after he untanlged himself, he took off.

For people who are really more beginners, teaching them to jump from the horse teaches them to leave the horse rather than learn to ride the horse.

I'm noticing MOST of the posts talk about someone getting hurt BECAUSE they came off, not because they stayed on. BTW.

Oh and you don't teach the horse anything good when you leave either.

Thanks

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

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Trainer X said...

Now while I do agree that you shouldn't bail off everytime your horse takes a step you don't like, and that you do need to be careful when you do decide to bail off a horse cantering. Sometimes, it really is the best option. And if taught properly can help, if your just not strong enough /experienced enough to stop your horse. Accidents as we all know from riding horses, do happen... Thanks for the post!!

Serendipity said...

I use the one-rein stop on my redhead when he takes off with me. It used to work beautifully, only now he seems to have found a way around it. I can crank his head back to my boot and he's still galloping, though usually at an angle.

Last time he did this in an open field on a hill so I didn't even have flat ground for circling or a fence to put his face into. Any advice for situations like this?

Trainer X said...

Ok, so providing that you feels safe enough, if he takes off in an open field or up ahill, then MAKE him keep running. Most horses will bolt then stop when they feel like stopping. If he's so intent on running then make the boy RUN!!! If that is not an option practice ground driving and asking him to stop while you're not on. Or instead of cranking his head down to your boot pull his head back and angled slightly up as hard as possible! So his nose is pointing up at you. If That doesn't work re-evaluate the type of bit he's in, maybe his food makes him too hot, maybe he's just having fun, and make sure his tack all fits. Like I said use what ever makes you comfortable, but if it were me I'd run his brains out til he figured it's way too much work LOL!!! I hope this helps!!!

Havocec said...

I was taught the one rein stop when I first started riding (by a western coach who just happened to walk by when I was having a problem). Now, no one uses it (in my english world). "Run him into the wall", I was told. Fine, if there's a wall there. Sheesh.

Havocec said...

forgot to add...broken back...or stabile pelvis fracture...don't get up. Wait, and wait some more. Go to emergency ( I didn't but I was lucky like I have four horseshoes full of four leaf clovers up my ass). It was 1997 when a kidney xray revealed that I'd broken my back in a riding accident in 1992.

Serendipity said...

Making him run till he couldn't was my original plan, but then he suddenly dropped his front end and crow-hopped me right off before I could react. Then he took off running like nothing had happened.

Little bastard's got dumping me down to an exact science. Every time I get good enough to stop one of his tricks, he invents a new one. He's always been hotter than a thoroughbred, and I think usually he just gets overexcited and decides to ignore the small person on his back. Plus he's kind of a punk. Next time we ride in western instead of huntseat, and then I'm going to work the shit out of him.

kestrel said...

My old beloved "I'm your best friend, as long as I get my way!" started a similar process. I'm deathly afraid of slippery pavement and he knew it. Rat! But he's mine and I love him. I finally carried a lunge line, and when he started to get silly I just stepped off, swore a little, and told him that if he was going to act like a baby he'd get treated like one! I use the lunge for slow work, no careening around or they get hysterical. After 10 minutes of slow transitions I'd step back on. If he got silly it was 10 more minutes of slow transitions. Rider on back, life is easy. Rider off back, work and think! Smart old boy figured it out in 2 sessions, and 23 years later no problem.

kestrel said...

Horses do teach you to think ahead, and always be prepared for the worst case scenario. I never want to have to do an emergency dismount. Ever. But when I really need to get off it's good to have a plan.

Rebecca said...

One addition to the one-rein stop instructions, make sure you can ride it at the speed you are trying it. :P

When I was younger we had awful lesson horses at an awful barn that really probably should've killed me. I read about the one-rein stop in a book and decided to give it a try next time my lesson pony ran away with me. Keep in mind I had never cantered before (except when I was being run away with lol).

So I gave the stop a try, and it probably would have worked. Except when he turned sharply I came off because I had only ever "ridden" the canter in a straight line! =P lol