MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: what do you do if you fall off a horse???

Date: Mon Mar 20 16:21:44 2000
Posted By: Bradley Kelley, Grad student, Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 953074587.Zo

Dear Sterling Silver's Owner,

Well the old saying goes "if you fall of a horse, you get right back on!". 
 This is true for many things, and is true for you as well.  However, even 
the most experienced riders fall off occasionally, so don't take a fall 
personally.  As you get better, you will fall less and can better 
anticipate when falls might happen.

Here are three things to do if you fall off your horse from "The Horses 
Illustrated Guide to Western Riding" by Leslie Ward, 1998 by BowTie Press.

First, if you think you are going to fall or are loosing your balance, grab 
onto the saddle or lean down close to your horse and wrap both arms around 
your horses neck and HANG ON!  This isn't a time to worry about your riding 
position.  Looking like a goof in the saddle is still better than hitting 
the dirt and risking injury.  

If you do fall off, follow these three steps.

1. Let go of the reins!  If you hang on to the reins you could be dragged 
behind your horse and be stepped on or kicked.  Normally, the horse will 
not run far with the loose reins.
2. Curl up while falling.  Bring your arms in close to your body and curl 
up into a ball.  Don't hold your arms out to break your fall (you will 
instinctively do this, so you will have to tell your body to do something 
it doesn't want to do!).  If you do hold your arms out, it is much more 
likely you will break your arm!
3. Lie still.  Once you hit the ground, lie still for a moment.  You may 
feel dizzy, especially if you have hit your head.  Sit up slowly.  If you 
are in great pain, yell for help.  If not, and you can, stand up SLOWLY.  
Then, if you aren't injured and your horse hasn't galloped back to the 
barn, it is a tremendous confidence builder to get back on the horse and 
continue riding.  (This is also good to teach your horse that getting you 
out of the saddle doesn't necessarily mean the end of the riding day!).

Try not to think too much about it.  All riders occasionally "hit the 
dirt".  Just stick to a riding area and speed that you are comfortable with 
until you gain greater confidence in your skills.

A few other quick recommendations.  Since you are a beginning rider I would 
strongly suggest going to a riding class.  You will learn skills much 
faster and be a much better rider if you do, and your horse will appreciate 
that you are a better rider as well.  If you can't, get some books on 
beginning riding and study them well.  The better rider you are, the less 
you will fall off!  You should also consider wearing an equestrian helmet. 
 They are like bike helmets but made for falling off of horses.  For more 
info on helmets, Troxel makes some nice ones and can be found at  I hope this helps and good luck with your riding 
with Sterling Silver.  Remember, riding is you and your horse working 
together, not just you sitting on a horse!  Take the time to learn to be a 
good rider and you will have so much more fun being out with Sterling!  
Take care.

If you have any other questions about horses you can reach me at my e-mail:

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