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“Get back on the horse” isn’t just advice for riders, it’s become a saying for not giving up, being brave, and being resilient.

But is getting back on always the best advice?

In this video, I am going to share three times when you should NOT get back on the horse.

One, even two of these situations may be kind of obvious, but you may not guess the third.

Hit play below to watch the video and see if one of these three situations has ever happened to you.

p.s. If you are still fearful after a fall or find that you are often worried or anxious about riding and want to get back to enjoying your ride, then Click Here to check out my Calm & Confident Rider program.


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A comprehensive program on horse behavior, training, and riding. Ride with balance and learn to communicate effectively with your horse. Learn riding in a completely new way!
Instructed by: Callie King
This 28 day program is for every rider who has ever experienced fear or anxiety about riding – whether from an accident, a bad experience, or just the question of “what if?”

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87 Responses

  1. I have always got back on except once. That one time I wasn’t really even on, I did a stupid thing. I was hand walking a horse which is 17h1, and decided to climb up and ride the last 300 meters bareback, as I had done once before. I climbed up on a parked truck and reached my leg over his back, and he stepped away. I landed flat on my back on the road. I was hurt and disoriented, but managed to walk back on my own. Luckily a friend was with me. It was several hours before I felt able to drive home, and she followed me to make sure I made it safely.

  2. I was breaking my, then 3yr. old, mare and was thrown off. The end result was three fractured vertebrae. Due to very slow healing, I wasn’t able to get back on her for two years. As a result, she gets strong-willed with me. Of the three fractures, one still will not heal. It has been declared a surgical fracture that will require a plate, rod, and screws. Long story short, I am really nervous every time I get on her back. Somehow, becoming more sure of myself and my horse would be a blessing. I’ve ridden and broke ponies and horses since I was a young child. I’m not nearly as confidant as I once was.

  3. I have rarely come off of a horse but those few times are imprinted in my mind. I have been on horses since I was a small child. Now in my 70s, I find that if I have been off for a while I have a great deal of fear especially with a new horse. I do lots of ground work just have a problem in my mind of what the horse might do and if course that doesn’t help the situation. So want to keep riding but just over think it or…….

  4. I had a TB/QH cross that had fear issues. Every time he got scared he started bucking. I rode him for 4 years and he threw me 4 times. I broke ribs twice. I may not have survived the last fall except for my helmet. I did get back on but he was so upset I had put him in his stall to climb back on. He tried to climb the walls with me on him. I was finally able to get a couple of relatively normal rounds out of him and I got off. I never got on him again. I sent him to a (third) trainer. When this trainer assured me was ready to come home and would be fine, I just couldn’t do it. I gave him to the trainer. I loved him dearly, but I just couldn’t ride him anymore. I still miss him.

  5. Once when I was injured: I tore all the ligaments in my knee having been bucked off over a fence, getting the stirrup leather caught on a fence pole and the mare bolted off (ouch). In retrospect I didn’t have the skills necessary to ride the mare in the first place.
    Another time when my home bred mare bucked me off in my arena: I was winded, but this was completely out of character for her. Turned out she had navicular disease in 3 hooves.
    Finally I tried to mount my newly bought, newly started, 9 year old green mare in my arena for a saddle fitting. She had me off immediately. After a year of work I now realise she had been started much too quickly and in military style that did not suit her.

  6. I’ve fallen in the past and chose not to get back on the horse because I feared that I had angered it and things would only be worse if I mounted again. I was very young and, much like today, not good at reading a horse’s signals and not at all confident about my abilities.

  7. As a youngster I rode my horse everywhere, over creaky bridges, through creeks and water situations of all kinds. Now I am 75 years old with two hip replacements. My Dr. says no more riding. But I ride two or three times a month. I have two horses, one totally trustworthy and one on the green side. I want to bring my green horse up to full trustworthiness, but know a nagging fear every time I get on her. What do you think?

    1. Hi Herb, I cannot recommend anything without you having clearance from your doctor to ride.

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  8. Hi Callie,
    My beloved 10 yo mustang mare recently required euthanasia to free her from the pain of laminitis and its abscess complications.
    I didn’t think I would ride again because my emotional bond to her was so strong that the guilt of riding a new horse seemed impossible to overcome.
    After 2 months of heartbreaking struggles through the laminitis and 2 weeks of profound grief, I found a reason to get back in the saddle. A wonderful little Haflinger/Paint needed a good home and a compassionate connection to its owner.
    Willow is her name and she’s my reason to get back on and enjoy the trails.

  9. One time I did not get back on because I felt that the reason I came off was because the horse was hurting. Instead of getting back on, I called someone else over to help me with evaluating the horse and we called it a day because it seemed the THE HORSE was not going to benefit from me getting back on.

  10. Hi Callie
    I had an accident 18 months ago, I banged my head and was unconscious for about 3 mins, apparently, since then I have to finally admit, after watching your videos, that I’m afraid of going any faster than a gentle walk on my 13 yr old gelding, I’ve never told anyone else I just ride him when there is no one else around, but it cannot carry on like this joe plz how do I get back to us both, myself and my horse, back to enjoying riding over the fields or galloping on the beach as we did before.
    Soo xx

  11. I was having a lesson on my gelding and he was not a very confident horse right from the beginning when I purchased him. We were trotting in the arena and as I rose up in my post he heard something on the other side of the wall and bolted away from the wall. Of course I wasn’t balanced be off the saddle and I was on the ground before I knew what happened. My trainer asked me if I wanted to get back on. Since I knew the horse did not intentionally want me off his back I was not scared or worried about getting back on him. I tried to get back on but found I was injured and couldn’t get up in the saddle. Since I wasn’t sure of the extent of my injury thought it was safer not to get back on. My trainer did not pressure me and I listened to my body. I landed on my hip when I fell and jarred my lower back. I spent a number of months in Physio and fully recovered do to listening to my body, exercising, and taking the time to heal. Unfortunately in the end this gelding never gained the confidence he needed to become a show horse. He is now having fun out in the pasture.

    1. That is great that the horse was able to do something more suitable to what he wanted! I’m glad to hear your trainer didn’t push the issue of you getting back on the horse.

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  12. Two times I came off young green horses that did not have the proper training prior to me being on them. Both were the first time a person had been of their back. Pure youthful stupidity on my part. Now at 67 I’ve started two horses that I bought and brought home as weanlings. Both had good handling before coming home. Before being ridden there was lots of ground work and the first rides was uneventful. My trainer is fantastic with horses and knowing correct riding, however I’ve found that sometimes I’ve misunderstood her explanations and practiced perfectly between lessons and next lesson found out I practiced incorrectly. I find your explanations are clean, concise and don’t leave room for misunderstanding.

  13. I’ve gotten back on when my horse has lobbed me off. One time I shouldn’t have… I was hurt, not only emotionally (embarrassed) but physically as well. The following weeks were miserable. But I healed and am now working through the low confidence with a lot of ground work with the goal to get back in the saddle. I’ve ridden a little…but when the anxiety of “what could happen” flares up, I know my horse senses i and sometimes acts accordingly. You know the saying about the girl with the strawberry curl…. lol

  14. At age 65, taking lessons in an area, I was thrown from the horse when she spooked at the trot. I immediately told the instructor I was not getting back on, knowing my limits. But being a young eventer, she insisted that I get back on until I had a “positive trot” experience. This was not comfortable for me physically or mentally, I should have stood my ground. As it turned out I had a small pelvic fracture. I understand she was applying what she thought was helpful psychology, but it wasn’t appropriate for someone my age.

    1. Oh no Lynn, I’m so sorry that happened to you. That is a great example of what Callie is talking about in this video!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  15. A couple of weeks ago I took my 19 yr old arab mare, who I have had for 12 yrs, for a short ride across the moor with a friend on her cob. All was well until about 5 mins after we turned for home (there and back route) when I asked for trot and she just exploded! Felt like she was going to buck and tank off. I tried turning her sideways but each time I turned back forward she did the same. After about 5 mins of this I just got off as I thought I would get bucked off otherwise. I was very shocked as I have never had to get off her in all the time I have had her. I should add that our confidence in each other has been deteriorating for the last 4 yrs since she started occasionally bucking and I am currently looking at ulcers/back issues and having lessons with a confidence building trainer. Since that incident I have hacked her out alone on the road and also twice off road with canters but she is currently quite onward bound and things are not quite as calm as I would wish (and as they were in the past).

    1. Liz, you are on the right track with looking into any physical discomfort!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  16. excellent calm advice. I loved your video. As you say, always too much pressure for everyone to get back on & do the ‘hair flick’ but its not always a great idea. At my age, which is nearly 60yo, I cannot afford to be a hero & have broken bones so I would prefer to err on the side of caution & dismount if I don’t feel comfortable.

  17. Terrific points Callie, and I agree wholeheartedly with all of them. From the psychological standpoint, these are all great criteria to consider as we decide how best to proceed after a fall.

    It is so important that we are all re-considering the merry traditional mantra of “just hop back on.”

    Yes, I’ve gotten back on after every fall I ever took since I was six years old except for the one where the horse ran back to the barn about a mile away, and that was my worst fall–I rode a couple of other horses for a few weeks before I rode that horse again. He was destined to leave the barn within the year–lovely gaits but not happy as a school horse. I was fortunate to walk away from that one with only some bad bruising.

    Yes, as an instructor I have put riders back on their horse when I saw a very soft slip off at low speeds, often with the rider hopping up again before I could even say “stay down,” and appearing to be physically and emotionally fine after talking with me for a few minutes. I only put my riders back on a horse that I would bet my life could be safely led or sidewalked around for a lap or two, and even then, I walked along with them. With the safe school horses we had in our program, falls were almost always the result of a rider simply losing balance as they learn, not of a horse needing schooling. But I am ever mindful of preventing brain injury, which can bedevil a rider for a long time if not properly recognized managed!

    No, I have never made a big deal about what appears to be a minor fall, and I have been sympathetic, encouraging and upbeat as much as possible.

    That said, SAFETY COMES FIRST. Always. This is especially important when there is potential for brain trauma. We and our instructors need to recognize and remember that even “shaken” brains can sustain a concussion–that is, if your brain rattles inside your skull as you bump into the ground, there is a potential for concussion even if you did not hit your head on your way down. Also, it is so important to recognize that important concussion symptoms may not appear for minutes or sometimes even hours.

    If you think there is ANY chance of a second “shake” occurring, let your rider pet (their now calm) horse from the ground, and say good bye for the day. Or let them mount a calmer horse for a walk lap with you or an experienced sidewalker. If the horse would benefit from being schooled in real time, you or someone else can get on them after class before they return to the barn. And there is always the next day.

    Following are three great videos for helping us understand the crucial importance of avoiding “repeat” concussions, which can occur if a rider who has already sustained a bump puts themselves at risk for another one:

    I’ve been so lucky as a rider and as an instructor to have enjoyed decades of equestrian education with a very solid safety record, but I am also so grateful now to be armed with this valuable, useful information that we can all use to guide us in the future. Happy and safe riding to all!

  18. Yes. My young horse bucked me off the first time I rode him. I had just got him and he was supposed to be trained but I realised that he needed more time and I needed a safer way to get on him. Took him right back to basics and he was great. Just needed an extra week.

  19. Ones my horse was very anxious and I jumped of and I want to longe the horse mut my trainer said, what are jou doing? Get back on? I said, I,dont wanna I wanna Longe first… get back on… so I listend.. the horse rode like circles normal.. then got high on is hind legs and I fell of hard… and galopped in to the field… after they got him, I longed but didnt get to ride my training.. but I had to pay anyway… I fell of in the 3 minutes she started the lesson.. she was late.. we needed to gallop right away and on that moment I needed to get off and i did but then I was pushed to get back on.. was the worst day of my life.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about that situation Suzanne, that sounds like it was really frustrating. Are you okay?

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  20. Hi ,

    It was my first time back on a horse after 30 years, and I didn’t feel confident, they didn’t gave me any instructions, we where with to many and the horse bit me…so I didn’t gave up but they’re instructions weren’t very good, I didn’t know what they mean by any of it I there lessons , so I fel off the horse , and my confidence in riding was totally gone … and know I am scared again, and I want to ride but with an instructor like you

  21. Hey Callie, Good One !!
    As you say, when you come off and are feeling now a little (or a lot) hesitant in remounting, time to think. Examine what happened, why it happened and where it happened, and most important be truthful with yourself. This will allow you to properly examine your feelings also, then you are in a better position to take the next step, whichever you choose.
    It seems that most of the time when a rider comes off it is human judgement at fault. Lack of training for either horse or rider, competence, knowledge or awareness of the surroundings/horse mood etc.
    Thanks your efforts in providing today’s riders with some thoughtful help. Your wise words are always on the spot !!

  22. My mare is the most beautiful gentle horse, and although I know that she would never deliberately hurt me, 18 months ago she stumbled on some uneven ground, and went down on her knees. When she came back up, she was bucking like a bronco, and I came off and broke my pelvis. Now I always have the thought, that at 60 years old, I might not survive another fall!

    1. Hi Lesley,
      I am 67 years old and understand your concerns. You certainly paid a big price when she stumbled, that would certainly make me feel unsafe too!
      However, I am surprised that she became so crazy when she got back up on her feet. I wonder what else was happening at the same time as the stumble, was she travelling fast or reacting to something exciting? The fall to her knees could have frightened her.
      Here is another thought – a friend who rides Western found when riding up a steep bank that at the top of the bank the angle of her saddle changed and the rear girth tightened on her horse and set off the fireworks too. If you were using a Western saddle it could be that in the action of getting back up the same thing happened and the really tight girth set her off bucking.
      I suspect that really reviewing what specifically happened might give you the answer for her behaviour. If that can be explained I would imaging it would make you feel much more safe on top and less worried about her falling again. Also you know, when we are fit due to riding and activity we are much stronger than we think. My first bone density test was at 60 and I was told I had the same density as a 30yr old – so take heart my dear.

      Another thing that might make you feel a lot more safe and strong is to have more riding sessions with a trainer, focusing on your seat, balance, strength and endurance. This will not only make you feel much more emotionally strong but will also improve your balance and reaction speed.
      I speak from the perspective of owning a 15hh Arab who stumbles often. I know why and work with him to minimise it. He has been on his knees at all paces and in all situations. Thank God for being a strong rider and I have a VERY deep Dressage Saddle with high cantle, pommel and leg panels. So far have not come off – but as we all say – there is always a first time.

      I hope my thoughts help, but you know your body best of all, so good luck with whatever path you take to go forward. Cheers, Lavinia

  23. It took me 6 months to get back riding after my fall. It gave me the time to heal and get back the confidence I needed. I have had 2 lessons now and thoroughly enjoying the riding!

  24. Thanks Callie You make so much sense .. I recently had an accident just putting a horse in a yard that was close.. not my horse and literally trampled me I have a bad injury to my lower leg that’s going to take time. Even though it was t a riding accident I am concerned already about getting back on my horse .. hoping time will heal my wounds both physically and mentally .. I do however have a wonderful trainer ..

    1. Anne, a similar incident happened to me when I was about 26 – a horse came at me purposefully to try and trample me(truly!), luckily the stable hand drove him off with a broom. It was terrifying and took several years to trust horses on the ground. Be patient with yourself, it may take a while to get back to normal.

  25. Great advice, thanks, Callie. ‘Getting back on’ is such a mantra that you internalise it whether or not someone is there with you. I once got back on after rapping my head on the ground, rode my horse, who was okay, got off, felt woozy and ill (as you described), then called an ambulance. Idiocy! Imagine if I’d passed out on the horse.

  26. Call it pandemic trauma, but after riding for a year and cantering well, I’ve suddenly developed a bit of anxiety in the canter. The fact that my 15-year old QH mare—a formal barrel racer—tends to dive in the corners when unbalanced, adds to my nervousness. We’re fine after a few of circles and deep breaths, but now I even get anxious when asking for canter. I just can’t seem to let go enough for a smooth transition. I’m frustrated with myself. Working with my trainer on ground work and building connection and trust with my girl (only had her for 3 months, but canter anxiety started about 5 months ago). When I ride her, we work at walk-trot transitions with circles and dressage. It’s rebuilding my confidence and I’m gaining a deeper understanding and trust of my horse on the ground. I’m 59 and don’t tolerate any pressure to get-back-on-the-horse, but man do I want this anxiety gone! I appreciate your videos; they are a fantastic supplement to my lessons and learning. Thank you, Callie!

  27. I bought an unregistered, well manored, calm, wonderful Quarter horse for my daughters and I in May. Since then, I have had 3 falls and a minimum of 2 broken bones at a time for all 6 months. I am exhaused of being inkured and in pain. Ive had to take several weeks off from riding, needless to say. The first fall I was physically unable to get back on. I was knocked unconscious, had a blackened face, a thumb broken in several places and severe soft tissue damage in most of my pelvic girdle. I was told the horse cross cantered and I lost my balance because I had an ill fitting saddle. I thought he bucked. The second time I fell I broke my middle and ring fingers the middle was crushed and I am still splinted and struggling with function, but I was otherwise uninjured, so I got back on….that time we were outside and he did buck, 3 times before I fell. The 3rd time was last week. The MD cleared my to ride again, even with my splinted fingers, and so I did. I troted successfully and my trainer was so pleased at how much more stable my seat was and how well I had followed advice. I cantered successfully, and my daughter (10) was so excited for me she yelled “YAY” and she threw her hands up (yes she knows better). Well he startled and I came right off. I was uninjured, and got back on and finished my lesson. Now I’d like to preface my dilemma, this self same horse allowed a PIGEON to land, walk around on, and take off from his POLE while my 10yr old sat bareback after just mounting from the block. He is an ANGEL with my children!!!! And not ONCE throughout all of this have I NOT been begging to be healed enough to get back on….until this last one. I have a lesson tomorrow, and I just dont want to ride. For the first time in my life….I dont want to ride. I FINALLY got my lifelong dream come true I OWN A HORSE!! And now I dont even want to ride him. I am devistated. I don’t know what to do…. I’ve had 2 trainers and a vet look at him. I can believe I’ve lost my will to ride.

    1. Hi Blythe, I’m really sorry to hear you are feeling that way. Has his behavior changed since you first got him?

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

      1. Since we rode him at the sell barn…but he has been like this since he came home. We moved him to a more structured board barn, not much different.

    2. Hi Blythe, Chin up – do not lose hope – lots to consider here that can help you.

      You mention you were riding in an “ill-fitting saddle”. Could this saddle be the source of the problem ? If this has been the saddle you have used all along it may be that with an adult’s weight rather than a child’s it is causing him a lot of pain. When a horse canters he lifts his spine to allow his legs to come underneath him. I had a similar problem with a horse of mine that would buck if asked to canter, it turned out he had slipped on ice and jammed up his back – his breast bone was 4 inches to the left ! An equine chiropractor identified the problem and then fixed it. On the other hand you do not explain how many times/hours riding you had been able to do before you fell off. There are a lot of alleys to go down with questions which should have been done with your trainer.
      – Is the horse young, does it need more training to make it balanced enough to carry the weight of an adult.
      – Is your riding skill developed enough to ride when a horse stumbles or bucks so that you keep your seat ?
      – Does the equipment fit the horse properly and also you ?
      Use your lesson to discuss the various possibilities with your trainer. The tendency of people is to give you encouragement but not necessarily all the facts you need to move forward – in case they offend you. In their kindness they often do not give you what is needed. A clear analysis of the state of your horse’s training, and even more important, of your skills, balance and strength.

      Do not rush to just get back on – discuss and plan your next steps. You can significantly improve your riding abilities by doing exercises on the ground designed to improve flexibility, co-ordination, strength and balance. All athletes do these types of exercise in order to keep their skills, the body goes downhill unless you keep it on the straight and narrow !!
      You will not be unhappy if you do that work – it will make you feel so much stronger and safe and allow you move more easily with your horse.Then you will also be able to make use of riding lessons to improve your skills
      Good Luck!

      1. The first fall was in the bad saddle the second was in a great saddle, fitted and everything. The chiropractor has been out, the ferrier is here every 6 weeks, the vet said he was amazing. The trainers (two different, and very different styles) both said they had little explination…I look balanced…but they both think I’m being to soft on him and he is being an opportunistic jerk. He knows I get nervous if he spooks or bucks so he takes advantage and does it. My daughter couldnt care less and makes him go forward, thats why she has no trouble they say….I was able to power through and get back on in a very controlled setting and we worked on me keeping more contact and not letting him “fuss” his way to a longer rein. I have been on once more, and worked on that again, as well as asking him to pay more attention to me and focus, and bending. I am very self deprecating about my riding, they say I’m way better than I give myself credit for…I have given them every opportunity to tell me if I’m screwing up. The third fall the trainer that witnessed said it just wasnt that big a spook, I had ridden a much worse on the week prior without a fall, she wasnt sure what happened. However, in retrospect I think it was me that threw my own balance off…I believe I threw my hands forward instead of pulling them into me and applying leg to push him back the other direction….I think this is just going to be a marathon when I thought it would be an easy jog he was soooooo easy at the sell barn…..I wish I was able to understand why that changed so rapidly!

        1. It certainly looks like you have tried to figure out what went wrong in the different “events”. Certainly there are very “astute” horses that figure out quickly what they can get away with and then take HUGE advantage of the crack they have found ! Sounds that those inches you gave him converted into multi-miles…
          When I get a horse screwing me around big time, I never lose my temper but it makes me even more determined to get my way. If the horse starts using his body to evade – (going sideways, dropping shoulder, bolting, bucking etc) I then react to prepare for a possible battle and likely very quickly.
          This means sitting BACK, keeping their head UP and using the reins firmly with them shortened as much as you can. With your weight back it will be much more difficult for the horse to swing or pull you out of the saddle. Keeping his head up stops him from really bucking as you are hollowing his back.
          This has developed over time for me and is now second nature. However I suspect you will pick this up quickly and if your horse suddenly finds our that you are quite capable of out-thinking him and keeping him under control he will likely realise the game is up and become your little pussy-cat.
          Oh and when you do sit back with your shoulders like I suggest you will find it feels really secure, which of course helps you deal with the little swine below ! Ha Ha
          TRUE GRIT ! and Good Luck….

          1. Thank you so much! That was a very encouraging message! I have, since, been working on posture, seat and a firm but correct hand and my breathing. As well as my foot and ankle positioning and not getting angry when I dont get my desired result, but asking firmly enough so he KNOWS I will get my way. I basically have tried to start ALL over from lesson 1. Lol! Its fine, it will make me a better rider in the end!

  28. One of my horses had a violent explosion as soon as I asked him to walk away from the mounting block. I brought him to a stop immediately as this was totally out of character and as I tried to get off he launched me off! I did not get back on as I knew this was very unusual behaviour. From that day on I always run thru checks with both my horses before I get on.

    1. Doing a thorough check through by a good grooming session is always a good idea!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  29. Yesterday I had just left my home and was walking down the road on my very spooky horse. Suddenly a carriage pulled by 4 horses came round the corner and my horse literally went insane with fear. I signalled the driver to stop but she continued to trot towards me. How I stayed on I will never know ~ but as soon as I could I dismounted. I’m 61 (and have been riding for 3 1/2 years) so I can’t afford to fall. My horse was shaking with fear so I certainly wasn’t going to mount him again! I turned for home and he had the day off!

    1. That sounds like it was quite a frightening experience for you both! I know many of the horses when they first come to our farm are occasionally concerned about the Amish buggies that go up and down the road. Glad you were able to stay on!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  30. At age 67 I was just recently bucked off my horse when asking for the canter. It was in a lesson, so fortunately my riding teacher was present. She not only did not encourage me to get back on, she very wisely wouldn’t allow it. Neither of us has any clue as to why he did that, but I now am not interested in cantering again. I already had neck problems, along with loss of equilibrium and dizziness, and this certainly didn’t help, I have ridden many times since, but only at a walk and trot, and I am trying to be at peace with this. One doesn’t bounce any more at age 67, and I am very hesitant to do anything that may make my pre-existing neck issue worse. It does upset me though that I am much more cautious mentally when riding even at a walk or trot.

    1. Becky, I’m really sorry to hear about your fall! Has he been checked out for any sign of physical discomfort? How recent was the fall?

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  31. Wonderful video! So much to say about being pressured and humiliated in so many lessons I’ve had. Thank you so much for your honesty.

    1. If you’ve felt pressured or humiliated I hope you’ve been able to find a new program!

      CRK Training Community Manager

  32. Have to share. This is not a proud moment for me but I learned something, humbly. I’d noticed my spare mare had been dragging her hind toes in the dry lot. I could see these “tracks” clearly in the dirt. I ignored it. (mistake #1) I stared riding her every other day about 6 week later (mistake #2). She was doing well- until she wasn’t. She was acting particularly spooky and just overall not herself on August 9th. Next thing I knew, she was moving backwards- backing up for no reason. Before I knew it, her hind quarters were giving out and I could feel her going down, and over on her left side. My left foot was caught underneath her. (I had on my sticky seat breeches for a little extra security b/c she can be unpredictable at times. Mistake? Unsure.) She was able to get up and I managed to hobble up and grab the reins before she ran off. My left food was throbbing- Oh I forgot to say that I had on my rubber muck shoes b/c I thought it would be ok. (BIG Mistake # 3.) I’m about a quarter mile from my house and knew there was no way I could walk it. I HAD to try to climb back on. This mare is 16 h and I’m 5’4″. I can mount her from the ground but typically use a mounting block to make it easier on both of us. Normally she stands quietly for me, but after what had just happened, how could I know what she would do? Well as we all know, we mount with our left foot in the stirrup and mine was throbbing so badly, I could hardly think. (And no, there was no one nearby for me to call, even tho I did have my phone with me.) I ended up letting the stirrup down to make it easier and mounted up. One thing I didn’t consider was that for about 4 seconds, 100% of my weight would be on that ONE FOOT, in that little metal stirrup. I winced agonizingly but she stood still for me, bless her heart. Even though my foot was killing me, I decided that I needed to ride her around a few trees and show her who’s boss before we headed home. (Not sure if this counts as mistake #4, but it served no purpose other than to delay my ability to elevate and ice my foot.) I rode her back to the barn sans stirrups and when I arrived, I slid off of her landing as gingerly as I could on one foot. I drug the saddle off her and threw it over the nearest rack and had to hobble about 15 yards to her turnout. Like the longest mile. I was almost hyper-ventilating from the pain in my foot. I wanted to crawl on my hands an knees to the house but didn’t want to ruin my good breeches on the dirt and gravel! I managed to get in the front door and at that point crawled to the fridge for an ice pack. In the end I ended up with 2 fractured metatarsals but the important thing is my mare. Why did she fall? Anyone have a guess? I am so mad at myself as this was preventable. As I was on the couch for the next 12 hrs I kept running it through my mind and it hit me. EPM. So I googled the symptoms and BOOM. Had blood tests and her markers were off-the-charts. Poor baby. Her stupid mother ignored the writing on the wall (in the dirt, in her case) and then decided it was a smart move to ride in rubber muck shoes. EPM is becoming more widespread where we live and new treatments have also been developed. She is on a regimen now and showing improvement . And though it’s stupid-expensive, I’ve put my other 2 horses on it as well. 1 was showing mild symptoms, the other is my beloved primary dressage mare that obviously has been exposed as they’re all turned out together. I’ve been out of the saddle for 6+ weeks. I managed to tack and mount on my primary mare Thursday and just had a 20 minute hack without stirrups as I have to keep the lovely black orthopedic boot on for a while yet. That’s a lot of costly mistakes for someone who’s knowledgeable and had horses most of my life.
    Don’t be like me. If your horse is not well, don’t ride. And for Pete’s sake, don’t ride in poor footwear!
    Thanks Callie.

    1. Katy, thanks for sharing your story! This is why we do usually advise that riders always make sure that the horse doesn’t have any physical discomfort that is causing their behaviors.

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  33. at 72 I am careful. helmet and protective vest. However if you are miles from home there isn’t always a choice to get home. I do try to ride with my neighbor when on those journeys! I do stick to the dirt roads when alone so if anything happens that someone will find me or run over me!! Above all let someone know you are going out alone and when you expect to be back.

  34. The cause of my fall was very easy to understand. I hadn’t tightened the girth enough. Duh, right? Put put my foot in the stirrup when I mounted. The saddle rotated down, I went flying one way, the horse went flying the other. I hit the ground *hard* but perfectly flat on my back so the impact was well distributed. Before I moved the first thing I did was see if my neck was OK. It was, so that was good. (A neck injury is my biggest fear.) I went to the ER. Nothing broken, but boy did I hurt. The physical therapist said she had never seen bruising that bad. It looked like I was wearing a purple girdle, all the way around. (I was impressed too!). Took two weeks off to heel, but had no trouble getting back on… after checking the girth once, twice, three times. A totally avoidable accident but a valuable reminder of a very basic precaution.

  35. Hi Callie,

    Yes, I was on a trail ride and we got off trail ended up in a situation where we were in thick brush trees etc. my horse was anxious and wasn’t listening well. So rather then continue trying to ride thru the thick brush i got off and we walked till we were back on trail, then i got back on. Worked out well , my horse had time to regroup and when i got back on he was ready to ride!

  36. I used to have a horse that bucket until I was thrown off. This is long ago, but it made me feel bad and unconfident. Later I sold this horse to someone younger and more skilled. I got a nice and easy new horse. But the fear of falling off never left. So now I have one old and secure horse, that I totally trust. And a new and younger one, that I feel I will use a long time to get to know. Also, this horse has some issues, not to do with handling but handling on ground (like putting the saddle on , being brushed etc) What is the smartest way to start for me to gain more confidence with new horse?

  37. As always, this is great advise! We get so taken in by what others tell us to do – or what we THINK others are telling us to do – that we make poor choices sometimes. I’m glad to hear someone finally pipe up and say we shouldn’t get back on the horse if we feel that we shouldn’t. I would add that it isn’t always about us, either. It can sometimes be about our horse!

    Since I began riding again (2015 to present), I’ve taken 3 really bad falls. The first two times the horse was in a panicked dead run. The first time, I fell and broke 3 ribs on the right side. The second time I fell on the left side, broke 3 ribs and spent 3 days in the hospital. The 3rd time, I was in the arena doing transitions. Zara was in a lope (canter). She stepped into some soft, deep soil which caused her to trip. Because she was going so fast, this caused her to fall on her head and she rolled onto my leg. She didn’t get up right away, which worried me, but when she finally did, I could see an abrasion above her left eye – and all the arena dust on her face and her ear. So I thought it best to see how she was doing and walked her around a little bit. Me – heck, I was fine. She was OK after a walk around the arena. Fortunately, I live just across the street from the arena, so I just walked her home. Cut my ride short, but, better safe that sorry.

  38. I had several bad falls – not on my present horse, and of course I was unable to get on. My current horse, who is normally very quiet and kind, gets very grass affected where we live in New Zealand. This can make her spooky, girthy – affect her back legs so she cant canter, and it gives her the head flicks. I have to check her ridability from day to day in spring and autumn (and yes – we are on all the toxin binders and minerals that are supposed to help! and I minimise her access to grass!). My checks are based on equitation science. I check that she has a stop and a go, and that I can move her back legs sideways. I check she will listen to my aids with additional girth-pressure, and I lunge her to check she is moving ok and not too ‘humpy’. I get on when all is well enough, but there are times when I do not get on.

  39. I had a really bad fall about 2 years ago, I sought out a trainer to get my seat back and then adopted an amazing horse! I have since also adopted another horse who is a bit more advanced! And big (17 hands!) There are days where I just don’t feel like we are connecting and I’ll get off. We end on a good note but there are days where he’s got alot of energy and I am not feeling 100% confident, we’ll do ground work and try again the next day!

    1. Great approach Katrina! Taking it day by day is a great way to handle the situation you described.

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  40. I just-reregistered for this coarse. Did not receive an email so
    I may not have completed my first registration correctly. Please don’t charge me twice.

    I really need this coarse. I’ve been falling off,y horse way too much for 68 years old. I hope it helps me to stay in the saddle and be confident. This is a dream I’ve has since I was a little girl.

  41. When I was 13 (I’m 58 now) I was thrown from a horse and tore my left foot off. My mother would never let me ride again. So many years have gone by and in my adult life I have had a horse or two that really were not very good horses for me. My first horse I bought as an adult was a mustang, ya we know how that turned out for me. Not a good confidence builder. I now have a great little mare. I bought her as a yearling and she is now 11. Everyone who rides thinks she is a dream. Me…… I am so nervous to lose another foot that I let it get in my way. Most of the time she is an absolute angel, I am blessed to have her, but if she even starts to act goofy I am a wreck. Wishing I had you to take lessons from. There is no opportunity here in our small community so I am just winging it.

    1. Hi Donna, thanks for your comment. I am so sorry to hear about your previous injury. I’m glad to hear that your horse now is better fit for you, I’d love to have you check out the Calm and Confident Rider program to help support you on this journey.

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

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