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When you are learning to rider, especially when you are learning to jump, you are told to “look where you want to go.” If you are looking at the jump you will land on the jump, if you look past the jump you will go over the jump. But reading an article on The Horse this week, this is also something you need to think about when it comes to falling off!
The body follows the eyes
Research by Landsafe Equestrian found that when riders fall off, their bodies tend to follow where there eyes are looking. This one piece of information could be enough to help prevent a serious injury. After all, when we find ourselves in trouble in the saddle, how many of us look down at our horses neck or feet while we try and right ourselves?
I know I am guilty of this! In fact when I injured my knee at camp a few years ago, I was belly down in the saddle with not many other options than to look down at Scottie.
Landsafe Equestrian believes that if you can train your reactions to look away from your horse when you are falling, you are less likely to end up underneath your horse and therefor less likely to get trampled! Reducing your risk of injury. Afterall, I’m sure we have all had people shout “look up” at us when we lose our balance in the saddle.
Why does this happen?
While there is no solid evidence why our bodies work like this, one logical solution could be the weight of our heads. Our heads are quite heavy and being positioned so far away from our center of gravity, a little movement can easily change our balance. So when it comes to falling, of course where our head is is going to affect how we fall.
Also, as much as we move our eyes look look at things, we move our heads too. Look Left! Did you just move your eyes? Or did you move your head and or shoulders too? By making the conscious decision to try and look up when we lose our balance and look away from our horse when we fall could be enough to keep us out of harms way.
3 tips for falling off safely
Don’t Hold On!
Firstly, as tempting as it can be to keep hold of the reins, let go! Not only can this stop you getting trampled, but it can also stop your horse’s mouth from getting injured.
Arms Not Hands First!
When we fall we instinctively put our hands out. But the amount of force going up our arms on impact can easily break wrists. Instead try to land on your forearms.
Land and Roll!
While falling try to tuck your chin into your chest and bring your hands up to protect your face. Bringing your knees up will make you a good shape for rolling and reduce the forces put on your body when you hit the ground.