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What To Do When Someone Falls
 By Winniefield Park   •   16th Mar 2017   •   1,240 views   •   0 comments
What To Do When Someone Falls


A lot of time, when we are learning to ride, we focus on what to do if we fall off. We learn skills like emergency stops and dismounts. And we learn how to roll away from the horse so we donít get stepped on. And of course, we start out learning about things like helmets and other gear that will help to protect us if we do hit the dirt. But itís equally important to know what to do if someone else falls off. We arenít always riding by ourselves, and when we are in a group, whether it's two or twenty, thereís always a possibility someone could come unseated.

There are really only two places we ride - in a ring or arena and out in a field or on the trail. So how we handle a situation where someone falls off may depend on where we are when it happens. We need to know the Ďsafety rulesí and our responsibilities in both situations.

In The Ring
When riding in an indoor arena or outdoor ring, you have a few responsibilities. First, you need to be aware of the riding skills of all the riders in the ring. I know it can be annoying when a beginner is riding a pokey school horse while you want to practice your trot-canter transitions. But, arena etiquette is essential when there is more than one horse being ridden. If someone takes an unscheduled dismount, then all other riders should dismount and keep their horses quiet and in control.

Related: The Perks of Being a Work Rider
Related: Horse Etiquette That Non-horsey People Will Never Understand

A horse that finds itself suddenly riderless can spook, spawning a chain reaction in all the others. This means if one rider comes off, another can soon follow. So, taking steps to make sure all horses are under control is important. As all the other riders are looking after their own horses, someone should be checking the rider and capturing the loose horse so it doesnít cause more havoc. This all needs to happen at more or less the same time.

Out And About
I think one of the most useful safety gadgets to carry when you are out riding is your cell phone. In the unlikely situation where either a rider or horse is badly hurt, prompt first-aid is important and dialing 911 is a lot faster than walking or riding a few miles to the nearest phone.

When a rider falls outside of the ring or arena the other riders need to do some quick thinking. Sometimes a rider will fall off, and the horse freezes. But, the horse may be just as likely to panic and bolt. In either case, all the other riders have to stay calm, and itís probably best if they dismount. If the horse freezes, it can be caught easily, while someone checks the rider. If the horse bolts, the other riders need to be careful to keep their own horses in hand. Sometimes a horse that bolts will return to all of the buddies it was being ridden with. But, itís also likely to head for home if it knows the way. And if it doesnít it could also get lost. If the horse seems to be lost, itís wise to contact police with a description of horse and tack.

In any situation, the safety of the riders is the most important thing. If you havenít already, take a first-aid course. Look after a fallen rider first, and secure all horses. And only if youíre sure the rider is okay, and all horses are in control should you continue on your ride.
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