Rafiki here - I'm laid up on box rest at the moment as my hocks (joints in back legs) are giving me grief with athritis, so Mr. Vet is a busy man taking photos of my hocks and coming to put something called "steroids" into them - Sid has been telling me that steroids will make me big and muscley - but I already am big and muscley!!
So anyway, I've been having a think about what I can add to the blog... and I've decided to do a piece on how to fall off! Us horses and ponies sometimes get a right old laugh at you lot lying on the ground when you're still meant to be on our backs, so we thought we'd give you some tips!
- TRY TO STAY ON. This may seem obvious, but its important! If you feel you are losing your balance, try to concentrate on relaxing as much as possible and finding the middle of the saddle - the taller you sit, the more chances you have of staying on!
- DON'T SCREAM OR SHOUT! If you are falling off - try to stay calm. The fall from trot is likely to be a nice gentle fall - if you start screaming you are likely to fall from a gallop - which hurts a lot. Us horses like nice calm people and if you suddenly scream you can frighten us.
- DON'T TRY TO HANG ON TO US - If you fall off - protect yourself. Us horses are very good at looking after ourselves and in the indoor school, once loose we will normally wander happily over to the instructor or another horse. If you try to hang on to our reins once you have fallen off, you can hurt your arm - or our mouth!
- ROLL OUT OF THE WAY - Don't try to use us to break your fall - we are moving machinery! We will continue moving and not notice you are in our way, so the best thing you can do is think about tucking yourself into a ball and rolling away.
- GET BACK ON - The saying really is true - you need to get back on the horse! Obviously if you have hurt yourself, this is not sensible, but in most cases where you are unhurt, getting back on quickly is the best thing to do if the instructor advises it.
- REMEMBER "THESE THINGS HAPPEN" - It is not anyones "fault" (particularly us horses!). Riding is a sport which involves you trying to learn to stay on us horses. This will inevitably result in you getting it wrong sometimes as you learn and parting company with us. It is the same as falling down skiing/missing a goal/playing a wrong note. It is even more difficult to learn to do as we are horses with a mind of our own!
Thats all for now.