Dedicated to my friend DeeDee who fell recently and was injured…this is my get well message for you!
I’m horrified at the statistics. Years ago I researched some statistics with Flinders University as part of my job as the Spokeswoman for the WorkCover Authority, our Australian (NSW) Government body that researches accidents and incidents in the workplace, and creates a safer environment to get Mum and Dad safely back to their kids after their day’s work.
It’s getting WORSE folks. I can tell you, as a true authority in years HORSE RIDING COACHES ARE KILLING OUR RIDERS at a faster rate than ever before.
Why? BECAUSE THE COACH HAS NOT HAD THE TRAINING! And especially hasn’t had “survival training”.
In the Police and Military training, these are the priorities of the coach to teach the rider.
The coach must teach the pupil how to care for the horse. How to monitor heart rate, breathing, temperature, gum response, checking daily both for health, but to see if the heart rate is improving, especially recover rate, and therefore your horse is getting fitter. Have you EVER checked your horse’s heart rate? Your coach should have taught you (obviously not children, and obviously over a long period of time) how to roll over a cast horse – what ropes to use or not use that might kill you AND the horse, major trailering problems (horses laying down, emergency vet trailering etc), how to fix a horse stuck in a fence, to walk or not to walk a coliced horse, the HUGELY important sub clinical laminitic rings and stance, digital pulse, and of course now we know the HUGE danger of grains causing shying. If your client’s horse is shying…are you negligent leaving it on grain and not teaching your rider how to prevent shying FOREVER?
The coach must have up visible for all to see, on their websites, on the walls… the barn’s emergency plans for tornados, floods, fires, whatever is in your area ready and up. What if you’re in hospital? Who will clear your barn fully, in the minutes you might have.
Why don’t you know where you live?
GOD BLESS AMERICA! I love it here, but dear oh dear kiddiewinkles….YOU DO HAVE AN ADDRESS…yes you really do. You have an actual home. YOu have an actual street, and a town as well, and yep you guessed it…you even have a zip code. If I can’t find you when I come…HOW WILL THE AMBULANCE FIND YOU? For goodness sakes…go on google maps and REGISTER YOUR HOUSE so we can find you. Then instead of everyone on the planet complaining the minute they come in the door that they’ve waisted an hour following their GPS…it will TAKE THEM TO YOUR BUSINESS or home!!!! Yes…it’s called a satellite…and YES…you do have an address and NO it is not “turn left at the big tree in the paddock”.
Tripping and Rotational Falls – the most deadly fall of all for horse and rider
Your coach should have told you how to hold your body for a rotational fall. Your coach should have gone through all the causes of THE MOST DEADLY riding accident any horse, in any sport, at any time, could have. I KNOW your horse as tripped once…what if the next time is on a stick or a hole, or just trips for nothing…it’s not “will I stick on”…it’s “how can I help my horse up”….”will I stick on” is thinking first about you. “can I lift my horse with my correct position” is thinking about the horse.
Leading – sorry you’re just embarrasing!
Your coach should know the statistics, and know that you are 17 times more likely to be killed or injured leading your horse back from the lesson than on a cross country course. And TEACH YOU TO LEAD. I cannot believe there are horses with chains on their noses here. That is BEYOND EMBARRASSING that you’re such a rotten trainer. Send the horse to me, I’ll fix it, it will never have a chain again. A chain over the nose is an advertising sign for the ignorant and dangerous that haven’t trained their horse. THE MOST DEADLY PLACE is LEADING your horse, not RIDING your horse, and yet you lead with no gloves, no helmet and stirrups down. DEADLY. Come on coaches…pull your socks up! If you can’t handle that horse, sell it to someone who can. I can…GIVE IT TO ME!!!
Stopping shying – FOREVER!
Your coach should have told you how to prevent SHYING. OMG…I’m an old Aussie bush rider – full on “Man from Snowy River” style in the old days…and I’m putting my hand on the bible, literally (here in the hotel) right this minute to tell you….my horse will never ever ever ever ever, and I promise NEVER shy….I haven’t had any horse, anywhere in the world shy on me in 30 years. Not fireworks, cannons, parades, dressage judges (they’re scary, lol), plastic bags, fans suddenly standing and cheering en masse. On of the things in rehearsals is the colliseums and venues are empty, and often have those spring loaded seats that lift when you stand, and in the wrong arena it can sound like a gun shot…my horses, any horse, ever never ever moves an inch.WHY? Because I have the inside ear. I’m an old left over trick rider, vaulter, long time horse trainer, I’m not going to be hanging upside down on a horse unless I have the inside ear snapped back to me, and I mean YES MAAM snapped back in a salute listening ONLY to me..ONLY to me. If I relax the inside rein and let the inside ear forward that’s my choice, but when I say “inside ear please – listen”, that ear MUST come back instantly, or I will tweak the inside rein towards my belly, or I will turn, or I will fully breaker’s-turn-circle until I get that ear.The horse breakers don’t run around on straight lines with the ears forward. Breaker’s turns aren’t about the horse crossing over and losing speed…they are about getting the horse’s MIND…about getting the horse’s EAR.
I DO NOT AGREE with all this “let them look, let them sniff, let them touch”. YES…we do all that ON THE GROUND, and when we’re breaking, but once that horse is going…I AM THE LEADER. YOU LISTEN TO ME. IF I SA IT IS SAFE IT IS SAFE, LET’S GO. I don’t hear a single thing outside the arena, I don’t look I don’t hear, I just full on have my eyes on that ear to prevent shying at it’s worst, or lack of concentration at the least.
FUNNY STORY…….I’ve ridden with the “let them look at everything, sniff everything, touch everything, forever and ever, and let them look again and again and again and sniff again and again and again”. I’ve actually got a pairs demo on youtube when I laughed my head off inside, because the “let them look at them” person…ha…the speaker squeaks a tiny bit and the horse shied on top of mine, I had my horse in my right hand, her reins in my left hand, and my shoulder there to push her back on if she needed it. My horse didn’t move an inch. BECAUSE I HAD THE EAR.
You must know that judges mark ears forward down…(lost submission). Ears forward is shying already, it’s just you never fixed it. So fix it, and NEVER SHY AGAIN….just get the inside ear, turn, twist, cavorte, breaker’s turns, baby turns, indirect rein turns, direct rein turns, outside leg 3/4 of the way through the turn….all of these exercises are not what they seem…they are all to GET THE INSIDE EAR BACK!
And if you feed grain, pellets or sweet feed to a shying horse you’re a nutter, and it’s only a matter of time. STOP IT! Feed grass, or hay, or if the horse is skinny UNLIMITED chopped up hay in a HUGE hay feeder always filled to the top. Get a FULL BLOOD TEST (especially magnesium/calcium/zinc and the metals) before feeding any supplements.
Your coach should have told you why horses rear, when they rear, and how to stop a rear. (or send you to a specialist who can).
Bucking/kicking into canter
Your coach should have told you how to stop a buck/pigroot/kick out in canter. And, explained that EVERY TAIL SWISH is a buck (only a baby one), and EVERY TAIL SWISH will be marked down for baby-bucking….and should have explained why it’s often when you go into canter! And…fixed it in one lesson. And if they can’t fix it, get specialist help who can.
How to turn in all the different ways
Your coach should have taught you at least eight different was to turn, the advantages and the disadvantages, and which type of turning to use when.
Are you REALLY on the bit?
The coach should have explained the urgency of lifting the horse’s back and kissing spines, and that lifting the back IS on the bit. It’s not done with your hands…it’s pretty hard (impossible maybe???) to lift a horse’s back with your hands…and ON THE BIT IS A LIFTED BACK. No lifted back = not on the bit. That’s INTO the bit, not ONTO the bit.
Deathly seat & position
Your coach should have taught you to GET YOUR HEELS DOWN OR YOU WILL DIE. This toes out flopping all over the horse’s neck is a totally vain, totally egoic position designed to win ribbons and that’s it. It is not designed to look after the horse. It is not coming into a jump thinking “how do I sit to ensure true balance over the back feet, proper lifting of the spine, and not fall all over my horse’s neck and not offer him support. In other words…AM I PREPARED FOR A ROTATIONAL FALL. Or, am I willing to risk my horse’s life and flop all over his neck, heels up, and not be able to lift him out of a fall. Am I THAT desperate to win that I will just turn my toes out and flop on my horse’s neck KNOWING that rotational falls IN ALL HORSE SPORTS (even reining!) are hugely on the increase world-wide.
How to get help…
Yes I sound dramatic. But at the teacher training in Sydney two of our award-winning coaches Nerida and Ellen Winters brought the saddest photo to me to see. It was of a person, a child, jumping, who had died the weak before.
Her heels were up, her toes were out, and she was leaning on the horse. To think I go to sleep nights knowing if she had just had survival training, and prevention of rotational fall training, (which takes about 30 minutes!!!!) she would still be alive today.
Another one dead. More and more. Because I travel the world, I know this stuff…again and again, person after person…falling off head first, or not able to lift their horse from tripping/rotational fall. They never got the training. That’s why the have the KidSafe Program in the Society!
Meanwhile….we DO have all these things on our videos. This is not a sales pitch. For goodness, sake if you’re a charity or a club I’ll GIVE you the DVD’s for free for your library. It’s about SAVING LIVES, and stopping children being taught that laying over a horse’s neck, heels up, toes out, butt up will in any way look after their horse. It’s just a vanity of winning to ride like that…AND…OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING.
Imagine the mother of that girl in the newspaper in Sydney, Australia…her eventing child daughter DEAD. Just because her heels were up/toes out/leaning on neck – never ever taught how to protect the horse, only ever taught how to win. Is THAT what we are teaching our children. Win at all costs…even death? Will you be that mother looking at the photo saying “was it worth it”? Just a little bit of training could have stopped this.
Colleen’s controversial again.
Yep! And deliberately! I’m not going to stand by with all my qualifications and experience and let people die. Yes I’ll scream from the mountain tops to say this TOE OUT/HEEL UP/LEAN ON HAND position is disgraceful, wrong, dangerous, and risking children’s lives…and coaches just aren’t teaching this stuff.
Why hasn’t your coach demanded ALL of the above from you…I do, and I’m not alone. You don’t own a gold fish you own a horse. GO AND CARE FOR IT. If you are not checking the heart rate, respiration etc., then you are not caring for your horse as well as I know you can.
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