16 AUGUST 2017 I HORSEillustrated.com
Beginning with a series of basic
gymnastics moves and culminating
in falls from a specially designed
mechanical horse, the eight-hour
basic program covers three aspects of
learning to fall.
BRACE: riders put their hands in
a position that will help them
start a roll when they contact the
LOOK: riders look outside the
dangerous circle of rotation—
where the eyes go, the body
ROLL: when riders meet the
ground, their hand and body
position initiates the roll that
protects their head and neck.
The Warringtons are teaching the
$325 two-day program across the
country, with a singular goal.
“We want to teach riders that they
can influence the outcome of the fall,”
says Warrington. “By exiting the dan-
gerous circle of rotation and preparing
the body to absorb and dissipate the energy of contacting the ground, riders can
reduce the possibility of injury.”
LandSafe training also affects students in an unexpected way.
“When students overcome their fear of falling and replace it with actions they
initiate, their overall confidence in riding soars,” says Warrington.
This, in turn, can help reduce the chances of a fall because riders now have a
plan, they can control their response, and they know what to expect. Fear of the
unknown is replaced with knowledge, which can lead to more effective riding.
After the Fall
Without placing blame, explore possible causes of the fall and lessons learned
that you can apply to your next ride.
While the actions that precede some falls happen so quickly and without
warning, other issues—like tack failures or environmental influences—can be
avoided or addressed. Learn what you can change or anticipate.
Make sure you take care of yourself. Address any medical concerns with your
doctor. Even if you walked away with just a bruise, you’ve still had a traumatic
incident. Go easy for a few days. Also consider making an appointment with your
chiropractor, if you use one. Meeting the ground can move joints out of alignment, and the sooner you address this, the better.
Next, make plans to ride soon. It’s true what they say about getting back on the
horse, literally and figuratively. If you find yourself over-faced and you’re dreading
or avoiding riding, talk with your trainer or a sports psychologist. Make arrangements to ride a different horse that you can trust to get you back in the saddle.
While we can’t eliminate the risk of falling, taking proactive steps puts us in control
of minimizing the risks and improving the outcomes. After all, while falling is an inevitable part of riding, we don’t have to become a member of the frequent flyer club.
Stay safe and enjoy the ride.
For more information on Wendy
Murdoch, visit www.wendymurdoch.
com. A revised edition of her book,
Simplify Your Riding, will be out this
fall. For LandSafe Reducing Rider Risk
clinic dates and locations, go to www.
The author, who thankfully hasn’t come off
a horse in a very long time, has come off a
concrete wall backwards. She credits her
ongoing practice of Aikido for more than 11
years with protecting her in that fall (and
others in the real world).
Riders put their
hands in a position
that will help them
start a roll when they
contact the ground.
start with supervised
tumbling moves on