I know that right now you are wondering why I am talking about how to fall. We all think that you can only fall off a horse while we are riding it. But take my word for it, you should also learn to fall out of a carriage or cart when you are driving.
No one ever wants to fall off a horse or out of their carriage. We all know, that whenever you are playing with horses in any manner, there is always a chance that you can fall.
Have you ever been walking with your horse beside you on the way back to the barn and something startles him, and he jumps your way? The next thing you know you are sitting on the ground!
We all know that falling off your horse can and will happen at least once in your lifetime, if you are an avid rider!
Have you been driving your horse down a peaceful dirt road and suddenly that scary deer jumps out and your horse jumps sideways and turns back the other way, and your carriage cannot go under itself to do that U-turn, and the next thing you know you come rolling out of your carriage!
These are all real possibilities, that can and will happen! So why not learn how to fall properly, so when that time comes, you are prepared to receive the least amount of trauma as possible!
You are probably thinking that falling out of a cart or carriage is different than falling off a horse, but it isn’t. No matter how or when you fall you still need to know how to fall properly.
Quite a few years ago, I was able to do a clinic with Gawani Pony Boy, where I was able to learn how to fall. Since that clinic I have had one time when I had to bail off a horse I was riding. I have used his technique and I came away with no injuries at all.
I have also used his technique for falling when my carriage tipped in an obstacle while competing in New Jersey.
So, what is the best way to fall!
To start with, you need to realize that jumping from a moving cart should not be your first choice of what to do. Horses can run from 14 mph to 43 mph. Most horses can only do this for a short period of time, but even at a trot they can go 8 mph to 12 mph. If your think about deliberately jumping out of a carriage, leave it to the stuntmen!
There are times however, as when my carriage tipped, that one has no choice but to fall out so knowing how, is a good thing.
When you realize that you are going to come out of your carriage you need to try and stay as relaxed as possible. Do not try to use your arms to stop yourself from hitting the ground. Arms straight out will not stop the weight of the rest of your body without breaking. You want to become like a rolling ball.
First thing you do, is to hug yourself with your arms as you feel yourself starting to roll out of the carriage. Start to bend your left knee if your coming out the left side of your carriage and push away from the carriage, as you do, you will feel your left hip following your left knee, and then your left buttock to the ground. When your left buttock is on the ground you want to roll over onto your right butt cheek. This will keep you further away from the rolling carriage. You will then continue your roll with your right shoulder. By this time, your momentum will have slowed down, and you will be sitting there wondering what just happened.
Remember to let go of the reins or you will be dragged!
Practice falling and rolling at home on a nice soft carpet. You can also place pillows on the left side to even give you a safer place to land while practicing. Seat yourself on a dinner chair in the middle of the carpet. Now hug yourself and proceed to lean to the left as if you are rolling out of your carriage. As you start to go down, bend your left knee and push with your foot and knee away from the chair. Your hip follows and your left buttock gets to the floor, transfer your weight to your right buttock and roll onto your right shoulder.
As with any new skill you are trying to learn, start slow, have someone with you if that makes you more comfortable. Remember, this is a learning process and once your muscles and your brain learn the routine it will still come naturally when you need it. Once you have learned how to fall to your left, then practice the same routine to the right.
Just like driving your car, you run through your mind all the scenarios needed if a deer runs out in front of you, or you’re hit from behind by another car. If you do the same with falling from your carriage, it will come to you naturally. You always need a plan just in case the unexpected happens.
Remember, that in 99% of all falls, you do not land on your feet, so be prepared to hug and roll.