Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why I hang onto the reins after an unscheduled dismount...

Today was a beautiful day for a ride! The Hags On Nags had a group ride and chili dump today and I decided to join them. I brought Remington because the trails at this particular park were rocky and my Appaloosa mare's feet won't hold up to them without shoes. Remington's feet, on the other hand, are rock hard and will stand up to just about anything.

I figured he'd be okay, I knew it would be a large group, but he was fine with the group of seven two weeks ago. He really was good, a little nervous at the start but then he quickly settled in. About halfway through after everyone had commented on how calm he is for a three-year-old things got a little western. Something gave Rem a good spook, which launched me forward, which spooked Rem more causing a bucking fit.

I don't think I made 8 seconds... It was more like 2 big bucks and I was unseated leaning much too far forward on his neck. At that point I knew I was going to bite it so I tried to land on my feet but it didn't work out that way. I wound up on my side with the reins still in my hand. Rem was careful not to step on me because I was quite near his feet but he was still spooked so he flew backwards and I still held on. This caused one side of my reins to snap and he wasn't done moving back, and I was still on the ground. One more tug and my reins were history. I got up and caught Rem after he took a few confused steps around. He was fine and so was I.

From the time I hit the ground to the time my reins snapped my worried onlookers were urging me to let go of the reins. I know they were only concerned for our safety, but I have a strict rule that I follow when I am launched from my horse. If I can hold onto my reins, I will.

For two reasons:

Reason number 1: I am a RIDER not a WALKER. I am not one to simply let my horse loose when I am miles from home/the truck and trailer/where ever. Luckily for me Rem decided to stick around after the reins broke, but I know people who weren't so fortunate to have such a "loyal" horse. I know most horses, when presented with the opportunity to stick around and eat grass or high tail it down the trail, will choose the more tasty option, but I'll take my chances and choose rope burn over walking any day.

Reason number 2: Lesson learned: Launching Jessie = No fun. Yes horse, if you're going to throw me to the ground I will prove to you what a wonderful anchor I make. It probably smarts a bit when you have a bit in your mouth and you try to drag off (insert large number) pounds.

Now I understand there are circumstances that are out of our control in these situations and one cannot always keep hold of the reins, but I like to try. I also understand that it's not always the horse's fault so causing pain by hanging onto the reins isn't quite fair in every situation, however, if you've got a good horse they should hit the end of those reins and slam on the brakes, which is what I hope Rem will do if ever presented with this situation again.

I was able to tie my reins back to my bit and finish a nice ride, with nothing but a little rope burn and some hurt pride. Rem was as calm as can be, like nothing happened... silly mustangs.

So what do you all think? When you take a header into the dirt do you hold onto your horse or pitch the reins away and worry about landing safely?

9 comments:

Jessica Schmitt said...

Hold on for sure!!! Nice job Jess sorry I wasn't there to see the action!!! Glad you are ok though!!

Tracey said...

Sorry about the launch, Jessie!

I, too, am a hanger onner! My folks told me to hang on way back when I had a bratty little pony who'd often dump me and take off. Maybe it was my parents who didn't like to do the walking, come to think of it...

But it became a habit, and one that I hung onto (literally) for years. Thankfully I've not really had much opportunity to see if my hands clench up these days. I'm more concerned at my age of breaking bones than whether I'm going to walk or ride :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm glad you are both okay. I'm thinking it is best to hang on if you can. A scared, loose horse could hurt himself and others. If you did let go and he tried to run, maybe someone else on horseback could have caught him, but a bird (rein) in the hand is as good as...

Mrs Mom said...

Yep, I too am a "hanger". My recent unplanned dismount (*ahem*- I didnt tell anyone yet...) had me still recalling at least THAT habit! ;)

Jess, thanks for popping in and leaving a comment! It seems like 90% of the time, the rope trick works WONDERS.. but every now and then you will run across a big horse who just will have NONE of it, and only get worse. Then its time to get REAL creative with them! I love making the wrong thing hard- right thing easy, and so far (knock wood) it has worked wonders.

Glad that you two are safe, and I sincerely hope NO MORE UNPLANNED PARTING OF THE WAYS!!!!

jemsfriend said...

I always hang on, and I have had a lot of unscheduled dismounts. It helps break the fall. Good Job Jess. I plan on taking my 3 year old next weekend for a SWAHA ride. I will try and stay on.

Shannon Smith said...

I am pretty sure I have hung on when launched. The only time I don't think I did when I did a rollback with Comet and ended up with a ride in the ambulance and a minor concussion(Yes i was wearing a helmet). Other than that I agree with Reason #2.

Linda Reznicek said...

I definitely hold onto the reins--it's instinct for me. I've had it happen similar, but I was lucky to have landed on my feet, reins in hand. Too much can go wrong if they unseat you and take off--barbed wire, broken legs and on and on. So, for the safety the horse, I say, hold on tight.

Jessie said...

Thanks for all the great feedback and support everyone!

Glad to see you all like to hang on for dear life!

ell said...

I always hang on too, though I have no real reason--I think it's just reflex. I've been dragged in the dirt and gotten road rash on my back before being able to think clearly enough to un grip the riens! But your logic makes sense. Glad you wern't hurt!!