How to Not Fall Off a Horse

Anyone who rides is bound to fall off at one point... however, there are many things you can do to help prevent a fall. If you follow these steps the probability of a potentially dangerous fall will be greatly decreased. Happy trails!


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    Squeeze the saddle with your thighs. This will help you keep yourself on the saddle and you will be able to stay balanced.
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    Put your heels down and keep the stirrup on the ball of your feet. This way if the horse spooks and you DO fall, your foot is less likely to go through the stirrup and you are less likely to get dragged.
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    Keep your reigns short enough. All so you can feel the horses mouth on the other side-- not to the point where you're choking it... You will keep them short while trotting, cantering, galloping, jumping, ect. (Hopefully you weren't walking and fell off....)
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    Watch where you are going. If you bump into anything, the horse might spook and bolt. So keep a close look out for thinks you could hit.
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    Sit up straight. You want your belly button, to be in line with the front of the saddle, and the back, so you don't put the horse off balance.
    • If your horse takes off or goes too fast SIT BACK! Lean back and steer your horse in circles-- big at first, then smaller, and smaller, and smaller. Some people try to run their horses into fences to stop them. DON'T do that! Your horse is likely to slam on the breaks (sending you flying over his neck) or swerve (sending you over the edge). By leaning back you slow your horse gradually until he's under control. Don't turn him in too tight circles so he doesn't trip. If this doesn't work, you can half halt, or pull your hands back to your waist(not up), and slowly say in a deep tone, 'Whoa'. This can get them into a slower gait and or stop them completely in a timely manner.
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    Stay calm. If your horse seems spooky stay calm. Don't get nervous. Horses can sense how we feel, so if you are nervous so is your horse. If your horse DOES spook, remain calm. Don't scream or panic. 'Whoa' or 'Shh' in a very soothing voice. It will calm you AND your horse. If there is a potentially scary object ahead, start to turn your horse away from it and start heading in another direction. Make them concentrate on you and the reigns opposed to the scary thing and your horse will eventually calm down.
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    If you lost your stirrup you have two choices. Either stop your horse and regain your stirrup OR do an emergency dismount if needed. DO NOT search for your stirrup while going at a fast gait, this will only handicap your ability to squeeze with your legs to hold on.
    • If they buck. Disengage their hindquarters, this is done by sharply pulling the reins to the left or the right and having its nose to your leg. This only allows them to move in a tight circle. You can also scrunch the reins, doing so by gathering the reins in one hand, and using the other to move along the reins, creating a tight 'scrunch' around the horses neck, this triggers a vertebrae in the horses neck, making them unable to buck.
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    Rearing. A horse usually backs up before he rears, so if he's been acting frustrated or is known for rearing and starts backing up-- kick him forward! If he does rear, DO NOT pull the reigns; that could potentially make the horse topple over and land with all weight on you. Put all your weight forward and the most accurate result is no fall.
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    Take action. If you are around another horse who is bolting, bucking, rearing, or is just plain out flipping out, stay a good lengths away, but if possible, try to help get the horse under control before it hurts itself, another horse, or a person.


  • Make sure that the horses head is always looking forward as well so it knows what it is coming up to like for example a jump or a halt sign.
  • When you want your horse to stop sometimes you could try pulling the reins a bit and say, "Whoa" in a sort of a smooth deep voice
  • Whenever you also go near a horse don't make quick motions, go slow with things, and be easy on it. If its ears pin back, just back off a little, that is a pretty clear sign that it's either irritated, or angry in a sort of way.
  • If your horse spooks and it gets bad, emergency dismount. Meaning, even if he or she is still moving, slip your feet out of the stirrups, lean over the saddle, and swing over. Bend your knees for the 'cushion' effect. Your horse will most likely bolt for a while longer, but when someone gets a hold of him or her, calmly walk up, and talk quietly. Give soothing notions, as of, kissing it's muzzle (keep in mind not all horses like to be kissed, and they may act worse), resting your forehead on the bridge of it's muzzle, and stroke it's flanks. If needed, take it back into the barn and untack it, groom it, and take it to it's stall or the paddock it goes to.


  • Make sure that the horse is comfortable with it's tack, that it's not too tight or too loose. That's one problem why people fall, or are bucked off.
  • Don't force a horse to do anything. If it refuses a jump, slowly walk it in a circle around the ring before trying again.
  • If a horse gets injured, quickly come and have a veterinarian examine it. Don't wait a long time, especially don't try to keep riding it.
  • Watch for the signs that horses can give you, some of which being ear motions or lip motions, yes lip motions, being so, if a horse curls it's lip, it could be good or bad, just try to watch for ear signals as well though.

Things You'll Need

  • For yourself
  • Helmet
  • Long pants(western)/Breeches(english)
  • Boots with a flat soul and heel
  • Gloves
  • Body protector
  • Half chaps (english)
  • Riding socks (They are rather thin, and are more silky, you can find them at horse stores western and english.)
  • Hairnet (english riding)
  • Spurs (english/western)
  • Crop (english)
  • Chaps/Chinks (Western)
  • For the Horse
  • Saddle
  • Horseshoes
  • Boots
  • Girth
  • Saddle pad
  • Half pad
  • Stirrups
  • Stirrup leathers
  • Halter
  • Lead rope
  • Breast collar (western)
  • Reins

Article Info

Categories: Riding