In this video, Paul talks about how physics affects the likelihood you’ll be thrown from your horse and injured.
How to Make It Less Likely You’ll be Thrown from Your Horse and Injured
Howdy folks. I’m Paul Sherland. Today, I’m going to talk about the physics of falling off your horse or getting thrown from it and hitting the ground. I’ll use a real incident with Mason from a few years back to explain.
Mason’s almost 25, has ring bone in one leg, and can’t be ridden anymore. So no mounted demonstration, but he’s here to help me tell the story.
It was a cool Saturday morning in October in Texas, right after a hot summer. I had only a little time to ride, so you might guess where this is going.
I figured I had half an hour, saddled Mason, and we went out along the pasture fence. Turned the corner, started trotting, and Mason’s head came up. That was a sign things might get wild, and maybe I should’ve warmed him up more.
I turned him in a tight circle to limit his bucking. He’d bucked me off once, two years before. He started crow hopping, a mild form of bucking. I was staying with him and pretty proud of myself.
I was holding onto the rope on the saddle, my handhold. Mason turned into my handhold, went around the circle, and back to the fence. He surprised me, cut hard back, and I came off him, hitting my side and head and sliding under the fence.
So why did I come off? What would Sir Isaac Newton say? One of Newton’s laws tells us that an object stays at rest or moves in a constant direction unless a force acts on it. My body was moving one way, Mason the other. I needed force to move with him and stay in the saddle. I weighed 35 pounds more then, so I needed more force to stay with him, and I didn’t.
People often think about their weight and the horse’s weight, thinking they shouldn’t exceed 20% of the horse’s weight with saddle and tack. I was below that 20% at the time. Mason was around 1,250 pounds. Still, my weight made it harder to generate enough force to move with him.
If he hadn’t been bucking, I might have managed. But I know I’m safer having lost the weight.
When I hit the ground, the force was a product of my weight and height. If you weigh more and get a bigger horse, you’ll hit with greater force if you fall.
As a younger, leaner person, I wouldn’t get injured if I fell. Now, with more weight, I might break ribs or get concussions.
Need motivation to lose weight? Think about safety. Shed a few pounds, and you’ll need less force to stay in the saddle and hit the ground with less force if you do fall.
Now, I wear a helmet when I ride, and a vest if I’m outside the ring. I want to ride as long as possible without injuries cutting that short.
I hope this has been helpful. Again, I’m Paul Sherland. And thank you, Mason. Good boy.