Let’s hear your tales of getting hurt NOT falling off!

Who else can relate -Monday evening I didn’t get hurt falling off a horse- I got hurt NOT falling off! Just as I was cueing a nice balanced canter depart, the new-to-me lesson horse spooked at something in the gloom. Instead of a balanced depart, I got a starting gate break to a gallop.
With the sudden full neck stretch. On a draft-TB cross.
Which yanked me halfway to his ears and halfway down his left shoulder.
I almost saved it, then looked up into his too close eye and realized, he’s freaked and we’re about to do a close pass to a jump standard (my) head first. So I decided the better part of valor was to hit the ground at a spot chosen by me, not the horse or the standard.

I landed flat out on my left side in the sand and got up with nothing smashed and my head already clearing thanks to my helmet, then…

Realized I’d pulled several groin muscles in my right leg, which had been the one fighting to keep me on the horse. I’ll have to miss next week’s lesson because there are three muscles back there still barking at me. No bruises at all from falling, but I can’t ride because of almost staying on!

I was told Monday after lesson that the instructor will be taking said scaredyhorse out for a tuneup this week, because he was trying to be a can’t stand still dingbat for me the whole lesson.

So who else has wound up on the disabled list without coming off or hitting any inanimate objects?

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I’ve been flipped over on twice. Once I ended up with a concussion (yes I had a helmet on but it was just above zero and the ground was frozen) and the second time I fractured my pelvis. These were different horses (I’ve started and ridden many ‘projects’) and the result of very different circumstances. I should add that I’m 57, coming 58 and still backing/starting youngstock - just a wee bit choosier in what I’m willing to take on as a ‘project’.

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…not falling off? I don’t understand, but it definitely sounds like.you got hurt, falling off?

To stick with the title, I got run over by a horse while I was on the ground, totally my fault, and he stepped on my face. Fractured cheekbone, severed nerve, TBI. Almost 20 years later, still have numb spots on my face and a twitch in my cheek when I blink.

At a horse show, the tack stall had a big hole in the doorway (dirt floor) and I was in a rush, stepped in it and fell, broke my ankle. Obviously in the days before people sued for their own stupidity and clumsiness.


Well, my most recent was a concussion while deciding to dismount during the mounting process…not sure if that counts! I was getting on the 18h youngster last year. He would occasionally have a panic attack when you were mounting. I thought we were past it…but no. I had a foot in the stirrup and was almost mid swing. I realize as he started to panic, that I could pull myself up, but then I would have to ride out an explosion/bolt. I opted to bail…but my foot was in good and when I managed to hop down…well, I was not where I expected to be relative to the ground, and had lots of momentum. I smacked the back of my head into the ground pretty hard. I did get on and ride after that as he actually came right back over to me. But I definitely was a bit concussed.

The worst one on a horse that didn’t involve the ground…I was riding a sale horse (not mine) for someone for a vet check. The horse was being a bit of a bugger and rooted really badly…I was determined to keep him looking like he was going around nicely…well he basically gave me a stinger/burner to the shoulder…totally messed up my brachial plexus. I ended up not being able to lift my arm the next day…now have some permanent sensory nerve damage on the left arm. It took a few years for me to get back decent function in that arm. I’m functional, and it finally stopped being painful…but it took a long time.

The worst not riding accident…loading a horse that was sold into the new owners tiny trailer. Horse was on, and someone reached around the back and touched her on the butt…she freaked and came through the escape door…we both landed in a heap on the outside of the escape door - me on the bottom. She got up and ran off…I got an ambulance ride as I couldn’t even roll over. I was so very lucky…we thought I had a broken pelvis and ankle…turned out as really bad contusions and a concussion. Spent the night in the trauma hospital. I had a seriously lopsided booty for a week…the one side was so swollen from where she landed on top of me. Then I ended up with a MRSA infection/abscess a week later where one of the larger bruised areas were…that required surgery.

But, we keep loving them anyway! LOL

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I chipped off a piece of my femur and some cartilage w my knee cap when I shoved my heels down on a bucking horse. I never came off. I had 60ccs of blood taken out of my knee and 6 months of rehab. They finally went in for orthroscopy when it kept swelling up. Low and behold there was an inch piece of bone and cartilage floating around. The MrI only showed a bruised knee cap.


I definitely tweaked my shoulder a few months ago when I realized, on my freshly off-the-track 4-year-old, that my girth wasn’t nearly as tight as it should’ve been. I spent a good couple of minutes dangling off the side of this very patient filly, stretching and straining everything muscle in my shoulder, before I resigned myself to fate and softly tumbled to the ground, at which point she finally spooked at me, as if to say “WTF are doing down there?!”


Was jumping a tiny cross-rail and as we took off something spooked my mare. In the process of staying on, I jammed my big toe on the cheese grater stirrup treads. I had “turf toe” and had to cushion my stirrup tread for quite awhile to ride.

Critter and the next few people understood my question - stayed on but injured something while doing so, with or without ultimately coming off after the damage is done.

I didn’t know I HAD one of the muscles I sprained in my butt!

Well, I hit the ground but I didn’t fall off my horse. My horse slipped and fell on pavement. He didn’t scramble, one end didn’t go down first, just instantly flat on his side with me still astride. It happened so fast that I did not know what had happened until I opened my eyes (must have reflexively closed them) and saw my one leg going up over what looked like a huge belly as the ground forced it all to one side. I pulled up the free leg, put my foot on the seat of the saddle and tried to pull my pinned leg out from under him. The searing pain said no, just wait until he gets up. It took a minute for him as he was as surprised as I was and probably had the wind knocked out of him as well. He finally got up and I tried to get up as well, but I had an arm and a leg that didn’t work. I sat on the ground for a minute, assessing my situation. No one else home and no phone on me (I now wear a cellular watch with fall detection). So, I had to get up, one armed and one legged on the same side. Try it. It is not easy. I was able to hop the 50’ or so to my phone and I was able to hit my husband’s saved number before I started going into shock. He sped the 30 minutes home, caught my horse and took me to the emergency room. A week in the hospital, three surgeries and seven months of physical therapy later I was back in the saddle. But, I am always quick to tell people that I did NOT fall off, hahaha.


Same here, was doing some training without using the reins in a round pen.
Horse was working great, so I got off to take the bridle off.
Being a certain age, had a mounting block there and was getting on from it when horse moved sideways.
Remember, no bridle, no behind in the saddle, no leg on, whoo!!! stopped the horse, but I was stretched between mounting block and horse’s back.
I pulled hard to get on and tore rotator cuff so bad eventually had to have surgery to repair it.
Was thinking, maybe letting go was better, but that also didn’t work so good, right?


I have permanent disc and nerve damage in my lower back from a bad jump while riding sidesaddle.

I started showing sidesaddle for a bit when I was 20; I really had no business doing so on my horse, who was a TB with over 100 starts and the world’s most uncomfortable gaits. He was a very good and classy horse, but his response to uncertainty was to run as fast as possible. I mean, it served him well for his first 11 years of life.

We were just schooling at home and got a bad distance coming into a line of tiny fences. When that would happen, his response was to get mad and pretend he was running the Grand National. As he took off and launched us over the next fence, I was whiplashed in the saddle like a rag doll.

The worst part was because I was so young, doctors wrote me off. They told me I was too young for serious back pain; take Advil and see a chiropractor. It wasn’t until I was 27 and still having problems that my new PCP referred me to a neurosurgeon who actually diagnosed and treated the issue.

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I some how broke my little finger (I do believe smashing it into my horse’s neck, but not really sure how) when my horse spooked a deer bounding across the trail in front of us one day while we were walking along a quiet trail.

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I sprained my ankle when my then 4yo spooked and levitated 10’ sideways. I didn’t fall off, not even close, but I jammed my ankle down so hard that I injured it. It was sore but wasn’t awful until a few hours later. I had been sitting at my desk, got up to go to the washroom and almost fell down, looked down and realized that my ankle was twice the size it should have been. I was a poor post-grad student at the time, so I wrapped it in a tail wrap and hobbled back and forth to class in my birkenstocks (in November…in Canada).

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I completely dislodged and froze my SI joint on a long haul(as in sitting in a truck for hours and hours) - crippled me for weeks. :joy: :joy: As a runner, it completely ruined a race I had coming up and had been training 9 months for. I only laugh because thinking about all the lost and ruined training won’t do anything. Luckily, not all was lost because I was able to slam down an amazing 50k right before that trip. Just trashed the marathon a month later.

I also shattered my foot after my horse slipped and fell down on me. technically I was still “on” her…lol…until she got up again. My foot was in the stirrup when she hit the ground causing the breakage.

Having failed in the group effort to find a missing thumb at a team roping practice, I almost broke my ankle when I forgot I was dropping from the the arena fence into the return chute, so the drop was further. I hobbled to a dropped tailgate, sat down, and passed out, banging my head on the truck bed. Thank god for a rubber mat liner!!

Our riding instructor was old military.
We rode without stirrups as much as with them.
Once he had me starting colts, he was adamant at any little thing that happens, first split second, stirrups get kicked off.
I was 14 and starting this wonderful four year old filly, the born broke kind you just get on and ride.
About the fifth ride, we were going for a trail ride with four other horses as baby sitters.
Leaving the riding center, just stepping out into the street, we turned and she slipped, her four feet went right out from under her and she slammed hard on her side.
I had kicked the stirrups off as trained, without thinking.
I was young and limber and barely had a bit of road rash from scrapes on the asphalt.
The stirrup on that side was folded in half, length wise, the bottom turned up.
Filly was a little dazed but ok.
She did develop a bump where the stirrup may have hit her belly.

Our instructor was watching us leave and he said, you see, that is why your feet need to be out of the stirrups when things happen.
For many years, he kept that bent stirrup on his desk as a paperweight. :upside_down_face:


Yeah…I guess that is one of the many perks of having a riding instructor and not just learning from your mistakes…not so pleasant learning experience. I was 13 at the time. Riding alone, which was not atypical. Horses at home, I had just gotten home from school and had jumped on to do some work before a show that weekend. How things change so quickly. As soon as we hit the ground, I knew I was in some trouble…back of the field, parents not home, my sister happened to be home from college but inside. Somehow the stars aligned and my sister had actually been watching from the kitchen and saw the horse go behind the barn…and never come back. My mom also pulled into the driveway at the same moment. Watched me go behind the barn…and then not come back. Before the age of common use cell phones… anywho…rambling because I’m bored. A lot went wrong that day, but a whole lot more somehow went right. My sister and mom got out to me rather quickly. A hospital that knew they didn’t know what the heck to do with the injury wouldn’t touch it, they sent me to a Doctor who was so patient and did an incredible job putting the mess back together in the middle of the night. I am forever thankful for his craftsmanship. I have multiple extra scars on my foot from pin placements that he ‘just wasn’t happy with’ - he could have been impatient and angry that it was the middle of the night and left them in where he had first put them, but instead he granted me the athletic future he had warned before surgery was probably over. (Since adulthood, I have made contact with him again to recognize and appreciate the work he did)

So yes, drop your stirrups people! haha. I do not ride with stirrups on first/early rides, and typically ride with just enough of my toe in to call it good now.

I’ve had multiple Drs and PAs look at my foot xrays (not related this injury) and just shake their heads - apparently, it still looks pretty bad. :woman_shrugging: It still works most days :slight_smile:

I got my nails done in October for a job interview - gel, very short, squared. Basically, enough to look polished without risking injury by having proper lady nails - which never last long at the barn.

Five days later I was riding in a lesson, when the horse tripped at the canter and went down. While I ultimately wasn’t hurt by the horse and we both popped right back up - I had a crop in my right hand. When I had tried to grab the reins and save ourselves halfway through the somersault, I had apparently ripped off my pinky nail entirely. It sure did look nice and manicured - flopping around in my glove. :nauseated_face:

It’s now March; I’ve had the new job since November, but my pinky nail just recently reached full length coming back. :joy:


oh no no no no… :nauseated_face: :face_vomiting:


When we were kids, my sister had a stirrup like that. From a 13h2" Connemara pony who had a snit fit on the one section of our road that was paved…

Back in the 70s I badly bruised my coxyx when the (lesson) horse’s idea of the take of spot was completely different from mine, and I got RELLY badly left.

More recently, I badly sprained my thumb when my horse spooked at a deer, and I jammed my thumb into his neck.