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How to jump off a horse

And survive. Obviously.

How to jump off a horse
16 November 2010

It’s not just cowboys and jockeys who have to make unorthodox exits from speeding horses; we’ve all seen runaway mounts carry terrified tourists into the Spanish horizon. Our favourite stuntman, Riky Ash (, tells us how to detach ourselves from wannabe Shergars.

1. There’s no point jumping off a horse if you land on something worse. “Assuming you’ve tried crossing the reins, which is the resort to stop a horse, you need to get off,” says Ash. “First look to avoid trees, rocks, anything you don’t want to hit. If the horse is travelling at 25mph, so will you be. Take into account momentum.”

2. “Lets say you’re going to come off to the left,” he continues. “Take your right foot out of its stirrup, putting all your weight on your left foot, and tuck up into a ball. Your right foot will be on the saddle. Make sure you still have hold of the reins.”

3. The key is not to jump, but fall naturally. Ash explains: “Just let yourself go. Take your left foot out of the stirrup just before you fall, so that it doesn’t get caught, let go of the reins and tuck into a tight ball, protecting your head. And brace yourself for a hard bump!”

4. The instinct is to open up after impact, but Ash says this is bad idea. “Energy is thrown off a spherical object, so stay in a ball, still protecting your head, until you come to a complete stop. You may roll for quite some time.”