如何学会坠马

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华天分享 - 作为初学者,从技术和心态上应该如何应对坠马。

致初学者:
大家好,今天要处理的问题,很多人都有顾虑,它不仅对于骑马是个重要话题,对人生也如是,那就是:坠马。事实上,马是种难以捉摸的动物,一个赛过一个的难以捉摸 - 无论是一匹安全系数很高的教学马,还是一匹刚刚2岁而安全系数较低的赛马,他们在某些方面都一样,都有自己的动机、情绪和性格,而且在数千年的进化中,形成了极度敏感的避险直觉。他们都是被捕食类动物。
而骑马确实有风险,这点我们都明白。但失去了这些性格、特质、和难以捉摸的特性,骑马就没了乐趣。所以我们需要平衡风险带来的乐趣。
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可惜作为骑士,我们没办法不去正视坠马这个话题。为了帮助你学会接受它,今天我会通过以下几点具体阐述:
a. 如何避免坠马;
b. 一旦在马背上坐不住了,应当如何坠马;
c. 坠马后伤到自己怎么处理;
d. 最后,在心态和心理上如何应对坠马!

坠马是个很大的话题,处理方式会因骑士的经验和马术项目的不同,做出不同的反应。所以我今天将要着重展开的,是作为初学者,如何应对坠马。
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG

在开始分享前,要先明确几个要点:
第一个要点,就是区别看待儿童初学者和成人初学者。我们都知道,孩子的大脑接收讯息像海绵吸水一样,初生牛犊不怕虎。就像我们在马术圈里常说的 - 孩子们比成人更有弹性! 而成人初学者完全是两码事。
成人初学者对于坠马和受伤的恐惧感,更加根深蒂固,更难忽视。因此,成人找到平衡感的过程,要比初学马术的孩子慢许多。话虽如此,对于很多成人初学者来说,克服本能恐惧感的艰难,很快会被与这种美丽、充满力量、慷慨的动物建立伙伴关系的美妙所取代。

第二个要点,是马术俱乐部和教练的责任感。尽管刚才讲过,运动马或小Pony常常做出难以捉摸的事情 - 我们也没法改变它 - 但很多风险都应该且能够被受过良好培训、经验丰富的教练正确地处理 - 我觉得最好是有英国马会(BHS)认证资格的教练。
作为初学者,一切都需要依靠教练 - 确保你选择的马匹性情良好,检查你身上的装备是否安全合身,并清楚一旦发生坠马应当如何处理。每位教练都应当接受过急救培训,即使是BHS初级认证教练也应该学习过相关课程。所以,一定要确保你的教练有从业资格!
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG

好吧,咱们就先从如何避免坠马讲起:
TIP 1:专注于你的平衡感和节奏,而不是速度和掌控。作为初学者,有太多的事情需要同时思考,你的平衡、坐姿、方向、速度、听教练的指导,还不能忘了正常呼吸!教练会为你选择一匹温顺、安全的马,试着去相信你的这匹马。感觉不对的时候,先别惊慌于控马,保持平衡才是关键。很多骑士(包括经验丰富的骑士)觉得情况失控时,第一反应都是如何“夺回控制权”让马停住,而没去想平衡和坐稳马背。优先思考平衡并不是惯性的条件反射,你的身体可能会做出其它反应。最开始的几个鞍时,当你还在与马找感觉的时候,当你本来就还没学会控马的时候,试着反复给大脑灌输:先掌握平衡,先掌握平衡,先掌握平衡。一旦发生失衡的状况时,脑子里第一反应是先掌握平衡,确保自己坐在马鞍中间的位置,然后才去想如何把控制权拿回来。

TIP 2:前几个鞍时靠抓安全绳来保持平衡并不傻。对于马来说,借助这些辅助工具来保持平衡,比拉扯链接他们嘴部的缰绳更友善。
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG

当你尝试了以上的所有方法,却依旧失去平衡,像我们常说的"你看着地面向你袭来“,该怎么办!
TIP 3:坠马的秘诀就是滚开。从概率上来讲,骑马移动速度越慢,受重伤的可能性越高。移动速度越慢,大脑就有更多时间思考,身体有更多的时间绷紧,摔下来时惯性就更小,也就更难滚动起来。马跑得越快,留给你思考的时间越少,身体来不及绷紧,摔下来时惯性越大,滚动的可能性就越大。所以第三点,就是滚开、滚开、滚开。即使常常不由自主,也不要尝试双脚着陆;更不要伸出手去支撑身体!记得:着陆滚开、着陆滚开。
其实我最惨痛的坠马经历之一 - 我一直记得很清楚 - 因为太蠢了 - 是我想骑上一匹很年轻的马时,被他甩下来了。当时我直接被摔在原地,嘭的一下!屁股着地,硌在裤子后口袋的钱包上。我的天!整整一周,我的腿都完全完全废掉了。还能骑马,但没法走路,超级痛!

TIP 4:坠马时绝对不要抓缰绳。放开缰绳,让马跑开,之后可以再去把他抓回来!坠马时还不放开缰绳,会发生很多糟糕的事情。就想着,superman,摔下来,着陆滚开,着陆滚开。这就是应对坠马的第三点和第四点。
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG
一旦摔到地上,身体和大脑会开始处理不同的信息。首先大脑一下子懵了,接着开始处理惊吓、害怕的情绪,担心受伤、有些失望。其次是肾上腺素,身体对于危险做出本能反应,像打架前或躲避追踪时一样 - 心脏开始像短跑冲刺时一样狂跳。最后,你才会感觉到摔下马时带来的疼痛!

作为初学者,这时必须听教练的话,他们接受过急救培训,也有这方面的经验。教练应该立刻评估你的伤势,再判定你是否还可以回到马背上。最重要的是你的头部、脖子、和后背 - 如果这些部位有问题,就不要上马了。其它严重的伤一般都会疼的比较明显,你应该能感觉到,这种情况也不要上马了。
但如果只是把屁股摔青了(坠马大多数情况如此),那一定要试着重回马背,继续上课。能做到这一点,对于之后的训练、自信心的建立都很重要。给自己几秒钟,找回呼吸节奏,调整思绪。然后借着肾上腺素的刺激,抛开本能的恐惧,回到马背上去!
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG

最后,在心态和心理上如何应对坠马?
要回答这个问题,确实很困难也很复杂。这很大程度上取决于你的性格、年纪、有多想学会骑马、你的教练和马能带给你多少信心(或是没能给你信心),以及很多人忽视或没想到的一点:你所在的马术俱乐部的俱乐部文化,他们对坠马的态度。
我很幸运可以在很小的年纪开始骑马,也就意味着我很小就开始经历坠马。我一直记得,第一次坠马时妈妈说过的话:要想成为一名真正的骑士,就要经历七次坠马。现在想想,这种安抚方式即巧妙又有趣,处理好孩子坠马后的恐惧和失望,非常有效又很实用。的确也是如此,在我数次坠马后,我学会了某种程度上应对震惊和惊吓的能力,学会了管理坠马后的恐惧,也学会了掸去身上的灰尘,重新站起来,重新回到马背上,开始训练。
更幸运的是,那时我可以和一群好朋友学习骑马,在一个非常好的俱乐部,对坠马抱持很健康的态度。在那里,坠马被当成骑马“乐趣”的一部分,而不是件值得害怕的事。作为8-10岁的小孩子(不再需要教练用调教绳时),我和我的朋友们有段时间,愚蠢地觉得从马上摔下来很好笑,我还记得当时的教练John,要费好大劲才能让我们好好坐在马背上。
以我的经验来看,无论是马术俱乐部还是家长,都需要找到那个重要的平衡点。一边是“危险行为”和“不负责任” - 比如让学生在没有穿戴符合规格的安全装备下骑马,另一边则是“超害怕学生坠马”导致谁都无法在骑马中找到快乐、取得进步。
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图片版权:akplus 2019 | 摄影师:HONG

坠马后有勇气、决心、和韧性重新回到马背上,这个过程本身给自我带来的价值和技能是无法估量的。在生活中同样具有借鉴意义。想要学会如何重新开始,我们先要学会如何摔倒。

华天
2020.12



以下为华天Vlog内容原文

To beginners:

Hi guys, so today I am going to tackle a subject that many of you have asked about but also a topic that is fundamental to not only riding a horse but I believe to life as well: Falling off. The simple fact is that horses are unpredictable animals - obviously some horses more than others -you might have a riding school pony on the safe side of the spectrum, and a two-year-old racehorse on the unsafe side of the spectrum. But the simple fact is all of these horses have the same things in common, they all have their own agenda, they have their own emotions, their own personality, and they have all evolved over thousands of years to have a highly tuned flight instinct. They are prey animals.

However, you know, there are always risks with riding a horse, we understand that. But without horses' personality, individual, characters, and unpredictability, there simply wouldn’t be any joy in riding. So we have to balance the risks with the joy.

Sadly as riders we can't avoid falling off forever, so to help you learn to live with it, I am going to run through today a few tips:

a. To stay on;
b. If you can't stay on you are definitely going to fall off - how to fall off - there are some techniques;
c. If you fall off and hurt yourself what to do;
d. Finally, I think the most important part is how to deal with falling off! You know the mental and phycological part of it.

This is a huge topic and has important differences for riders of different experience and of different disciplines, so today I am just going to focus on the specific from the beginner's perspective.

So before I get onto my key tips, I have a couple of really important points to make:

The first important point is the difference between child beginners and adult beginners. As we all know, children’s brains soak up information like a sponge, children have no fear and as we say in the horse world - children bounce much better than adults! Learning to ride as an adult is a different kettle of fish.

For adults learning to ride for the first time, that fear of falling and hurting is far more ingrained and difficult to ignore. Because of this, adults pick up their balance and their feel far slower than child beginners. Having said that, for many many riders who learnt to ride as adults, the difficulty in overcoming that initial fear is very quickly replaced by the total wonder of being in a partnership with these beautiful, powerful and generous animals.

The second important point is the responsibility of your instructor or riding school. Of course, as I mentioned before, a pony or a horse could do something totally unpredictable - this can't be helped - but, many of the risks can be and should be well managed by a knowledgeable and well-trained instructor - in my opinion, in an ideal world a BHS trained instructor.

As a beginner, you rely on your instructor for everything - ensuring that your horse or pony is a suitable temperament, checking that your equipment is a safe and suitable type, even knowing what to do if and when you do fall off. It’s in my opinion that every instructor absolutely must have their first aid course qualification, and BHS instructors have to have theirs even at their first level of qualification. So check your instructor’s qualification!

So, let’s start on some tips on not falling off:

Tip 1: Concentrate on balance and timing, not on speed and control. As beginners, you will have so many things to think about: balance, position, direction, speed, listening to your instructor, even just breathing! Your instructor will have given you a safe and placid horse. So try to trust your horse. And not panic about control, and prioritise your balance. So many riders, not only beginners but more experienced riders as well,when they feel that they are out of control, their first instinct is to get back control to stop, rather than to think about their balance and just staying on. So even though it's constrained due to your body will be telling you to do a different thing. In your first few lessons when you're starting to get a feeling for the horse and the fact that you are never totally in control, try and tell yourself to think about balance first, balance first, balance first. In those moments where you feel a little bit out of control, think about your balance first, make sure you are in the middle of the saddle, and then think about getting your control back.

Tip 2: Don’t feel foolish or stupid about using your neck strap or your pommel strap to help you keep your balance in the first few lessons. It’s much kinder to use these tools than it is to pull your reins or to use the horse's mouth to help you keep your balance!

So you’ve tried all of that, you have lost control and balance, and as we say in the sport "you can see the floor coming up to meet you". Now what do you do!

Well, the secret to falling off is rolling. Statistically, the slower you are moving on your horse, the higher the chance you have seriously hurting yourself. The slower you move, the more time your brain has to think about it, the more time your body has to tense, and the less sideways momentum you have so the less chance you have to roll. The faster you go, the less time your brain has to think about it, the less time your body has to tense, and the faster you are moving sideways, so the higher chance you have to roll. So tip three is roll roll roll. Try not to land straight on your feet, even though it's tempting to do so; and try not to land with your hands out in front of you. Think, land and roll, land and roll.

In fact, one of my most painful falls I have ever had - and I will always remember it because it was just so stupid - was I fell off a young horse trying to get on it, it bugs me off. And I landed straight in the same spot, boom! Straight onto my bum and I had my wallet in my back pocket. And oh my god! I had a totally, totally dead backside of the leg for a week. I could ride, but I couldn’t walk. So painful!

Tip 4, don’t ever try and hold onto the reigns when you fall off, let go, let go of the horse. You will always be able to catch it. And there are so many terrible things that can happen if you hold onto the reign. So just think, superman, fall off, land and roll, land and roll. That’s tip three and four.

Now once you have hit the floor, your body and brain will be dealing with many different things. First of all, is the mental shock, your brain will be dealing with the surprise, the fear, the worry about being hurt ad the disappointment. Second comes the adrenaline, the body’s automatic response to danger, your fight or flight instinct - your heart will be pumping like a sprinter. And finally, comes the pain or soreness associated with hitting the floor!

As a beginner, this is when you must be led by your instructor. Their experience and first aid training should kick in. It’s important that they immediately assess any injury and decide whether you should or shouldn’t get back on. Most important is your head, neck and back - any worries about these then you absolutely shouldn’t get back on. Other serious injuries will be very painful and you will definitely know about it and so therefore again you shouldn't get back on.

However if you have just bruised your bum (which is the most likely thing) then you should really try to remount and continue with your lesson. This is a really important thing for not only the future of your riding but most importantly, for your confidence! Give yourself a few seconds to catch your breath, reorder your thoughts, and then take advantage of that adrenalin that fight instinct, and get back on!

Finally, how do you deal with the psychology of falling off?

I think this is a very difficult and complex answer to give. And it depends so much on your personality, age, how much you want to ride, how much confidence your instructor and horse are giving to you (or maybe not giving to you) and something that I think many people forget or don't think about: which is the culture of falling off in the riding school you are in.

I was very lucky to start riding when I was very young, which meant that I started falling off when I was very young. And I always remember what my mother said to me the first time I fell off, which was everyone has to fall off seven times to become a good rider. And looking back at it now, I think is a very interesting and admirable way to handle a young child’s fear of pain and disappointment, a very realistic way of handling it as well. Because it is true, by the time I had fallen off several times, I had learnt to, to some extent, to handle the shock and surprise, I learnt to handle my fear of falling off, and I learnt to dust myself off, get back up, get back on and rejoin the group lessons.

I was also very lucky to learn to ride with a very good group of friends in a very good riding school with a very healthy attitude to falling off. For this riding school, falling off was part of the “fun” of riding, not something to fear. As an 8-10 year old young child (after I'd been let off the lead reign and lunge) my group of friends and I went through this silly phase of finding falling off hilarious and actually, I remember, John, our instructor really struggled to actually keep us on the ponies in our lessons.

In my experience, there is a very important balance for riding schools and parents to find, between dangerous and irresponsible practices (like letting students ride in unsafe equipment) and on the other side, being so frightened of allowing students to fall off that nobody is able to have fun or progress their riding.

To fall off and have the courage, determination and resilience to get back on is such a tremendous skill and value to have. It has such parallel symbolism with real life. To learn to get back on, we first have to learn to fall off!

Alex Hua Tian
2020.12


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