Falling off to be a good rider – is that actually a thing?

Joey got a scooter for Christmas. He loves his scooter. He is a little young for a scooter but is very active and we thought it would be something he would enjoy. He did some practice at home before venturing out to the local park and he was let loose. He fell off. Quite spectacularly in fact. Coated from head to foot in mud. So, did this make him a better scooter rider? Or was he just more careful riding next time? Or did it simply create more washing for me?

How many of you have been told that falling off makes you a better rider?

“You have to have fallen off 100 times before you can call yourself a proper rider.” “Every fall makes you better.” “All the great riders have fallen off many times.” I have been told all of these and more. Normally as I am brushing the dirt off my jodhpurs.

But in what other sport is this a thing?

“You need to nearly drown a few times before you can be a good swimmer?” “You need to epically crash 99 times before you can be a racing driver?” “All the great gymnasts have broken limbs in accidental falls?” “Getting a concussion after a tackle simply makes you a better rugby player?”

No way. Accidents or falls should be avoided surely? Yes, there is always a risk of them happening but are they needed?

I know that Joey is likely to fall, as he has done with learning to walk, learning to run and now learning to scooter ride. However, I can’t quite get behind the idea that the falling makes him better?

What do you think?

There have certainly been some falls that have taught me some valuable lessons.

  • Brackenhill Stud – hacking a just backed 4 year old for the first time, 250 yards from the yard, horse spins and I land on the floor. Lesson = don’t take the just backed 4 year left out the yard and past the field of llamas.
  • Wembley – (not quite a fall, a near miss) when an “ungenerous” pony stopped at the second part of a double. Lesson = you can stay on through pure determination sometimes (I actually said out loud “I am not falling off at Wembley!”)
  • Catherston Stud – riding a pony that a “friend” wants to explore working hunters with, stopping at the first jump and I somersault and land on the fence. Lesson = don’t ride a pony someone is too nervous to jump without asking more questions.
  • The wall of an indoor school. No explanation needed. Lesson = don’t let someone leave a whip lying on the floor of the indoor school.
  • Cheshire County – 3/4 of the way around the course, going clear, taking a turn and my saddle slipped because I hadn’t done it up tight enough. Lesson = listen to your mother when she says “Have you checked your girth.”
  • Various locations – the multiple times I fell from American Pie. Yes, in his past life he was not so perfect. Lesson = accept your limitations.

I could have learnt these lessons with less dirty jodhpurs though. And certain falls I learnt nothing from, I just got the dirty jodhpurs and occasionally worse. Falls knock your confidence, falls make you doubt/question. So, do these “horsey” sayings simply come from people not knowing what to say when someone falls off? Or from wanting to turn a fall into something positive? Thoughts?

P.s. He got back on and was fine!

P.p.s. Yes my love of red is being passed down to my son.

P.p.s. The red was unplanned but very “on brand”


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