Dismounting on the Fly

Riding Level 3: Dismount at the Walk

There are times when it’s neither convenient nor possible to wait till your horse has come to full halt before departing the saddle.  Sometimes your horse or your opponent forces the situation; in other cases you may make the decision to get to the ground ahead of time.  Either way, your goal is to end up on your feet and still in control of your horse whenever possible.  At higher levels we will want you to demonstrate dismounts at the trot and canter as well as controlled falls, but the first step to all of this is:

Canter dismount
Canter dismount

8. Dismount at the walk

The procedure for dismounting at the walk is almost the same as your vaulting dismount from the halt:

1. Kick both feet out of the stirrups.  This is important!  Do not attempt a western-style dismount, or even the English dismount where you leave the left foot in the stirrup until your legs are on both sides.  If you hit the ground with one foot while the other is in the stirrup you are likely to get dragged.

dismount at walk
Kick well free of the saddle

2. Put your reins in one hand and grab a bit of mane.  This will stop you from bumping your horse in the mouth if you fall or get left behind.

3. Put both hands on the horse’s neck or withers and push off with both arms to help you clear the saddle.

4. Swing your legs to the same side twisting your hips to face forward.  This lets you land facing the direction of movement rather than facing the horse as you might when dismounting from the halt.



trot dismount
Twist in mid-air to face forward

5. Bend your knees as you hit the ground and take a step right away to keep moving forward with your horse.

6.  Use your hand on your horse’s neck to orient and steady yourself, as well as to maintain control of the horse without jerking the reins.  Do not let go of the reins unless you actually fall.



trot dismount 2
Continue your forward movement & keep hold of the rein!

                         When dismounting from the walk you will find that many horses, particulary the polite and well trained ones, simply stop and give you a questioning ‘what you doing’ look.  Don’t discourage this, as it’s a good habit for a horse to have.  You may simply have to practise from the trot to get the full feeling of landing and moving forward.  This is leading to eventually being able to jump on and off a moving horse like the girl in this video:

Now for some inspiration, take a look at the amazing vaulting and other games skills displayed by these riders from New Zealand, and try to imagine their martial applications. (And now someone please explain to me why this isn’t an Olympic sport!)

NZ Mounted Games 2013

Want to get good at these?  Come on out to Mounted Combat classes, bimonthly Playdays (next one is June 6th) and our games practice nights starting up in June.

And if you want to see some Prince Phillip Games in person, come down to Southlands Riding Club this Saturday, May 2nd, between 9am and 2pm to cheer on the Richmond Pony Club!

Thank you!

Thanks to Crystal, Kat, Letitia, Chris, Eleanor, Isabel and Stephanie who came out to put in fenceposts, string wire, fix tarps and clean up our fields on Sunday.  Many hands make light work, and we got an amazing amount of work done in a short period of time.

Cavaliere Program Assessments

Assessment day is this Sunday, May 3rd.  If you would like to sign off your riding, horsemanship or mounted combat checklists please contact your instructor and register online here.  Whether you pass or not, assessing is an excellent way to focus in on the areas in which you need to hone your skills, and you will get valuable feedback on your progress.

Cavaliere Assessments
Sunday 3 May, 1:30 – 4:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$50 for partial assessment (Horsemanship, Riding OR Mounted Combat)
$80 for full assessment (2 or 3 of the above elements)
note: most Cavaliere Program series include a free partial assessment.  Select ‘included with course’ when registering.

Upcoming Classes

Intro to Mounted Combat
Here’s the place to get started in the Mounted Combat Program, whether you’re an experienced swordsman new to horses, a proficient rider new to swordplay, or a complete beginner!

Saturday 6 June, 10am – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$149 + gst

Mounted Combat Playday

Kailea & Kaden

An opportunity to put your skills to work.  Come out for friendly practice and competition with mounted games, combat and archery.  Assistants on the ground are needed for these sessions.  If you are unable to participate as a rider, come out and be a squire for us to earn credits for future playdays.  Spectators welcome!

Saturday 6 June 1pm – 4pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$15 + $15 for use of school horse

Mounted Games: Riding Level 1
Mounted Sparring: Green Spur
Horseback Archery: Beginner Horseback Archery + Riding Level 1

New series of Riding & Horsemanship will also start June 6th.  Watch this space for details.

Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.