How to Properly Dismount, ESPECIALLY When Wearing an Equestrian Air Vest
Even as air vests are becoming more popularized across all disciplines, one of the most common concerns is about the noise a deploying vest makes and if it will cause a horse to spook.
We've mentioned in other posts and even done a video showing that it's fairly rare for horses to react, but they are of course horses, so there's never a guarantee. If a vest is deploying in a fall scenario, usually there are so many things happening that neither the rider nor the horse actually hears the pop of the gas canister being punctured. But what about accidental deployments where the rider forgets to unclip before dismounting?
This brings us to a very foundational topic of how you should properly dismount your horse, especially if you are wearing an air vest.
- Remove both feet from your stirrups.
- Swing your right leg behind the saddle.
- Ease yourself down to the ground and band your knees when landing.
This all seems pretty basic, but some riders do step #1 differently. Rather than removing both feet, they remove the right foot only, then swing their leg over and land on the ground with their right foot, thus having their left foot remaining in the stirrup. They then remove their left foot once they feel their right is firmly on the ground. (Anyone feel like we're doing the Hoky Poky yet?)
This method of dismounting is not only incorrect, it's dangerous, whether or not you're using an air vest. If your horse were to move away from you for some reason, you risk having your foot caught in the stirrup and being dragged. If you're wearing an air vest and you forget to unclip before dismounting, this increases the risk just in case your horse does react.