The Flying Dismount is fun to do and fun to watch, and what’s more, you don’t have to be a professional vaulter or spectacularly athletic to learn how to do it.
Here is Elizabeth practicing a Flying Dismount at the trot during the June 2014 youth summer camp:[vimeo http://vimeo.com/99164977]
We teach this move for several reasons, but most especially for safety. The Flying Dismount can be used in an emergency if you have to get off of a moving horse. We practice it often to encourage muscle memory and make it automatic, so that you can “unstick” and get out of the saddle quickly when you need to, and keep your feet when you touch down.
(We also teach you how to read your horse so that you can dismount safely at the first sign of tension or anxiety and restore order from the ground — but horses can be unpredictable and the more safety skills we have, the better!)
The Flying Dismount also builds confidence in the rider. The more you practice getting OFF the horse in a safe manner, the more confident you become ON the horse.
We start students with plenty of practice on the barrel. Then we transition to a horse who is standing still. Then we try it at a slow walk … then a faster walk … then the trot … and so on up the gaits. We typically also start bareback or with a bareback pad, so you can get experience with the motion before trying it in a saddle, with the added challenge of clearing the stirrups, cantle, and pommel.
As you get better and better at it, the Moving Dismount becomes smooth and graceful — it’s one more way to dance with your horse, which is interesting and fun for the horse too! Your physical coordination also improves, which benefits your riding and your relationship with your horse.