After The Fall, What To Do With Your Equipment After You Crash.

So there I was, schooling a big trakehner 2 weekends ago and I wrecked, like a boss.  “Wait, I don’t remember you having a Trakehner, I thought you had thoroughbreds.”  Oh, not that kind of trakehner, it’s a cross country jump, usually a log over top of a ditch.  My sweet little Lilykins decided that the boogieman was living in the ditch, she jumped it twice but never nice, the third time, she said NOPE.  I can’t blame her, we had a long school already, hindsight is 20/20, we should have quit the after she went the first time but we were trying to get it right.

“So, what broke, what engineering lesson are we supposed to learn here?  Where are we going with this?”  Well my impatient friend, what does one do after a fall?  “Oh, I know this, I saw the George Morris meme, ‘Either go to the hospital or get back on!’ right?”  Yes, so I got right back on, after being drug on the end of my reins about 30ft.  If you hold on to your horse, you don’t have to chase it all over the cross country course.

Lily loves her rump rubs.

To be honest, Lily probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere, but after years of riding Emma who would have used the opportunity to take a trip to the next county, I am trained to use my body as a drag anchor.  I probably scared Lily more than anything but again, it is what it is, I did give her a massage the next day and had a chiro session 2 days after.

“Seriously, you have gone on a tangent again.  Without me you would never get to the point.”  Yes, that is true.

I noticed a few scratches on the top, best to check the inside.

So, we have already discussed helmet safety, and vest safety in previous posts.  My helmet is less than a year old and so is my vest and these are the first crash they have been through.  For a helmet, in theory, it’s time to get a new one…  For the vest, it’s time to inspect.

Starting with the vest (this includes air vests):

  • Check the fabric for rips and tears:  Mine just has some dirt, which will need to be cleaned per the manufacturer, usually just surface clean
  • Check the foam for dents or compressed spots:  If the foam doesn’t return to it’s original shape, it is time to replace the vest. Some manufacturers say within 5 minutes of impact but most of the time, they don’t get inspected at all so when you get a chance, look it over.
  • Ensure all fasteners are still in working order.  If you damaged any velcro, zippers, or buckles, the vest needs to be replaced.  Mine were all fine in this case.
  • For air vests:  replace the air cartridge and inspect the airbag for holes, rips, or rubs.  Any damage to the airbag will require consulting with the manufacturer and possibly replacement.

As for the helmet, in theory any crash means replacement, and this is not something you should “test”.  This is also why I don’t have a $1000 helmet, I don’t want to spend $1000 every time I fall.  However, if you do a thorough check of the helmet, then you may not have to replace it. First attempt to figure out if your head touched the ground:

  • Is there a dirt mark on the helmet?
  • Are there any scratches on the shell?
  • Is there a crack in the shell?
  • Take the liner out, are there any cracks in the interior of the helmet?
  • Is the brim loose or cracked?
  • Was the helmet cover pulled off, ripped, or have dirt on it?
  • Is the harness torn, broken, bent, maimed in any way?

If you can answer yes to any one of the questions above, replace the helmet.

Checking the inside.

If the answers are no, then it is up to you to use your judgement.  If you have video of the fall, you can review it to see if your head hit something.  And yes, if you head hits a jump, fence, wall, other horse, really anything at all, it needs to be replaced.  In this case, I didn’t hit anything with my helmet, although in the video it looks like I might have hit the log, but I didn’t.  I still inspected my helmet.

If you need to replace your helmet, most helmet manufacturers have a helmet replacement policy, which will allow you to replace your helmet for a reduced price.

Yep, that’s a piece of hay…

Usually you have to have a copy of your receipt, so when you buy your helmet, take a picture of the receipt so you have a copy on your phone.  Most replacement policies are only good for 2-3 years.

What you may not realize is that if you send your helmet in after a crash, they can analyze it in a lab an use the information to make a safer helmet in the future, so this benefits everyone.

On a tack note, it’s a good time to check your tack too.  Stirrup leathers, reins, and martingales/breastplates tend to be likely culprits for damage.  Check for cracks and stretched spots.  They may not have broken this time but they may decide to break during your ride at the next show.  I checked my stirrups just because, and my bridle, mainly my reins.  Since I hung on to them after the fall, they could have gotten stretched or weakened, especially where they attach to the bit.   I got lucky this time, everything seemed to be in good shape.

Disclaimer: I am not a safety specialist, I do not work for a helmet or vest company.  I am not a fall specialist, just an innocent fall-offer.

Related articles:

Do You Need that New Tack? Is Less More? What’s In This Engineer’s Tackroom, Horse Trailer, Boot Rack, and Closet

Broken Bones, and Engineering, Do They Go Together? Do They Explain “Breakdowns” Like Crackerjack This Weekend?

Holy Exploding Vests! Air Vests for All Riding Sports.

New Hauling Laws, Can They Get More Confusing? CDL, CMV, ELD Let Me Help.

New trailering laws are out there right now, swirling around, causing a ruckus.  First of all, from what I understand, they are not being enforced yet.  Also, as I go into this, I am not a law maker, lawyer, or a legal authority but, here are a few things that might help you understand.

To start with, the acronym GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) comes up.  “The wat?  I dunno what that is.”  Well a lot of people are seeing things like 10,000lbs for a truck.  “Oh yeah, I saw that, my truck doesn’t weigh anything like that, so I am good.”  Time to hold your horses.  GVWR is not the weight of your truck, it’s essentially the capacity of your truck.  My 2500HD diesel truck weighs about 6,500lbs, but its GVWR is 10,000 lbs.  “Well how do you know?  Where do I find this?”  There is a label usually inside the driver door or door frame.

The same goes for your trailer, the GVWR for my 2 horse bumper pull is 8,050 lbs.  There should be a plate or sticker on your trailer that has all the information you need.  With a bumper pull, it could be on the side of the trailer, mine was on the driver’s side.  Goosenecks usually have them up under the gooseneck

Let me discuss the average Joe, or Josefina, pulling their horse.  In reality, this is not about Josefina with a 2 horse bumper pull or Joe with his 3 horse gooseneck with a small tack room.  This is about Fred horse trainer with a 15 horse slant load on his way to a big show, and Tammy rodeo queen with a huge 4 horse living quarter trailer.

Nothing changes if:

  1. You are not driving more than 11 hours and have had 10 hours off since the last time you drove.
  2. You are only towing your horse/s
  3. The GVWR on your truck is 10,000lbs or LESS
  4. Your trailer GVWR is 15,000lbs or LESS
  5. You are not towing to a show where you might win money
  6. You are not a horse trainer or in the horse business.

Sooo #5 is a real pain in the butt…

To clear up the whole commercial vehicle (CMV) thing:

  • “So what about everyone that doesn’t fit into the 6 points above?”  Well if you write your truck or trailer off as a business expense, then you will probably have to register them as commercial vehicles. Samesies if you are a trainer hauling horses for clients and they are paying you, or if you are going to a show where you will win money.  “It’s all about the money isn’t it.  That’s all they care about, they don’t care about me, I feel so unloved.”  Yes, at the end of the day it’s all about money.
  • “I go to jumper shows all the time, I sometimes win money, does that mean I need to register my truck and trailer as a business expense?”  Depends.  “Oh thanks for clearing that up.”  Well we all know about those schooling hunter/jumper shows where if you win the class, you get $30!  Exciting until you remember you paid $4o for the class, and lets not start on the cost of stalls.  If you can make a profit, as in more than what you pay for the show, then you may need to register your truck and trailer as a commercial vehicle.  Really this is for people who make their living off of prize money, not the amateur who happens to make $1000 from their hobby shows that they go to (as long as you don’t have a horse business on the side, like breeding).  Good news for eventers for once, they rarely have cash prizes.
  • Oh and if you have sponsor logos on your truck or trailer, those become commercial vehicles too.  This probably counts if you have your business logo on your truck or trailer.
  • “What if I want to tow my friend’s horse?  That’s no longer allowed?”  It is allowed if you don’t accept money for it, even if it’s just to help pay for gas.  So make them fill up your truck, or buy lunch or something.
  • If you have a living quarter trailer you may be exempt using RV rules if you don’t use it for “making money” as listed in the points above
  • “So what do I have to do if I have a commercial vehicle?”  It’s all about the registration, you will have to contact TXDOT (or the Department of Transportation for your state) and it will probably be obnoxious but less obnoxious than getting pulled over, getting fines, and then still having to go through it anyhow.

What is this ELD thing?  Well it’s an electronic box that has to be installed on your truck that tracks how long/fast/far you drive.  It only allows you to drive 11 hours out of 14 hours, it doesn’t shut your engine down or anything but if you get pulled over and you are over your limit, get ready to pay $$$ for fines.   These are for long hauls, if you limit your drives to 11 hours or less then you don’t need one.  Or take your friend and make them drive after you reach the 11 hour limit.  Do your horse a favor though, limit your drives.

“I read about a CDL (Commercial Drivers Licence) do I need one of those?”  If your truck and trailer fit in #3 and #4 above then you are good.  It’s all about truck and trailer size.  If you have a freightliner, “Not For Hire” will not work anymore, time to up your game.

As I said before, this isn’t about the small trucks and trailers hauling across town, the cops are not after you.  I image come rodeo time in Houston, the police will be out waiting to pull people over and enforce the laws.  They did this a few years ago at Pin Oak Charity Horse show, here in Houston.  There were a bunch of cops waiting at the highway exit ramp for the show, pulling big rigs over, ensuring people had CDLs for their large rigs.

How will this affect your show plans for this year?

Disclaimer:  This is a guide to help, so verify your particular situation prior to hooking up.  Again, I am not a lawmaker, lawyer, or law enforcer, this information is just a way to help people further understand.

A few further sources of information:

Related Engineering Equestrian Articles:



New Year Resolutions For This Equestrian, Reminiscing, and Planning.

It’s the year of the horse!

It’s a new year!  First post, it’s got that fresh new year smell.  Bring on the diet, fitness, finance, tax and organization ads.  It’s time for reflecting on the past year, recovering from the holidays, and resolving for the future.  And because I am me, we will cover these completely out of order.

For me, 2017 went out with fireworks and 2018 rolled in with fireworks. The good news, no one got burned or needed a trip to the hospital.  Generally the new year is a time for change, reflection, and black eyed peas (it’s a southern thing).  So what does this Equestrian want to change, reflect on, and eat?

The answer, not much, nothing really, and left overs.  “Well aren’t you the oracle of the past, present, and future.”  Yeah, I’m practically the Scrooge of New Year.  My dad, ever the DAD was throwing around a bunch of jargon like he does, “2018 is the year, I’m going to get in shape, I’m going to eat real food, and I am going to learn spanish.”  My dad is in pretty good shape for a Grandpa, he later asked me “What really is ‘real food’?”, and he has been learning Spanish for as long as I can remember, he still hasn’t learned it.  My dad is a rather optimistic guy, a real “create your own destiny”, glass is half full, and generally gives people the benefit of the doubt.  I too am a happy go lucky kind of person, but about 10-15 years ago, I gave up on resolutions.

That’s right, I don’t do resolutions.  “You are un-American, uncultured swine, what is wrong with you?”  Well, I tend to be a realist, I realize that you can set goals in January that you hope to maintain for the next 12 months or you can just set goals year round when you either achieve the goal previously set or realize it’s not going to happen.  For instance, in July, I completely revamped my finances.  I could have waited until January but instead, I got a 5 month jump on it.  I set a goal in September to go to WEG (World Equestrian Games) in 2018, I bought my tickets then.  I decided last year that I wanted to go to the AECs (American Eventing Championships) in 2018.  Still planning on it.  I decided in April it was time to lose the baby fat, managed to lose most of it by January 1, so that was basically completed prior to even having a chance to become a resolution, had I waited I would have had another 10-15lbs to lose, because at that point I was gaining.

If you had to press me for resolutions this would be my short list:

  1. Giving Mini Engineering Equestrian more donkey rides.
  2. Do yoga at least once a week maybe even twice a week.
  3. Ride a minimum of 4 times a week
  4. Build and maintain an awesome vegetable garden

As for the reminiscing on last year; I will be honest with you, at the New Year’s party I attended, and all over Facebook the next day, I saw comments about good riddance to 2017, I don’t feel that way at all.  Have I had a bad year?  Not particularly.  Have I had a good year?  Sure, why not.  “Insightful.  I can’t believe I am still reading this post.”  Well, I could focus on the bad; many months of terrible sleep, mono while being a new mom, Hurricane, major life change a week before Christmas, or I could focus on the positive; starting this blog, celebrating Mini Engineering Equestrian’s first birthday, losing baby weight, getting back to novice level in eventing and winning the year end in the 3′ Jumper division in the local H/J show circuit.

I tend to feel like, for the most part, life seems to have a balance for me.  It’s easy to get down when you have an unfortunate event or a series of them at the end of a year, if it makes you feel better to put that behind you along with the year, then by George, do it.  But what happens when your unfortunate event/s happen in March?  Do you drag that bad juju with you for the next 9 months?  I vote no.

I try not to focus on the bad, not always possible, but maybe it’s a good goal to have for this year.  “Is that you setting a resolution?  Come on, you know you wanna, everyone’s doing it.”  Maybe, but this is something I always do so I’m not sure it counts.  “I saw this thing on pinterest about how you have a jar and write down something you are grateful for every day for the year.  They had a cute jar and everything.”  My turn to be the sarcastic one… So, like that resolution you made to work out every day, after about a month, you will forget about it.  But maybe take 5 minutes today to think of something that was good in 2017, it could just be as small as that stupid joke someone told that turned into a huge inside joke that makes you and your friends smile, or it could be as big as paying off a loan.

Christmas Card Photo Shoot, yes those are my feet.

As for recovering from the holidays, I ate way too much food, didn’t get to ride much due to weather, and my kid was great at sleeping in, after being up 3 hours in the middle of the night…

“This is nice and all but what about the blog?”  Oh yeah, the blog, well let’s play a little Charles Dickens and get a visit from the ghosts of blog past, present, and future.

Past, the 3 top articles from 2017 are:

Present, well lets be honest, life happened so recently not much has come out of this page, but you are reading today’s post.

Future, a few topics I would like to cover this year:

  • Slant load vs. Straight load trailers
  • Baby Pads vs Saddle Pads vs Poly Pads
  • WEG 2018!
  • If you have read some of my previous articles, you know, sometimes I write by the seat of my pants, not always great but it happens.
  • And as always, if you have a question or suggestion, I love those!

Here is to a wonderful 2018!  What are your goals/resolutions?

Disclaimer: I am not a ghost of the past, present, or future, I do not do any of this as a profession, and I am not a financial, tax, fitness, or organization guru.