William Badlan: ‘It all happens very quickly and instinct kicks in’ *H&H VIP*

  • As a jockey, you learn a lot riding a tired horse. Grand Fella’s run at Eyton-on-Severn (28 March) started well. He was up with the leading horse and jumping cleanly, but after a circuit he started to wane.

    He’s a good jumper and is usually happy to go off a long stride, so when he started to shorten and get in deep, I knew he was tiring. At the second last, he was on a longer stride, but I could feel that he wasn’t going to make it.

    He got right into the bottom of the fence and, as he snapped up to get over it, I sat right up, stuck my legs forward and tried to slip my reins to help him balance, but was catapulted over his head. I was annoyed to be unseated, but glad that I’d got my first fall out of the way.

    It all happens very quickly and instinct kicks in. If you know your horse isn’t going to make it over a fence, let the reins slip through your hands to give the horse his head in case he pecks on landing and pulls you forwards.

    If you do fall, the most important thing is to keep your arms and legs tucked in and lie still in case of oncoming horses.

    If a horse is that tired and you are out of the race, it’s best to pull up because there is nothing to be gained when you are well beaten — it’s better to save the horse for another day.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 28 April 2016