I have never been in a situation where I have HAD to bail, like some of the other folks have mentioned. And I very, very rarely get bucked off. There are lots of times when I figure I am going to get dumped, and then somehow I end up staying on (don't ask me how.... must be some weird talent of mine
But on the other hand, I think my brain has its own automatic "abort" button that I don't even have to think about.
My one example is from last summer. I was riding my 2-yr-old colt for about the 6th time. He has been SO easy to start. Just a dream. I haven't started a colt in a while, so I was stupid and got lax. I thought I would ride him from the corral to the pasture. I had already ridden him in the pasture with another horse as a safety buddy, and I normally work him in the corral. And the pasture is where he normally stays anyway, so both very familiar places for him.
We were walking through the "runway" which is probably about 35 feet wide for about 50 feet, and it's normal fencing smooth wire, with the top and 3rd wire HOT. He balked about halfway through the runway, and didn't want to walk anymore. I asked him to move forward as I always do (he was a little "sticky" on his 1st and 2nd ride) but he decided to throw a little temper tantrum for the first time. His butt hit the one side of the fence, and I'm sure he got zapped
, and he lunged forward and headed for the other fence. I am panicking
in my mind, thinking me and him are going to get tangled up in fence. I eventually fell off over the front of him. The more I think about it after the face, he was pretty much only crow-hopping. Sure, not easy to ride, but not that
bad that it would make me fall off. I was perfectly capable of riding through it. But why did I fall off?
The more I think about it, I think my subconsious mind had me bail. I knew I wasn't in a good situation and it could be very dangerous if it continued. I was really mad at myself for falling off (and mad for trusting a colt when I should darn well know better) but I was very thankful we both walked away with no injuries.
I didn't mentally make the decision to make myself fall off, but I think my mind did it for me.
I lead him out deep into the pasture, away from all fences, and mounted up again. Needless to say, he was rather spooky that *I* was going to zap him from behind (he did not know it was the fence that zapped him) and it took a few rides to get his confidence back. But I sure didn't make a stupid mistake again.