I started riding at 50. The one fall I've had came during a dismount, when my mare spooked and exploded with my right leg above her rump. That injury has left me, 4 years later, with a back that is still stiff (lower right).
FWIW, I believe in cheating
. If you have a very bad experience, it takes a lot of good ones to override your subconscious mind screaming, "I don't want to get hurt!"
I would often suggest a change in tack to a barrel racing saddle - deep, with a tall horn to help you get back on if you start sliding sideways.
However, since you are riding hunter/jumper, I recommend riding the flats in an Aussie-style saddle until you are fully comfortable with cantering.
I ride full time in one, because my mare is kind of high strung, and seems to enjoy imagining monsters - and at 54, riding in a rocky desert, a fall could cripple me for life. However, swapping between my DownUnder Master Campdraft
and my Bates Caprilli AP saddle in the arena, I can't feel any difference in the ride. They feel identical to my rump and thighs, except the CAIR panels in the Bates feel bouncier.
However, if the horse hits the fan, the saddle below is MUCH easier to stay in than my Bates:
It is deeper. If she suddenly puts on the brakes without warning (what I call the OMG Crouch), the poleys (mickey mouse ears) on the front mean I won't slide off forward. If she suddenly spins, the poleys WILL keep my hips aligned correctly, to the point of leaving a bruise sometimes. If she gallops mindlessly, only a couple times in the last year but worth being prepared for, then it helps secure me while I try to regain control. A few days ago, she stumbled cantering in the arena and almost went down. The poleys may have saved us both, because it made it easier for me to keep my balance and help her regain hers.
And so far, it has worked. I've never come out of an Australian-style saddle.
(Need a 'knock on wood' icon)
If you can't find an Aussie-style saddle, borrow a western one. And if the barn you are at won't allow that, move. You can ride a forward seat in a western saddle, at least I can in our Circle Y or Abetta, and you can certainly ride it in an Australian saddle. No one should start jumping until they are completely comfortable with cantering, and there is no harm in learning how to canter in a western saddle. Doesn't hurt to learn it on a western horse used to neck reining. Once cantering on the flats puts a big smile on your face
, you can go back to jumping. Jumping increases the risk of injury by 10-40 fold, depending on which study you believe. That is a 1,000-4,000% increase! Jumping should be done after you have a secure seat. If you can't laugh or talk while cantering, then I don't believe you should try jumping.
All this is IMHO as a rider now pushing 55, who cannot afford to learn by falling. I honestly think there should be very little falling while learning from an instructor. It can happen at any time, but a good match of activity, tack and horse to the learning rider should keep it minimal. Every fall includes the risk of a serious injury. It isn't a requirement. If anything, more falls will probably result in more defensiveness and poorer riding, even assuming you don't get a long term injury like I did.