@ GeminiJumper: I always wear a helmet when I mount a horse (I have ridden a few times) just in case I would happen to fall off on my head. But I mostly land like a cat on all fours when I fall off anything. But I know a helmet is needed. Also, I'm going to ride Western, and in the shows, they don't wear anything but cowboy and cowgirl hats. Maybe its because your less likely to fall off in western saddles? I've never been in a western saddle before. And you also got the reins part right. I do not have a saddle, but we're getting one in a few more weeks.
Everyone's information I'm proud to share about Flower:
Today a lady we know that's ridden a ton of horses, and is very experienced, came out today and rode her. At first she gave a small buck, not even enough to launch her forward or to hurt anyone, just raising her back hooves up about an inch from the ground, then relaxed. I walked her around the little corral I built, then let the lady take over. She did very well with voice commands, and the reins when she was told what to do. Until we got out to where the tall grass was, and she didn't want to listen to anybody, just wanted to eat the grass. She never tried to buck the lady off, though, which was a good sign, because finally she pulled back on the reins, not enough to hurt her, and she came up and got the signal that the person on her back didn't want her to do this, and just trotted on. Its a good thing I have a lane, away from the grass and the road, to walk on solid ground.
I'm thinking I only need a bit of training with her.. Because the way she acted, obedient and calm today, she has to have been ridden before. Unless she learned by herself or something.
Happy to annouce that!
So referring to your 'helmets' kinda thing, the helmet isn't only for avoiding bonking your head it would also be needed if your horse stepped on you or kicks you when you fall or stuff. It happens. As for your 'western' thing, I ride western (I'm no expert and I'm still new to shows and I'm still a beginner for most stuff but...) and I just started shows and you have to be over 19 to wear a hat. In pleasure shows and stuff at least. That's what it is in the shows where I go.. I wear a helmet at all times (not only because my horse is a little bonkers :p ) in shows AND at home because it's a lot cheaper to pay for a helmet than pay for surgery on your brain lol It's not that it's less likely to fall off in western saddles, although I do feel more comfortable and safe in western saddles because of the horn and the back which is more rounded up and stuff...
You mentioned that you haven't ridden in an english saddle before. Have you been riding bareback or in an english saddle or.... what?
Anyways, that's my little thing. It's not much but I guess it gives you a bit of info.. I'm no expert at all though. Sounds like you've been making some great progress! Keep it up and keep me posted ;)