It's been a few years and I just recently got back into horses. I brought home my two new horses two weeks ago - a Quarter Horse and a mustang from a feral herd in Nevada. Both are about 11 years old and broke to ride. The mustang was a premeditated purchase (I had visited the farm that had him several times, ridden him, worked with him, etc.). The quarter horse was a sudden and unexpected purchase but she's a fantastic little mare.
Now, herein lies my situation, and I know I asked for this: One day three after moving both horses, it seemed like they had both settled in very quickly. The mustang had some faint diarrhea that cleared up within 24 hours and that was the extent of it. I was feeling really confident and decided it was time for a short ride on the property after coming home from work. I took the mustang into the round pen with me, brushed him out, saddled him up, and got ready to go. I got it in my head to try to ride him without a bridle (I use rope halters on both horses and had read extensively about riding in one). I thought the transition between bit to halter would go very smoothly - the mustang had always been responsive and gentle under saddle when I rode him at the farm. Every time I had saddled him at the farm, he danced and moved around (nothing too extreme, just boredom or irritation). He stood perfectly still this time in the round pen (we had been working on standing still while being saddled and I think our work together paid off) and waited patiently for me to climb aboard. He took a step forward after I got seated and so I drew back on the reins (no bit) to halt him. My right foot also had not made it into the stirrup so I leaned down to try to fix it. He took another step forward ad I halted him, this time with a little more resistance on his part. And then he started to go through the gate of the round pen and he was off like a rocket! He began to buck rather aggressively and eventually got me off. I hit the ground pretty hard (my leg still bothers me) and it took me a long moment to recover and get to my feet. I was pretty shaken by this time and it looks like he was too. He hung out up in the shelter until I came through to retrieve him (I never yell or am frantic in my actions). He looked frightened and when he saw me, he moved away from me. I finally got hold of him but was too scared to climb back on. I took him back to the round pen, unsaddled him, and lunged him (we've never lunged before this incident). I resaddled him and then we took a walk together (I walked on the ground and we went away from the quarter horse for about 10 minutes). Every time he tried to crowd me or turn back, I circled him or backed him up and then we preceded forward. I took him back to the round pen, handled his feet, unsaddled him, brushed him out, and turned him loose. I haven't been out to attempt to ride him since.
I'm going back out this weekend to try for a ride but I'm really nervous. I was looking for pointers, critiques (respectful, please), or any advise that might help improve our relationship and build my confidence. This isn't the first time I've been thrown but this is the first time I never climbed right back on because I told myself that he was spooked for being in a new place, did not trust/respect me, or was simply stressed. Any helpful insight?
I also would like to say that since he threw me, I HAVE been out to see him almost every single day. We've lunged a few times, I brush him daily, I handle his feet (he never used to let me handled his feet - now I can pick them all up) and he tends to respect me on the ground. He approaches me in the pasture and lets me love on him all I want. He leads well and minds well. I just have yet to resaddle and ride him.