No, I wasn't taught to properly tuck and roll, emergency dismount, bail, what have you.
I had the same thing happen to me in 2009 as the girl with the blog that drafts mentioned. It was the first time I had loped bareback. It was shortly after the summer camp I work at started enforcing that the wranglers wear helmets (because of an accident that happened earlier that summer). I chose not to because they were for my senior pictures. Everything was fine, until Poseidon took off at a lope when I wasn't ready. I slipped and landed in front of her and was loped over.
Somehow I was not severely injured. Her front knee knocked me in the head and I had a distinct hoofprint on my left shoulder blade (how she didn't crush a good section of my ribcage and puncture my lung, I'll never know). I stood right up and brushed myself off. I was sore, but I got back on and my friend who was taking pictures led us back to the corral.
The only other time I've fallen was when racing a friend this summer. Abby went from a full gallop to stopped dead..I didn't. I caught myself a little with one leg, so I didn't hit the ground full force with my back. Did pull my calf really good and couldn't stand up from sitting on the ground without help for a day. That was the only injury I sustained from that. The girl I was racing went flying too and we both stood up laughing and hugged each other (we had a whole crowd, mind you).
I was lucky with both of these. Otherwise, I stay on as long as possible and I've yet to come off, which I attributed to my snug barrel saddle and the quick thought to grab my horn on occasion. However, I have also not ridden young horses or horses that are greenbroke or less. The worst I've really ridden is Abby, who is well trained and knows her stuff, she's just a snot sometimes (random bucks, hard spooks, and a couple of times this summer that I all but lost control of her because she'd try to take off in the fields).
I do believe there is some instinct in getting away from a horse. Early this summer, we took some other camp staff riding in one of the pastures. Just as we started going, one gelding tripped and completely flipped himself. He landed on the girl riding him, but by the time anyone got to her, she was leaning on a fence at least 10 feet away. She doesn't ride very often and when we asked her, she said she didn't really think about it, she just knew to get up and get away so he wouldn't roll on her when he got up. She had a ruptured spleen from that.
Last edited by Poseidon; 11-02-2011 at 10:08 PM.