The first time I ever fell off a horse it was doing a fast canter. I was a teenager who spent all my spare time and money at the local trail riding barn. It was a cold January day, and there were no other customers there, so the manager figured she would just give me a horse and I could go on my own for an hour. Now, I could sit a horse at all gaits, but never rode alone before, so I really had no idea how to really control a horse -- it always just followed the leader, right?
So off I go, very loose rein, thinking the horse is just going to go where I point it.. nope! Then she decided to stop. I nudged, then squeezed, nothing. So I gave a little kick. Yowza! She said "Ya wanna go? Let's go!!" This is when I realized that my reins were too loose. Picture the beginner trying to stop the runaway horse by having to pull the reins back behind her shoulder, lol. We were running away from the barn, so the horse very quickly corrected that, and turned fairly sharply. But I was riding it out! Yay me!
That's when I learned my second lesson, always check your own girth!
Horse is running, all of a sudden I am riding on her side. In my head it happened in slow motion. I actually saw the clump of frozen dirt that my face was going to hit!
Did it hurt? Of course! Was it really a big deal? Nah. I walked back to the barn, wiped off the blood, and asked to go out again. They gave me a fresh horse, (the first one was playing hard to get, lol) and off I went, a better more aware rider already.