I wanted to share something with everyone in the hope that it might help someone. 3 weeks ago I was bucked off my horse (big buck--all 4's up in the air). I didn't expect it and went flying. Was very lucky esp. Since I am too old to be falling and only bruised my ribs. My horse, while I had been having some respect issues, had never done anything like this. I've had him 2 years (he's 6 now, was never really started properly) and has only improved since I've had him.
So, what happened before what happened. We'd been riding some rough trails for 2 hours and we were doing great (his ears back on me paying attention). We stopped for lunch and sometime after that I lost his attention. I did nothing to help him refocus. Then a number of circumstance got me nervous--mostly would the river be too high for us to cross. I was with 2 other women and not in charge of the ride. Then, coming into a field, my friend asked if I wanted to go faster. She had just mentioned we might flush out some deer. I should have said no but I hate being a "wimp" so I said yes. Gave my horse a little squeeze but told him with my mind and rest of my body no. That's when he bucked.
I could have several times stopped, released his hind end, done serpentines,gotten his attention back, took some breaths to calm myself (and him), told my friends my concerns, etc.
I have learned (relearned) my lesson and my last ride on him over a week ago was fantastic. I was actually able to do things I hadn't before like go in a different direction for several hundred yards while trying to find the trail.
Sorry this is so long. Thanks for listening and I hope it help someone.