, you and your friends tend to ride fire-breathing dragons. Bandit has lost his fire-breathing dragon status - in the desert. I'm going to buy another helmet because we - if I can ever find someone to ride with again - sometimes ride in neighborhoods, and Bandit can revert to being a dragon in a neighborhood. His internal tension goes way up and there are things that confuse him. 6' tall inflatable penguins at Christmas time, for example.
The next day's flying schedule in a fighter squadron is signed by the Ops Officer or Commander. They review it for safety. An experienced pilot who has been on leave for a month, for example, won't have his first flight back be a demanding multi-ship air-air mission. In a two seat fighter, you want a mix of experience. I watched two young guys die in an F-4. The plane was hopelessly out of control and just a few hundred feet above the airfield. Along with a lot of others that day, I was shouting for them to eject - but of course, they couldn't hear. Neither ejected and a moment later the plane flipped over and slammed into the ground, killing both. If ONE of them had more experience, he could have saved them BOTH by ejecting.
I lived that "crew concept" for most of my adult life and carry it over to riding. My horse & I form a crew. Our "crew coordination" is a critical part of safety.
After realizing we'd nearly killed someone, the PC's attitude changed immediately. Seeing how shaken I was, he took the controls from me and started being the trainer and mentor I needed....
[Years later]...I found myself getting furious and as I started to light him up, for some reason I thought back to my flight in Korea. I remembered the feeling of being overwhelmed, timid and frustrated. I remembered how it felt to be on the controls and not wanting to be a pilot anymore.
Right there, mid-angry correction, I stopped. I took the flight controls, waited until we were clear of the Class B airspace, looked over at him and saw that he was "checked out." I reassured him of his abilities, told him to stay in the fight and then returned the controls to him.
Bandit and I have done that together many times. In the F-4, you couldn't see the other guy. So if you shifted who was responsible for flying, you said, "You've got it" and shook the stick used to control the aircraft. You didn't relinquish responsibility until the other guy said, "I've got it" and also shook the stick. Bandit and I may "shake the stick" as it was called many times in a sortie
. I mean, ride. Old habits die hard, but our sorties involve a lot of stick shaking, and both of us have grown reasonably comfortable with our crew coordination.
But on a mission through a neighborhood, he may need me to take control more often. Even so, he is more likely to lose control of his emotions there. Even 30 seconds of lost control can result in a fall on pavement.
A very touchy subject is riding technique. We often treat all falls as "Acts of God
". Zeus threw a thunderbolt and we were knocked off our horse! Riding technique can prevent a lot of falls and deserves to be looked at every time. But horses remain horses, independent thinking beings, and there are falls that might as well be "acts of God".
Pavement, IMHO, encourages "acts of God", although identifying chains of events that lead to such acts of God is a part of good riding technique. I lead Bandit through the 5 minute walk to the desert when I go ride. So many of our spooks have occurred during those first 5 minutes that I prefer to stay on the ground! But by definition, you cannot predict the unpredictable.
That is separate from choosing to ride more demanding, more emotional horses. Riding Mia wasn't very safe, but I chose
to ride her for 7 years. I don't think it was "wrong" for me, either. I think we both needed something from the other. It was worth the risk. Bandit was riskier than Mia when I got him, but he's a changed horse. I'm a different rider. And what we do and why we ride is different from many others. For US, here NOW, I think OUR risks are reasonable even if I'm not wearing a helmet.