So, I saw a comment on a horse forum about what you learn when you're sitting in the dirt looking up at your horse. For me, personally (bear in mind I'm a chickenish novice who only lessons, so my falls have been limited): Fall #1 (first fall) I lost a stirrup while trotting very fast away from a series of crossrails, slid perilously toward one shoulder and thought, ah, what the hell, gotta go sometime. Sitting on the ground, I developed a whole new attitude toward riding--it hurts to fall off, so I will never, ever think 'what the hell' again. Giving up is a mistake. Fall #2 (totally not my fault) Cantering nicely around the ring in half-seat, I suddenly lose all support in one leg and plunge perfectly overboard without even an instant to try to stay up. I land on my head in what I can only assume was a perfect upside-down boink, as the only part of my body that hurt at all later was the very top of my head, and my own momentum sends me up into a perfectly normal sitting position in time to watch my horse go winging off around the ring, my instructor and the barn. When we finally retrieve my horse, it turns out the stirrup iron (not the leathers, the iron itself) had snapped in half. Sitting bemused on the ground, watching my horse galloping off, I thought, "the weirdest things happen around these animals" and I've never worried as much about falling.