Yesterday I had a horse flip over on me for the first time (no, it was not Charlie). I was working a 3-yr-old Quarter Horse with a decided dislike of water, attempting to get him to take at least a few steps toward the tiny creek in the woods while Jan worked Goose from the ground.
Everything was going fairly well, albeit slowly, with only a few frustrated buck/mini-rear episodes, but then he tried to back up and mini rear at the same time. Unfortunately he did so up a small, muddy incline and his back feet slipped right out from under him as he was lifting his front ones off the ground.
It was the weirdest feeling. From all those times Charlie used to rear I learned how to anticipate them and deal with it, hugging neck to maintain both of our balances if it did happen, and most of the time heading off the urge before it got to a full blown rear. This was different. We were instantly vertical and neither myself nor the poor horse knew quite what had happened. There was what felt like seconds of vertical air time (although I'm sure it was pretty instantaneous) during which I somehow processed that he was going over and I had to bail. I remember being scarily calm throughout everything. But that's generally how it goes with me, I'll have the panic attack afterward.
I landed on my back, saw him coming down and tried to tuck and roll away as much as I could as he crashed down next to me. Don't ask me how but even though I ended up practically underneath him and his legs came rolling over all around me as he scrambled to stand up, that horse didn't touch me at all. Instead of being crushed, I ended up without a single scratch (well, except for my knee which happened to land on a rock). Jan was there instantly to help but since neither one of us was hurt I opted to get back on. We actually managed to finish the lesson on a positive note and I rode him all the way back to the barn with no issues.
So long story short there is a first time for everything and I'm pretty darn sore today, but, hey, I'll gladly take that over being dead!