FIRST, SOME BACKGROUND!
I wouldn't consider myself a total novice around horses - have ridden since I was little (now I'm 14), I've done some schooling shows, schooled up to 2'6-2'9 at one point (2'9 with no hands, fun!) but now I'm just getting back into the swing of things after being out of it for about 2 years, so I'm schooling 2'-2'3 normally.
I ride at a hunter/jumper barn in Washington, goes by Phoenix Farm, but I began my riding 'career' (4+ years) at Archway in Bothell, WA if anyone's heard of that.
I was riding at Archway up until about the end of sixth grade and then I took a break for the summer season, got back into riding and started at a new barn (Phoenix), rode there until February of seventh grade, then a combination of anxiety/school had me deciding to take a break.
TL;DR just read below!
SO! I take lessons, so there's always a 'who will I ride' anticipation/anxiety that I seem to have. I've ridden six of the lesson horses in the whole time I've been at Phoenix, but lately I've only ridden two of them multiple times, Gjinger and Otto.
Gjinger is a mare who I'm fairly comfortable on, she's silly and whenever we're riding to fences she absolutely REFUSES to jump if I'm even a little bit out of the saddle in a half-seat or the like, so I basically just have to sit back and let her take her own way to the fence while I keep her together and pointed the right way.
She's just a sweetie. No issues here, unless it's when she gets quick when we do a little course, but the next time I ride, my coach said I'd be using a slightly stronger bit than what I usually ride her in so I have a little bit more of a break system with Miss Forward.
Now, Otto, Otto kind of makes me nervous. He's a big guy, ex-GP jumper imported from Europe (now 19), so he's extremely well-schooled, super smart. Riding him makes me a little bit anxious, I'll be honest. I carry a crop and wear spurs because he's crazy good at evading aids, and him being an old man sometimes needs a little bit of incentive to get working. Him being such a big boy kind of intimidates me into being "okay, you can go as slow as you want" which makes me want to almost... hmm.. lean forward and do the work for him?
My issue with him is that I have SUCH a hard time getting back on my buns when riding him, he's got the best ground manners, but I just get very nervous and lean-y riding him and it almost makes me curl up?
Does anybody have any tips on how:
A) I can sit back on the way to fences with Gjingey
B) Become less anxious about the time before lessons/while I'm riding
C) Sit back on a big guy like Otto!
D) How would you classify me as a rider? Competent, novice, etc. Just looking for opinions! I know I have a longlong way to go.
KUDOS TO ANYONE WHO READS THIS. D: