This is rather surprising to me because I have conquered fear in the past. MANY years ago, I had a bad fall and broke all the ribs on my left side and punctured a lung. The difference being that the emergency room sent me home and told me to see the Dr. In the am....who was absolutely astounded and slapped me in the hospital with a punctured lung...where I sat for about 4 days with a chest tube! This happened on a horse that was new to me, and I was fairly new to riding. It took a long time to get my nerve back mainly because I was stupid and kept trying to work with that horse --- and we wern't suited for each other.
So when Mr. Big Stuff almost killed me, I was grateful to be alive and really thought to myself that since I had done this once before, this time would be a snap! Especially since he had always been such a PITA that I thought if I can handle him, I can CERTAINLY deal with a dead broke, calm horse. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my hard-won confidence had fled??
Blossom is nothing that a normal, confident rider couldn't handle. There is not a mean bone in her body. She isn't willful, opinionated and a general bad actor like Big was. I have made the determination that I WILL ride. I'm just not entirely sure that I want to ride a horse that spooks at squirrels! I'm not talking about a horse that just spooks in place...stops and listens. I'm talking about a mare that jumped sideways and almost knocked me down....over a squirrel rustling in the woods.
I just have entirely too much imagination. If a squirrel sets her off, what will happen when a deer jumps out in front of us? I am no longer young and convinced that I'm invincible. I'm very aware that horses are animals, not machines, and that unplanned things happen in the woods and/or on the trail.
I merely want to stack the deck as much as possible in my favor. I was told her favorite gait was a walk and you had to urge her to go faster, and practically DEMAND speed from her with the sight of a crop. Great: A slow, calm mare, slightly lazy. Just the speed for an old lady who really doesn't want any excitement. And that's what I rode when I climbed on her in Kentucky.
I don't know if it's the change in location but she's a different horse in SC. I'm HOPING that she will calm down. She shows signs that encourage me. She walks around the parked cars, she walks past a tractor...while it's running and shows no signs of nervousness at all. Yet a squirrel or moving traffic unhinges her? I'm HOPING she just needs to get used to things. If she's good with Mike, Bill and Jim on this ride on Saturday, I'll be encouraged.
Mike (the trainer's) pasture has a railroad track running down one side with a long train coming through every other day... and a road with traffic that crosses the railroad. Not a ton of traffic, but traffic. She'll either get used to the noise and movement or she won't.
I can work with Blossom in the round pen and on the farm, BUT...I wouldn't be comfortable riding a trail horse that spooked at squirrels even if I was back in my usual form. And I'm not. I'm far from it. So, we'll see. It will be a work in progresss. If her owner/breeder misjudged her, and she is skittish and spooky in new places and not the laidback, experienced horse I expected, then I'll re-home her with her original owner, or someone braver, and start looking again.
BOTH of us can't be fearful. I'm intent on getting my confidence back and right now I don't have a lot of it to share with a fearful horse. With all his faults, (and they were legion) Mr. Big Stuff had not one ounce of fear in his body. It was rather like riding a small earth mover: point him and he went.
I have little or no experience with a reactive, sensitive horse. I'm reduced to using a local phrase: If she settles, I might could manage...we'll have to see.