To make a long story short, the last horse that I owned completely wrecked my confidence! I brought him along as a baby, paid a lot of money in training, showed him successfully, but throughout the 5 years that I owned him, he always had an edge to him. He could be ridden through a windstorm and all the crazy commotion of horse shows didn't unnerve him, but if we moved a brick in the landscaping he would come unglued. So, last June I sent him to a new home because riding him had become more of a fearful chore than anything and I hated that. When I sold him I was not planning on getting another horse of my own right away, instead I began to school all of the lesson horses at the barn for the trainer in an attempt to gain both my confidence and enjoyment of riding back. It worked. I started to look forward to riding and I could feel myself beginning to trust horses again.
In late September of last year I received a phone call from my trainer about a horse that he had heard of that was in a really bad situation and was in need of rescue and rehabilitation. He knew the horse and knew that if I would take her under my wing and get her back up to weight and health that she would be an excellent horse. So, although I wasn't planning on owning another horse, I went to look at Phoebe and couldn't say no to those big, sad brown eyes. Over the fall and winter we put weight on her, filled in the gaps in her history with info we gathered, and began to work her under saddle. Turns out that sad mare was, at one point, an imported Irish TB who was bought and trained to be a very accomplished hunter jumper and the school master I had been looking for to gain my confidence back. She truly is a point and click jumper, has been there done that, and will jump any fence you put her in front of without batting an eyelash.
Here is where the problem comes in...even though I know this about her, I still choke up before fences because of the confidence that I lost on my old horse. I think too much and it messes her up. I don't know how to solve this. Sometimes I am able to be the confident rider, and, on those days, we can jump courses without batting an eye and it is effortless. But, on days like today, my mind starts running, my body language chokes up and it causes her to wiggle down the lines, messes with her tempo, and makes her anxious. Even though she still goes over all the fences still (God love her) I know that I'm messing her up by causing her to be anxious. We have absolutely no problems doing flat work, equitation or very low crossrails. It's the combo lines and verticals that get me.
Anyone have any suggestions to offer or any similar stories to share that will make me feel like all hope is not lost?