I've only had my four year old mare for a few months. When I first got her I took her to a professional trainer for six weeks to give her the basics. As far as I can tell she is a sweet natured, very intelligent girl who generally likes to please. She behaves quite well in the round pen and is picking up on new things like neck reining.
Since we don't have a trailer (yet... fingers crossed it'll be soon though) and we don't have anywhere to go except our own pasture or the road, I've been taking her for short trips down the road. So far she has been very good with passing cars, she does have her stubborn moments but usually we can work through them without too much trouble.
Yesterday... was unpleasant. We headed down a section of road that we have ridden before, but this time the wind was coming directly from the direction of a yard with a horse towards us. I think it's possible that she didn't smell him the last few times. He is an ancient gelding that doesn't whinny or get excited when we've ridden by before.
She acted totally terrified. She stopped, tried to turn around, and I could feel her quivering. She started doing that loud blow/snort and dancing around with her tail up in the air and generally acting like an idiot. I tried circling around, I tried getting off and walking her for a while/doing some circling and backing on the ground, and I would get a momentary respite but then she'd immediately go back into crazy fear mode. She did not buck or rear (thank goodness) but it felt like she was a hair's breadth away from it.
If we had been walking past a slaughterhouse or a snarling bear I could understand! I know her senses are sharper than mine so it's possible I missed something but I can so no reason whatsoever for her to act like this. I haven't had her long enough to really know how she is while she's in heat but she acted more terrified than flirty so I don't think that's it.
She has had some lovely rides where I swear somebody switched my green four year old with a been-there, done-that experienced trail horse in its teens. There is a group trail ride in a few weeks that I'd love to go on... but not if it's going to turn into some kind of rodeo.
Anyway... just venting I guess. If somebody has some advice or has been through this before, that would be cool... the next couple days the weather doesn't look great so I'll probably just do some groundwork at home.