How long is too long?/I'm a chicken
I have an 11 year old paint gelding who hasn't been ridden in almost 2 years. I am not a fearless rider, but I purchased him as a 3 year old anyway. I know, I know, not the smartest move. The newest horse we just purchased is 18 lol. At the time I was working with an instructor, and I was actually riding Phoenix quite a bit the first year I had him. Then I got pregnant with my youngest daughter, stopped riding for awhile, then got back to riding but was riding my older TB, because I knew that he was really easy and safe (much older, lots of training).
Phoenix started only being ridden sporadically after that. He was never "bad", just green and needed more miles. No buck or rear or anything like that. The last time he was ridden, some older 4H kids (friends of the family) were working him for me. Fearless, very experienced. An 18 year old girl who had ridden him many times prior was getting on, and he spooked a little. The one problem he has had is that he wants to go as soon as you put your foot in the stirrup. Normally he just starts walking, but that time something scared him (she didn't feel she needed anyone to hold him while she mounted) and he ran forward afew steps. She fell off as she was halfway on, hit the fence (no helmet), and ended up with a concussion. Someone else did get on him and ride for about 20 minutes that same day, and he was fine.
I haven't ridden him since, and no one else has either. Does a horse forget a lot about riding in 2 years? I plan to keep him forever, and would like to ride him again. Not looking for him to be a show horse, just to walk trot around the pasture and ride with my little girls when they ride their horses. They show, I'm never going to, so I don't need a show horse for myself.
I put the saddle and bridle on him recently, and he was completely un fazed. I was just to chicken to get on! I was thinking about doing some clicker training with him, and starting to lunge him again, which will hopefully build up my courage to get back on. What other steps can/should I take? Is 2 years too long to still expect him to be good?