Sometimes I think that riding all the nastiest horses in the world will only make you a good rider - not a good trainer. To have confidence you have to be able to know what you're going to do when a situation arises, and trust that you have the ability to work through the situation - not just be able to hang on. Trust me, nobody can or wants to ride through bucking, rearing, bolting, etc. So instead of waiting for those things to happen, which they inevitably will, you have to start thinking of training your horse so those things don't occur.
Firstly, unless I have been riding every single day, I do ground control before every ride. I lunge, then I flex, then I do hip disengagements, then I do pivots, and I can basically tell from there what I need to fix before I get on. If a horse won't relinquish her hip from the ground, I can promise you she won't from the saddle. So that's an area you should diagnose and work on. If she's fresh on the lunge, let her lunge, etc. When you're on the ground you can develop a doctor's sense of diagnosis. Take the time to diagnose where your problem areas will be before you put yourself in a dangerous position.
The same goes for in the saddle. When you're warming up is the perfect time to diagnose problems in the saddle. And by warming up, I mean walking, flexing, pivoting, turning on the forehand, leg yielding, sidepassing, hip disengagements - and ALL that before you even trot. Then you do your transitions and work up to the trot. If there is a problem in an area, you need to devise a plan to deal with it and "train". Once you realize you have a lot of power over your horse - because you are smarter, not stronger - you will have confidence again because you're in control and not a passenger.
Last edited by oh vair oh; 04-02-2012 at 04:19 PM.