Originally Posted by Hoofprints in the Sand
You're probably right -- I just don't know how to stop myself from THINKING she will spook!
Okay this is going to sound really "out there" but it works.
This is a technique that is used by many athletes including high level riders. Visualization. What you will do is envision your next ride on her.
In great detail "see" each and every step, from the tacking up to the dismount and everything in between. If you have found that you tense up as soon as you mount, you will envision this and breath deeply and rythmatically and feel yourself relax. See the entire ride, also when you get tense and what you will do to overcome that, breathing, disengaging if she moves out too fast or begins to spook at whatever, ect... Also feel the control and the joy.
What you are doing is training your subconscious to respond and react without emotional panic. It will become an automatic response (like you use to have until you got hurt).
Through out the exercise, you will concentrate on your breathing, staying calm and in control, because you do know what to do, it's the fear that has blocked you.
After my accident with Walka, I did this before every session. I came to realize that the fear I felt, though perfectly normal after an accident, would eventually stop me from what I love if I didn't acknowledge and deal with it.
Hope this helps you , it did me. Take your time, small sure steps are better than unsteady leaps at this time.