My daughter is good rider, but is inexperienced. I am a so-so rider that is also relatively inexperienced (have only recently returned to horses after a 20+ year hiatus). Daughter bought a horse that I had serious reservations about - a green broke high strung Paso Fino. As I feared, the horse was WAY too much for her to handle, and after being thrown a number of times, daughter lost her confidence.
Recently, daughter rescued a little QH mare and had her trained to saddle. Green rider + green horse is usually a recipe for disaster, but the little mare is very sweet, and really tries hard to do what is asked of her. The only time the mare gets worked up is if she gets confused about what is being asked of her. Riding her new horse has done wonders for daughter's confidence, and her riding has really improved.
My mare is notorious - everyone was terrified of her when we first got her - exept hubby and I. Guess we remembered enough from having horses before that we could handle the terrible ground manners and get her straightened back out. Now she is a dream horse - on the ground and under saddle. I can say this with certainty because I did manage to get my fat backide up into the saddle again, and rode my mare. I had a little accident the last time I rode that was NOT the horse's doing - it had nothing to do with riding - but mounting from an unstable spot is never a good idea, and I'm paying for it. However, it has not dampened my enthusiasm and I fully intend to ride again as soon as possible - once I get a better fitting saddle.
Here is the trick I taught my daughter to help her with her confidence - it also helped me with my touch of nerves when I started riding my horse: Picture yourself having a wonderful ride - everything going smoothly. If you come to an obsticle or situation that is cause for concern - picture yourself and your horse riding expertly threw it. Trust me - it works. Maybe not 100%, but getting yourself relaxed is more than half the battle, because it will also influence your horse's mood and reactions.
Nothing will help much if your horse does spook, and if you have a real problem horse, it might not work too well, but on most of the horse's I've been around - it works very well.
Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!