Originally Posted by Northern
I'm not being contrary or bashing, but "fake it" doesn't work with horses, & is also risky for your safety. Horses are tuned into your emotions (you're right that she can tell you're nervous), so bluffing doesn't fool them, in the first place.
What you should do depends upon the horse. If she's a nervous horse who requires the rider to have the confidence, then she's the wrong horse for you at this time. You'd need a horse with the confidence to teach you, like a good schoolmaster.
I don't want to say that it's impossible for you to gain the skills to partner this horse, doing all that you can to improve, but you can cross "faking it" off of your list. She knows when you're faking confidence, & will do as her "horsenality" dictates to take care of herself.
Just to clarify, I agree with you. Horses KNOW for certain when you're nervous, and some (if not most) will try and take advantage of that in some way.
I was trying to say that if you make your body look confident, it's easier for the mind to follow. Just sitting up straight, wrapping my legs around my horse, taking a deep breath, and looking up improves my riding because when my body feels confident, it reminds my brain to be confident too. I would never want the OP to put themselves in a dangerous position where they are doing too much just to 'prove' confidence.