Is my situation better than I think it is?
A lot of the time, I feel terrible about how I am progressing with my horse. Most of it is just due to the fact that 2 years ago when we bought her, even though she was still half green, she was going so well with the trainer and I just know that had she stayed with the trainer instead of being bought by me, she would be a much better horse than she is now. She was not abused or neglected or poorly trained, so I have no excuse for any misbehaviour she displays except that it's my fault...and I can only ever see to blame myself.
I'm going to describe my situation as best and as detailed as I can, and I know this whole thread sounds ridiculous, but I really want to know just how bad it really is, because I have a feeling I might be overreacting. I'm a pessimist in every area of life. So, read what I write below, and give me your honest thoughts-whether you think I'm ruining this horse and am a terrible match for her, or doing fine with her..or whatever.
For about the first year after I got her, I had no real clue how to handle horses and as a result was extremely timid around her. I was greener than she was, and to this day I firmly believe that had the trainer not put such a solid foundation on her, I would've been screwed many times over. Well, this past spring (spring 2010, I mean), I learned the concept of respect and personal space, and since then we have improved exponentially. The past 6 months or so, especially, have been monumental. I rode her bareback and bridleless for the first time this winter (with positive results), and every day I spend with her, every minute I spend on her back, I know I'm getting more confident and more knowledgable.
She doesn't have any vices, and is a complete dream to handle on the ground. Undersaddle, on rare occasions she may crowhop or bolt (short, 5/10-foot bolts, and is easily brought back under control) and she has reared about 3 times total in our time together. I'm not trying to downplay the situation, as rearing is one of the worst things a horse can do, but she's never gone full up, vertical, about to fall over backwards rear-her feet only come about a foot or so off the ground (from what I can judge from her back). She is not highly responsive undersaddle, but that is no fault of her own, and I plan to work on that this year when the snow melts, to get her as quiet and willing when riding as she is on the ground.
Spook-wise...hmm. She is not a flighty, bolting idiot, but she definitely has moments where she gets freaked out. She's usually very level-headed about tricky situations and -mostly- will stop and listen to me when we get in trouble. She's been caught in rope/wire/chain a few times, and has always stood perfectly still when I told her to-not that she's ever gone off her rocker in those types of situations, either. Generally, things like tractors, skidsteers, small animals, trampolines, kids and dogs running and jumping into the pool, flying objects, a bow and arrow being shot off her back etc don't bother her, but sometimes something as simple as a car driving down the lane will set her off. All in all, what you'd expect would scare her doesn't, yet she spooks when you are least prepared and at the stupidest things. It really doesn't help that I get nervous easily. I'm getting better at staying calm all the time, but when I think that something might set her off, I (though ashamed as I am to admit it) will go out of my way to avoid that object or place when I'm on her. Of course, there's also days where I'm in the "F*** you, I don't care what you want" mood and will push her to do more than I normally am comfortable with, but those are fairly rare.
I have messed her up pretty badly in some areas, however. She's now terrified of the snowmobile because of one scary instance a few months ago, and traffic is still a problem that I'm trying to get her over. With the trainer, she rode down trails past dirtbikes and four-wheelers, and with me she can barely ride down the ditch without getting upset and nervous over the passing cars and trucks. She doesn't ride off the property very well-partly due to lack of experience, and mostly because it's my fault and I get nervous and tense, anticipating a fight, and she gives me the reaction I was "looking for". She will go, but will be nervous and high-headed and calling for the other horses. All of the severe problems she has are completely my fault.
That's all I can think of right now. What do you think of my predicament? Am I being stupid? I know she genuinely is a good, honest, kind horse, but I can only ever seem to see the bad side of her, and there are many times when I think I should just sell her and get an old nag that I can just plod around on and gain some confidence. By sticking with my mare, I'm learning a lot, and slowly I am gaining confidence, but...it's tough sometimes.