Recently I have been feeling a little down, for various reasons which i'm sure are mostly stress related. One of my sources of stress is the horses I care for. I've been riding since I was 9, for many years at riding schools, where I was quite confident and was always praised for my good posture and how connected I looked with the ponies I rode. After my riding school closed, I started working at a Manor's stables, caring on my own for 5 shetland ponies, 3 shire horses, an arab, a thoroughbred and a large pony. They live outdoors as a herd, and I am the only person who rides them, usually the large pony every weekend, and occasionally I bring everyone in for a groom or whatever else they need when I have the time. Naturally, they all have behavioural problems because of the lack of handling, riding and training they recieve, and this has slowly but surely edged away my confidence.
I have been working there for 2-3 years, and I now find myself thinking I am a poor rider, have bad posture and am scared or riding and handling the horses. Every week I dread the weekend, thinking 'how are they going to hurt me this time' or, 'what will the owner make me do this time?'. The owner is a crazy 70-year-old man, who lives in the manor house and has no fear whatsoever, and I panic everytime we go riding together because he finds it 'exiting' to do dangerous things. I can vaguely remember going for my first gallop with him, and finding it exhilirating, but now I too scared to let my pony or horse gallop full speed.
Has anyone had similar problems or fears? If so, what helped you let go of that fear and put your faith in the horse again? I cannot simply stop riding, because there would be no one to take care of the horses if I left, and it would look quite bad for my veterinary medicine application.
Sorry this is really long-winded...