Tomorrow I'll be taking my horse on a "trail ride". Well, my dad is going to drop me and my horse off at his friend's place, drive home, get his own horses, and my horse and I will drive to the ride with the friend and his team in the big trailer (our trailer is too small to hold 3 horses). There will be a few riders there, but mostly there will just be teams and sleighs, and we'll be going on a roughly 4-hour ride through the woods.
However, I'm getting nervous. I'm trying my best to stay calm, because the more nervous I am, the worse things will turn out, but the more I think and dwell on it, the more anxious I get. My horse hasn't been out around teams a lot, and those she has seen, she's been terrified of. I know after 4 hours following and being followed by them, she'll get used to it, but the first few minutes are going to be nerve-wracking. As if that weren't enough, I haven't rode all week because the weather's been bad, so she's going to be fresh and full of energy as well as spooky.
Not going is not an option for me. I want (and need) the experience, and so does my horse. The more places I take her, the more things we see and experience (and survive) together, the better we'll be and the quieter she'll become, but...I worry way too much. I always focus on what might go wrong. I want to go too because it's too late to back out and I don't want to be a coward and give that impression to horsemen I respect. I shouldn't worry about what others will think, I know, but I've already backed out of one of these rides last summer because of disastrous results, and I won't do it again.
I'm wondering if it would be fair to my horse to ride her for about half an hour before we trailer over to my dad's friend's place-walk and trot, get any possible sillies out in an environment we both are familiar with. It'll only take the edge off her energy, but it might make all the difference. But she's unfit and fat, and I'm hesitant because it might not be fair to work her before a 4-hour ride through snow.
What should I do? I guess now is the time of year when it's best for her to see things-in the deep snow, where (hopefully) she won't be able to put up too much of a spook before tiring herself out. I really want to go, and get this sort of thing on our record, but...I'm worried that it'll all go wrong and only make her more spooky. Does anyone have any calming or encouraging/helpful advice for me? I'm getting too stressed and worried, as always, but I can't really help it.