Yes, I agree with all of you, I have a riding instructor, and I truly believe I would never of been able to make this amount of progress, in twice the time, if I just had my friends teaching me. I know, I also have gained a huge
amount of confidence since lessons. :) So, trust me, I know how you feel. I am an english rider, and so everything is about position, (well other things obviously too, but position is a very big part of it, without position you wouldn't place too well in a show) So, if I were to ever show without my trainer's advice, and pointers, I don't think I would be able to place in any shows in the future. :)
So, sorry for this MONSTER of a reply, but I just wanted to tell you my experience XD
Ps. Great job with not falling off with that big of a spook !