Good advise, Mike. I find that many problems occur when the rider does not understand that it is he/she that is causing it to escalate. It typically comes from lack of knowledge.
Much of the work can and should be started from the ground teaching respect and instilling in your horse confidence in you that you will not put him in danger but also that decisions come from you not him.
Mike, in another post, suggested getting a horse/rider to a "horseman" and not a "riding instructor". That is a good suggestion. One phrase I like to use is that some people have 20 years working with horses and some people have 1 year twenty times. It means that the amount of time you've been around horses does not equate to your knowledge of them.
An instructor will teach you how to sit, while a horseman will teach you how to ride.
Unfortunately, I don't have any horse people to point out the faults in my riding >-<
It's just me and my not-so-horse-savvy dad who rode some English 30-odd years ago.
How does one properly ride through a spook? Or handle a horse that has started to buck or rear? I was never in my life taught how to handle a bucking, rearing, or spooking horse. I was taught how to sit and how to hold my hands yes, but never 'If your horse starts to freak out'...
Yesterday Loki spooked big time, whipped around, bolted, and bucked the entire way back to the barn. I kept my reins and hung on until he started to slow down a bit at which point I whoa'd him, did a few circles in the arena/pasture and took him back out to the same place were he had spooked. I then had him do patterns around trees until he was relaxed and not jittery anymore, at which point I then took him back in and dismounted.
He spooked because of a marriage mobile with cans dragging and big white balloons everywhere. He hates plastic bags, and the balloons looked exactly like them. I'm working with getting him to accept such dangerous, frighting things, but the going is slow.