Originally Posted by Cherie
I do not think she needs more ground work. I do not think she needs to be stopped or disengaged or put in a lot of circles unless they are done loping.
I think she needs you to show her that you have more confidence.
I think you need to give her job.
I think you need to ride harder and faster with a purpose.
One of you needs to be the bold leader here and you need to step up to the plate and be the one. If you only have open field, it is more difficult. Are there trees around the edge? If there are, weave between them (like pole bending) at a strong trot. Circle around every 3rd or 4th one -- a different direction each time. Use inside leg to get nice 'open' round circles. Then stop every now and then and do a 'rollback' to the outside and reverse that circle.
I have found that horses that lack confidence have usually been ridden by riders that lack confidence. You cannot get more from a horse if you do not ask for more. They do not just 'jump up' and make themselves into 'broke' horses. If she was a nice trail horse before you got her, I am sure she had a confident and not a tentative rider. She will go right back to being that nice trail horse when you give her a chance.
I hope this makes sense. I am not trying to be critical. I would like to see you become that confident rider that can go out and have a LOT more fun and a lot fewer worries.
In answer to your original question -- neither disrespect or inexperience.
As always Cherie you took the words right out of my mouth. I was going to say that mileage for you and your mare is the solution. How do you turn a horse into a great trail horse? You ride it out on trails. Gain confidence in your horses abilities by pushing her up and down little banks, walk her in the rough ground beside a path and learn to have faith in her abilities to stay on her feet and negotiate rough terrain. As you push her into more "challenging" situations she will learn to respect you more and more.