Originally Posted by Debbiesgypsy
I think Horseboy has it right on. When my gelding back in the day would get spooked at some thing I would turn him right to it and ride him right up to it. I would then stop him and let him get a good look or smell at what ever was spooking him then we would ride off.
I used to do that, but eventually, my horse would want to stop and get a good look at EVERYTHING that was remotely scary. Instead, we did trust building activities - if something was scary, we rode right up to and over it (or if that wasn't an option we would circle it or go past it) and I wouldn't let her stop to look. Usually I would sing a song or talk to her casually.
Eventually, she learned to trust my judgement rather than her instincts, and became much calmer. If I wasn't scared of it, it must not be scary (as opposed to her instincts to be afraid of everything). If I wasn't balking at that plastic tarp and big brush pile or rolling suitcase then it must be okay. She trusts me to decide if something is worth running away from.
OP, has her routine changed? Her feed? What is it she's afraid of? If it's a specific thing, you can work with her on it. Otherwise, just be calm and don'e react to her. If she runs off, just go get her, bring her back and continue what you were doing as though nothing happened at all. Work on the trust exercises, on her being as calm as you. It's a lot of work, but it worked really well for me.