Great post Cherie! I love reading your posts (I saved a similar post you did from a long time ago on training trail horses).
Since trail is what I "do" I really try to learn all I can.
I seem to have a knack for riding nervous/high strung horses and I think it's because I don't feed off of their fear. It's not that I don't get afraid, because there is always a time and place that I can get scared too. But I "don't sweat the small stuff" and get bent out of shape if the horse jumps at something or worries a little or refuses to walk or gets jiggy. I just have gotten to the point that I let that stuff roll off, do the best I can to control the situation and keep riding.
I see so many people get scared, tense and even mad at their horses because the horse gets a little scared/nervous and it just escalates the whole problem. It goes from a tiny blip on the radar to all-out war.
I usually let my horses stop and look at scary things for a moment or two and then attempt to ride on like it is nothing. Most of the time that works for me. I will keep in mind that perhaps I should just ride on like it is nothing to begin with. Sometimes a horse has so much fear of an object you can tell that if you just ride on past the horse will try to flee from it. If I feel that is going to be the case I let them "look" until I feel we can ride past it without fleeing. It seems like those few seconds lets the horse settle a bit instead of doing a knee-jerk reaction.
But in any approach, the rider needs to take the attitude that whatever the scary object is, it is nothing at all and not project nervousness to the horse.
Thank you for the great advice.