Originally Posted by Honeysuga
When she jumps back, go with her, don't jerk the lead or fight her, that just reinforces it in her head that it is scary. Just go with her until she stops, then use your lead or carry a crop or small buggy whip and get her feet moving around you to disengage her mind. When she relaxes move forward and reward her for doing so, but do not let her avoid what she is afraid of. Keep her working until she chills out. The worst thing you can do is let a scared horse stand still.
^^^ Agreed! Let her jump back, let her be scared, but then I'd make her back up some more. You want to be scared and nearly rip my arm out? I promise I'm a little scarier than that ditch...
I think you need to do alot more groundwork with your mare before encountering anything else she finds scary. You have to gain her trust and respect before she's going to stop doing this to you. The initial groundwork has to be there in order to overcome fear issues such as this...why would she trust you to lead her across a ditch if she doesn't trust you in the first place?
Once you have her trust and respect, if she continues with this, I'd let her back up, ask for a couple more steps, then forward a couple steps, then back, then forward and then back...until eventually you're standing right beside what she was scared of and she didn't realise because you've effectively kept her mind busy. The BIGGEST thing is YOU can't be scared of her, or the situation for that matter. If she's truely scared of whatever it is you want her to do, and then she senses that YOU'RE scared, it's only going to get worse.