This problem is getting ridiculous, but for the first time in a while, I feel unable to handle it..in a way.
My mare has been afraid of traffic for a long time. But the thing is: only some traffic. One day we can pass by a flippin' dump trunk, the next she gets spooked by a little car. There seems to be no telling what days she's going to be spooked and which not.
I am pretty sure that, like most every other problem I've ever had with her, I'm the cause. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was something stupid I did that taught her to be afraid of traffic in the first place. I know I must be giving her signals. I know I must tense up, even a tiny bit (and even the times when I feel like I'm staying calm), and cause her to respond accordingly, but I just mentally can't overcome it.
I keep thinking that even if I do relax, she'll still be scared, and I feel like I need to be prepared and keep myself safe (be tense) rather than just put my faith in something I don't believe in (her walking calmly on). I know this is completely wrong and completely ridiculous, but my unconfidence leads me to think some pretty ridiculous things.
I tried the advice from Cherie's trail riding thread (which I've been utilizing for everything else with fantastic results), bringing her head out and pushing her shoulder in and the one day I did it properly, it seemed to work, but normally I'm too tense to even try it.
Her 'freakouts' are not major: usually, her head will just go up, her back will hollow out and she'll prance a few steps but not go anywhere, sometimes she'll go sideways about 5 feet. Her spooks haven't been more severe than that for a long time, but I'm a chicken and the type of person who thinks any spook is a bad spook.
On our other older, well broke, quiet and experienced pony, I can ride in traffic with zero fear. I ride her with transport trucks, motorcycles, big tractors, everything, without a moment's hesitation. But when I get on my other horse, I lose it.
So, #1: How do I get MYSELF over it, first of all? How do I calm down enough to keep her calm?
#2: Since an even moderately quiet horse around traffic will contribute to keeping me calm, do you think it would be a good idea for me to pony my horse out off of the quiet, traffic safe pony? I don't usually have anybody competent (not saying I am, either :roll:) to ride with me, but I think that if I just took a few hours and went road riding with a super laid back horse, it might help my mare. Because no matter how much of it is my fault, I think that now she does have some fear of it that goes beyond just my tension.
Thanks in advance.