I start lessons on Tuesday! I am looking forward to going back to square one and developing my skills. Starting off on lesson horse, then she is going to work with Cinna and then both of us together.
Excellent. And might also suggest if it is okay with who you are taking lessons from that you also do some grooming and leading with any other horses there.
Sort of like volunteer groom? Under supervision so that your handling skills and body movements are monitored for effectiveness. That will get you more in tune with what is going on, and get you over your fear/caution faster too. As well as the enormous difference between horses, you will see quickly that there are core actions that are so important in handling any horse. And attitudes too.
One thing working tremendously in your favor is your career, if you are working with psych patients one on one, rather than head of unit? You are very used to the atmosphere, and reading what is going on by body language alone.
And also aware of your own body movements too.
Excellent background for working with horses right there.
One of the hardest things to teach, IF it can be taught, is that very ability.
To READ a horse. In fact, most horsepeople I know saw if it is not bred in the blood, you can not teach it. I lean towards that myself.
Use every one of those skills/inner core of that with the horses you work with.