OK, so sounds like it's not feasible that you find a different horse, and the problem is more about you rather than her anyway(respectfully - it usually is, not meaning to single you out...). Sounds like you appreciate that, and you CAN overcome it & become a great, confident leader with her. I do believe(from firsthand experience, as well as teaching scared kids & animals) you need to change your way of thinking/mindset about it all, to do so tho.
but I'm not real confident anymore and I think that above all is the problem. Not my eyes so much--except that they are part of the reason for me having lost confidence
Yes, the crux of the matter - that's why I wrote your eyesight possibly *exacerbates* issues - meaning I didn't believe that was the *cause*. Remember, horses are prey/herd animals. They get nervous & reactive without their herdmates/people they can trust, so if she can't trust you, due to your lack of confidence/nervousness, doesn't have other horses/people to rely one, she's of course going to be nervous, reactive, NOT safe. Through no fault of her own. It's just part of her being a horse. She may have been the 'perfect horse' with her owner, because she trusted her. She was probably 'in her pocket' when you rode with her, because she knew she couldn't trust you.
Horses 'read' emotions & attitudes of ours we often aren't even aware of ourselves, so if you know you're a nervy, inconfident person, imagine how 'loud & clear' that's coming through to her. & horses can't think rationally, so she just feels your fear/anxiety & how can she feel safe with you, when you clearly don't feel safe within yourself?
So, just like you would with a scared animal or child, I think to overcome that & gain confidence, esp with an animal who's going to react to your attitude, you need to stick to 'easy' stuff that's not likely to cause any reactivity/lack of confidence with either you or your horse. That may well mean sticking to 'baby steps' for a while. But with repetition of easy stuff, good feelings, etc, you will both become confident with those baby steps, and can move on to something that pushes you **just a little** out of your 'comfort zone'. Then with repetition of that 'level', you will both become confident with that & then find the next 'level'... etc. In that way, you can gradually 'stretch' your 'comfort zone' & become braver, without pushing either of you 'in the deep end', putting you in a situation that makes you anxious, makes her feel she needs to fend for herself...
Dee just wants to be in her owner's pocket--whether I'm on her back or not. LOL Annoying and hard to get pointers. But maybe now that I've ridden a couple of months, that would be a good thing to work on--getting her to listen to me with her owner present
As said, I think that is a 'symptom' if you like, of her lack of confidence in you. While 'getting her to listen' while her owner's present may be a good way of tackling it, I think the reasoning is not just about 'getting her to listen' but that she will be more confident with her trusted leader, so she will be in a better state to listen to you - it will be easier, less stressful for her.
I am done running away from challenges.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, no, don't run from challenges, but don't go at them like a 'bull at a gate' either & try to force issues. Instead, try to better understand & be considerate of your horse's feelings & reason for being reactive, and be kind & easy on yourself too!
I think it's my own anxiety feeding her. And THAT I'm not going to run away from. I think she's the horse I need to be my mirror,
Yep, sounds like she's being that. So recognise that & realise that to change it, you need to find ways(like baby steps, making stuff easy & fun) to avoid 'going there'. Don't 'run away' but don't go there in the first place if you can help it.
I think I've made some mistakes that might have made her a little more nervous too, and I'm working on correcting that
And remember, we ALL do. And we/you still will make more. Don't knock yourself for it, just try to learn for it - which it sounds like you are.