I have a horse that I bought at 18 months old, by the time he was 5 he was a trail pro, darn near fearless and would go anywhere he was asked to. Anyway, he went into an arena for the first time since I bought him at that point. Every corner had a bear in it and fire breathing dragons where trying to rip the roof off to get into the arena for a snack. Talk about spooky! His fear of the arena completely took me by surprise. He now gets ridden quite a bit in an arena but it took him a while to learn that bears really are not hiding in the corners sharpening their claws for some horse steak.
What you might be riding is a horse more used to riding out in the open than an arena. Another point to consider is how long has the horse been at that stable? It takes horses up to a year (some longer) to fully adjust to a new environment after being moved. More so for horses that have only been moved a once or twice in their life.
All interesting points, this is a mare who had been in her old home for a number of years, and for the last two had been a total pasture puff, so coming to a new place was a shock for her. Her natural tendency is very head up and alert, different to Gibbs for sure. We did haul her out to a show last weekend and she was like this Dress rehearsal (1).jpg
Most of the time, LOL. head up, very alert, but she never 'did' anything, she was a handful in the arena, but again never really put a foot wrong, just had to ride her through it.
She would probably be fine out, but then we are not talking about a horse issue, we are talking about a rider issue, my confidence is still rebuilding, and as long as I have an enclosed area to work in I am kind of OK, with minor exceptions, but just the thought of 'outside' just puts me into a state of panic, that means that in practice it can't happen......at least not now. There is ZERO point in pushing a person to the point that they shut down and become ineffective, every point in pushing them to take the next baby step toward a bigger goal.
I was going to apologize for derailing the thread, but I think this is a great subject......I was mocked, a lot, by a certain poster on another board for "only being and arena rider" and that is plain wrong, it is my choice to ride in an arena, my choice to take lessons, compete, get in front of a judge and get feed back. My horse, my time, my money MY CHOICE. I never, ever, ever look down on those who choose not to compete, I totally hate it when people describe themselves as "just a trail rider" because to me being able to ride out and about is not a "just"
It is kind of sad though when a certain type of trail rider, thinking back to my unpleasant stalker, derides any sort of arena work, thinks that their own way of riding is everything, is not open to learning or developing their skills or understanding in anyway, especially when they believed some very scary things!