I've never posted anything before, but as I sit here (crying) I know I need some unbiased, objective help.
At age 55 (mid-life crisis) I started taking riding lessons. One thing led to another and I decided I needed my own horse. I fell in love (bad, I know) with a beautiful paint mare, about 11 years old, named Frosty. One blue eye, personality plus, I was smitten. I've had her for 4 years, have had her with trainers, been taking weekly lessons on her most of that time. She still scares me. She is so opinionated, and she has my number. She will go along with what I ask until she is tired of it, and then let's me know she's done. I am not the boss.
My goal was that by age 60 (10 mo's away) I would be able to load her in a trailer and take her for a traill ride. I now know I will never have the confidence to do that. The last time we tried to load her (there were 3 of us) it took forever. The bottom line is that although I love this horse, I don't think I'll ever feel I can ride her outside of my arena, and even then not without someone there as morale support.
I've always had dogs and cats, and for me, those are pets for life. I feel the same way about Frosty, but I know most horse owners feel differently. It's impractical to have a horse that you don't feel comfortable riding, not to mention expensive, and not the most optimum situation for the horse either.
I guess I'm looking for permission to move her on to a home where she would be loved, but also ridden. I never thought I would consider this, but yesterday, after she raced by me and aimed a kick at my head (she missed) I am re-thinking the situation.
Sorry to be so long winded.....any thoughts out there?
First of all, congratulations!! You made a big decision, to reach for a great goal, and you went for it. And you stuck with it, even when it got hard and scary and every survival instinct in you told you to give up. It takes a lot of lady-balls for that, so pat on the back. You're awesome.
Second, you already know the right answer here, you've admitted as much. Your horse will be much happier, regardless of who owns her, when she doesn't have to be the boss of a predator (aka, human). She's begging to be put in her place. Can you be the one to put here there? Not without help.
Some horses are just much more strong-willed than others; where you are in your riding career, you need one less so or you need a different kind of training than you've had so far. There's no shame in that!
You did the right thing buying a more experienced horse, but experienced doesn't always mean willing. And also, riding lessons don't teach you a heck of a lot with regard to becoming herd boss. You need some ground work training, to show you how to assert yourself in the horse's eyes.
Can you learn using videos? Yes. (I recommend Sean Patrick and Clinton Anderson). But if you're really low on confidence, and it sounds like you are, you'd be better off with a live trainer coming to your facility and showing you the ropes with whatever horse you have, be it this one or a new one. No matter what horse you have, you should have these skills. Even a dead broke willing horse can turn into a jerk if you're lacking skills on the ground.
I just sold a difficult mare, a horse we planned to keep forever. She was a sweet girl, but just too dominant, too stubborn, and too much work, frankly. We got a new horse who's just a dream to work with and she's happy at her new place doing trail rides every day out in the mountains where she came from. Not every horse-human match is a good one.
From what you've said, it sounds like it's time for both you and this horse to move on ... OR .... it's time to turn the page and start a whole new relationship together with the help of a well-qualified trainer who can show you the ground work end of things.
Either way, you're going to be okay. Don't give up on your dream. You can do this.