Hi & welcome!
Originally Posted by NomadicgypsyAmy View Post
I work with an amazing Appaloosa, Nic, but the trainer is ... well, she's an old cowgirl. I have serious panic attacks, sometimes for a day or two.
Not sure what you mean by this, but I get the idea you're not comfortable with your instructor & she pushes you too far out of your comfort zone so you panic? If that's the case, but you like her, I'd talk to her about it! Tell her how you're feeling & that you want to take things slower. If she can't 'come to the party' & teach you at a level you're comfortable with, then find another instructor who can - you won't gain more ability - & therefore confidence - without pushing your boundaries a little, but by the same token, you won't if you push too far either.
Plenty here - including me - have been through, or are working thru fears of riding. Some, like you, are 'newbies', some, like me, have ridden & trained horses for years fearlessly, before something happened & we suddenly became fearful. I reckon the best way through it is 'stretching' your comfort zone in 'baby steps', just like you'd treat a horse that was afraid of something.
Start at whatever level you ARE comfortable at. If it's only sitting on a stationary horse, so be it. Then do a little more than you're comfortable about, but return to your 'comfort zone' *before* you become seriously concerned. This might be just walking on the horse. So ask him to walk on, even for a few metres to start with, before asking him to stop again. Do this repeatedly until that's your new 'comfort zone' & you can do it without any worry. Then ask for a little more - further or faster, whatever. Depends how you're feeling as to how fast or slow you might push yourself. Don't worry about what you 'should' be able to do.
Don't know that I'd rush to getting your own horse yet, until you gain more skill & confidence, but depends on what support you have...
feel it's too small for 2-3 horses and there aren't any trails in our neighborhood. We can ride at her place, like 100 acres. There are a couple of other places to board within 15 miles
Yeah, that size property is way too small for a couple of horses, if you want them to have grazing - they will have eaten it out in no time if on it permanently & need feeding. But even on bigger property a few horses on permanently will eat out the grass & need hay for at least part time. And living on your property with free access to hay is fine - & will be way cheaper than boarding. If you divided it into a few paddocks, &/or only give them part time access to the most, then depending on land, climate etc, you could manage so they have a little grazing regularly, not trash the whole paddock.
If your horse is at home, you'll have far more time, without pressure, to get confident with them, but if you're going to board, I'd be keeping him somewhere with a good instructor close by, because it sounds like you're not ready to ride alone yet.
NB. didn't see your update before I posted above.