Muddy K made a very interesting comment about my management vs labor post.
Which comes first, having the confidence to trust the horse or trusting the horse to build confidence. My thought is a resounding both! I did ponder this idea for a bit. I thought back to my own journey and depending where I was at on my journey has made a huge difference in who I trusted: my trainer, the horse, or me.
It really depends on where one is on the journey to overcome fear. Both time that I decided to get back to riding and had success, I found a trainer I felt comfortable with. The first time, I was nervous to get on, but not as scared as I was this spring. Both trainers had horses that were up to the task of taking around a Nervous Nelly. I think that is the key, having a trustworthy horse.
I was looking for something specific when I found those trainers and horses. My first trip down this rode was several years ago. I am not going to talk about that time right now. This spring, I wanted to drive. I felt that was something I could do. I did have confidence that I could handle a horse on the ground. My experiences with R and Bill, helped my confidence in both of them and my skills grow. Everything kind of grows together.
When I decided that I wanted to ride, I already has some confidence in Bill. It was a bit of a leap of faith to get on his back, but I did have a good foundation started. Then I move on to Drew, it was again, confidence that R would not put me on an unsafe horse and my own new confidence in myself. Then after a few rides on Drew, I felt very comfortable with him. My confidence grew in him, that he was not going to just take off and he would stop when I asked.
Now I am past the fear of sitting on, walking, and trotting a horse. I actually feel really good about that. I was not really riding then I was just a passenger. So now I am actually riding. So when I am on Drew, I do have confidence that if I put my left leg on him, he will move off of it. But if he doesn't, I have confidence in myself that I get after him and make him.
So I am far from my journey being over yet. The worse thing I could do for myself now would be to go out and try to ride Kinsey or Abby. I do think that a person overcoming fear is going to have to look for those more trustworthy horses. Drew is not angel. He will spook, but he is not looking to dismount you. I don't think Abby would either, but we have some steering and stopping issues. Kinsey would try to dismount you.
So I guess more than trusting your horse, you need a horse that deserves your trust. From there you can build confidence in your horse and in yourself.