I'm a little bit of a holding pattern right now. I sent an email to my trainers about selling Tessa and I got back a brief reply saying they would like to talk to me about some ideas. It's the last two weeks of busy time for them, with the championship dressage show next weekend so I'm not surprised that we don't have time to talk it out yet.
Also, though I feel good about deciding to sell Tessa, I also am open to ideas that change things. What I know for sure (for DAMN sure) is that the status quo is NOT working for me and I won't let it go on any longer. I will be interested to hear what their ideas are.
I also met up with a friend of mine who is quite talented with horses and asked her opinion. She was of the 'devil you know' opinion and felt like I should stick with Tessa. But she didn't really have any solid ideas on how to make that work, so I'm taking that with a grain of salt.
I went out yesterday for a ride and Tessa was mostly pleasant, forward and non spooky. Since I'm reasonably sure my trainers are going to have ideas about Tessa that don't involve selling her, I thought I should push the envelope a bit and try doing the things I want to do with my new, well-broke horse.
So I took her outside. I didn't ride (I wasn't brave enough to ride this time) but I did make her go through the gate and part of the way down the driveway. The good news is that we walked. I carried a dressage whip and when she froze up, I simply waved the whip around behind me without touching her. We paused a few times, but mostly we marched forward. She was tense. I was tense. But we did it.
Then we went on a walk around the barn. There was a section where she tuned me out with her head high and started spinning. It's that sort of behavior that I don't want. It scares the daylights out of me.
My fantasy horse would take new things in stride. I could ride or walk and my fantasy horse would walk next to me, mellow and happy. My fantasy horse would be Tessa minus two major things - her spooking/tenseness and her not wanting to go forward and feeling the need to buck/kick about it.
So, since we probably have a few weeks before I will get a chance to sit down with my trainers, I thought I would work on building confidence for Tessa and I. Are there specific exercises you can do to build a horses confidence? If you send a horse out for training with a confident trainer, will it be able to come back and handle less confident riders? How long does it take to build confidence? Have any of you had to build up a horses confidence? Nature or nurture? Books I should read?