Well, I am actively applying myself to conquering my fears. It started on Saturday. I went to a show with two girls from our barn, basically to serve as team support, official show photographer, and boot wiper. :-) It turned out to be a strangely motivating experience. It was hard to watch them both in the ring showing, while I sat on the sidelines doing nothing with the mare I have had for two years. I have to add - one of the girls who showed has only had her formerly "crazy" gelding since December - and was already doing at least a flat class. I was so proud of them, and so disappointed in myself, that I subconciously channeled my frustration into making some progress with Delilah.
I had a great ride Saturday after the show. We worked on mostly flatwork, walk and trot, and hopped over a tiny brush fence that she has never seen before. We had a great ride, and another boarder's mom even snapped a few pictures when I wasn't watching!
Then I came out on Sunday and decided to up the ante. We haven't cantered (on purpose, HA!) since probably last summer or fall. (Mostly due to my being a complete chicken &%$@) So I decided it was time to hop a small vertical to get her naturally cantering off. We have had a lot of trouble asking for the canter in the past, I'm sure due to my anticipation and her excitement combined. Turns out, it went beautifully. I came out last night and had the same goal. All went well in our flatwork and warming up, so I hopped a tiny vertical and ended up in a nice relaxed canter again. She still falls on her inside shoulder and motorcycles around a little, but all the head-tossing and tripping has yet to surface. (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!) I was so ecstatic, I put on my big girl pants and went for a conditioning trot around the mile-long lane that borders our farm - formerly a very scary undertaking. All in all, it went beautifully. We had a really forward but comfortable trot all the way around. We were almost back to the arena, walking along and cooling off, when a car rushed by and she spooked right out from under me - almost. I managed to somehow regain my position in the saddle and stay on, but I nearly crapped myself, all the while laughing hysterically. Leave it to Delilah - phenomenal ride, and then she acts like a fool in the last five minutes.
You gotta love mares. :-)