Lesson: Never fear anything; with time and training, you and your horse can accomplish everything.
I'm still learning this lesson, but I'm very confident that if you have a good horse and you've developed trust and mutual respect, there is nothing you can't do together.
Beautiful has grown up, and she's developed an inner strength, I guess it would be maturity, that you can see in her eyes and in her actions. This is definitely her year. Last year, she was not ready for saddle training--or at least I didn't feel she was ready. I thought she was too reactive. This year, there's a big difference. She stands her ground and she's more confident. Could I have rushed saddle-training last year? Sure. But I'm glad I didn't.
Which brings me to another aspect of fear--that sometimes it's a gift, if we learn to listen to it. So, I'm saying don't fear, but listen to your fear, and those two statements seem to contradict themselves, and maybe they do. Here's an example of what I mean:
When I boarded, my trainer and friend boarded her horses and the horses in training at the same place. In fact, some of our horses shared an end panel together. We'd see a lot of each other back then and I saw her train a lot of horses.
One day, I remarked about how gentle the whole process was. There was never any bucking. She was never in any dangerous situations that I saw. (She did occasionally send horses back to owners early in the training.) But of the horses she kept in training, which was most of them, there was never any bucking or wild, scary antics. It was really calm and peaceful. She'd be on their backs, stroking their necks, quiet. She did as much as they could handle and then called it a day.
When I commented about it, she said, "If I've done my groundwork right, there shouldn't be any bucking."
The horse had nothing to fear and she had nothing to fear...because she was laying the groundwork every step of the way.
There are things I don't do with my horse even if my friends are doing it. There are places I don't take them. I like to think of it more as a warning than fear. Maybe the warning is saying you haven't prepared your horse for this, or maybe it's saying you aren't prepared for this, but either way, I'm learning to listen to it. So, if I use "warning" instead of fear, I could say, Listen to your inner warnings and respect them, but if you've done your groundwork and you have a good horse (a good match for you) and a strong partnership based on respect and trust, you have nothing to fear.
Does this make sense?
****As for the case of the missing water, Laura was correct; we'd left the hose in the tank and it worked like a vacuum to suck the water back into the spigot and empty the entire thing. This left it bone-dry for the horses--teaching us the lesson: Never leave the hose in the water tank after it's done filling up.