Yeah, okay, I know you're more interested in River than me, but too bad. Feel free to tl;dr this post.
I'm 26, in grad school, and been horse crazy my whole life, but I only got involved with them when I was 19. I didn't start really riding for another year and a half. (My riding experience before consisted of riding and falling off of my friend's sister's friend's ponies, and a couple trail riding things.) So I've been riding for about 6 years. I don't really have much to show for it, either. I haven't done much showing, and nothing besides local schooling shows.
At this point, you're probably wondering, why the eff did you think it would be a good idea to get a fresh OTTB? Well, um, hi, have you LOOKED at the pictures of the OTTB in question? I might be a bit of an idiot, but I'm not stupid.
And anyway, it's not like I've ever ridden a really GOOD horse. I learned to ride and jump on a horse who enjoys galloping flat out to the fence and then slamming on the brakes at the last second. I've worked with a horse who thinks it's fun to randomly take off bucking for no reason whatsoever. I took a horse from jumping groundpoles like they were 3' to doing 2'6"-3' comfortably. And I have worked with one recently off the track TB before (that's another post for another day).
So, while I am admittedly not the most qualified person for River, I'm not the least qualified either. Probably.
Here's me and my dirty stopper, first and only time over 3'6":
And the psycho overjumper. Just pretend my leg isn't terrible:
There is one thing that may very well end up being a problem when we start riding, so I'll lay it out now so things make sense later.
Yeah. I had a little riding accident in May '10. I was out galloping my mare, got near the end of the path, started to ask her to slow, she started turning to the left, I fell off the right, my left leg got stuck in the stirrup, and that there is the result.
Oh, and this:
Those two white things that the arrows are pointing to? Those are the two halves of my ACL. Which shouldn't be in two pieces.
I am, however, a stupid crazy horseperson, and was back on a horse 5 weeks post-injury when my surgeon told me I was "weight bearing as tolerated". Which obviously means "go ahead and ride a horse." Obviously.
(Not the horse I fell off.)
So... I had a rather nasty accident which involved a helicopter ride, a lot of titanium, several days in the hospital, and multiple surgeries--one to fix the broken leg, one about 2 months later to replace the ACL, and one a year after the accident to take the titanium back out.
The point of all this? I have some confidence issues. I'm getting better, but when you're used to bouncing and getting right back on the horse, being laid up for months kind of messes you up. So if, at some point, you're wondering why I'm being a wuss, you have your answer. The drugs you get with a badly broken leg are good, but they aren't that good.
Here's to hoping River is a good boy. And that someday the confidence comes back.