I rode the horse again last night. It was much, much better. My nerves were more under control. My trainer stayed around for me in case I needed the assist but I did it all independently. I even mounted by myself at the mounting block!
Again, horse was a gentleman. All I wanted to do was walk and trot and that's what we did for a half hour. I was tired after that but he never put a foot wrong the whole ride. I was relaxed but "in the moment" and enjoyed it for the first time since I was hurt. The knee brace is clumsy but doesn't irritate me and even the metal bars don't get in my way.
By the time I dismounted, which I have found I can do since horse lets me kind of slide a little to slow the hop to the ground. There is no pain from the impact when I dismount, it's just my knee is stiff from being bent and then having to straighten when I come off.
So in 3 rides I've already begun adapting. After last night, horse got his first personal nickname from me, too. I just started calling him "Smoochy". It seems to fit since he's always standing with his lower lip drooping (very relaxed fellow) and he's such a sweet guy. I have a few "generic" nicknames that all horses get from me such as all geldings are called "buddy" when I'm working with them. Horse earned his own nickname.
Horse has a name but almost nobody calls him by it. I don't care for it and everyone seems to have their own name for him, anyway. A horse with no real name. I kind of like that. I have a name chosen for him. But won't share unless he is passed by the vet.
Making that call today. Yes, I'm having him vet checked.