Thanks everyone<3 Yeah, I have been back on horses again. Even one lesson horse that didn't want to leave one corner of the arena and gave me a few good bucks and I stayed on and didn't "die" like my anxiety always says will happen haha. Just, for some reason there is always that little fear in the back of my mind. It all happened because when I was 15 (I am 24 now), my mom bought me a big grey thoroughbred (of whom was originally abused as well) hunter to move up on. But, we didn't realize he was WAY too much horse for me. He would constantly bolt with me over somethings as small as the Pekingese dog across the street or a hay bale near the ring. Of course, me being only 5 ft at the time and moving from a bombproof 13hh pony to a 17.2 hand mean tempered chicken, it kinda knocked my confidence down a few pegs. But, I brought him to a boarding stable where some of the boarders actually would take him out when I was not around and hit him with whips to teach him "respect". I guess it brought back his memories of being abused and being as old as he was he just snapped. I brought him there when I was 19 thinking it was best for him since at my house our other horses bullied him off his feed. So, not knowing the boarders did that stuff to him, I tried to lunge him (after only having him at that barn for a month and a half) and the second I picked up the lunge whip to flick it a big to get him to canter, he charged into the center at me and tried to strike out at my head, I panicked and ran, and he barreled down after me squealing, my mom had to try to get him away after he chased me into a corner and tried striking at me. After that I kinda have never been the same about horses. But, I still love them and want the chance to try again. Hopefully now that I have a job, I can get a nice level headed horse that I can just enjoy and spend time with without fear of being pretty much attacked.
No, I never had a accident that caused me to fear horses/riding but I can tell you one thing, the faster you get back in the saddle, the faster your overcome your fear. If you love riding, you'll want to do it again and don't let fear stop you. If it takes you to much time to get back up on/around horses, the more difficult it's gonna be. Like my coach said to me: " It's not because it happened to you once that every time it'll happen."
If you're not ready, it's fine too. Don't do something that you know you can't handle. At the same time, if you know you can do it (physically and mentally) than don't let fear stop you from doing it.
Yes, sadly. I had a Paint mare once that had a tendency to start bucking for no reason. When I was 12, I was taking a lunge line lesson and about 10 min into it, she threw me off pretty violently. Before the fall, I was the crazy kid who rode the crazy horses. After the fall, I had serious issues even just being around horses on the ground.
About a year later, I met my current horse, Sunny. When his owner heard about what happened to me, she offered to let me ride Sunny for free while my mom taught, and that was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Sunny was the most amazing babysitter/confidence builder I could've asked for. In about a year of riding him, I went from too scared to trot to cantering on the rail without stirrups or holding onto the reins. So, we sold my Paint mare and bought him.
It may sound bad, but if you can find a calm, level-headed, well-trained horse that'll babysit you while you work on your confidence, that's the best medicine.
Additionally, work on things like positive self-talk ("I can do this" sort of stuff), deep breathing exercises, and don't be afraid to step back or take a break if you need to.
Finally, you could also check out April Clay of Riding Out Of Your Mind (http://ridingoutofyourmind.com/). She's an equestrian sports psychologist and even though I've never used her, she offers online psych courses that might help you out.
I hope this helps! Good luck! :)