Re: how can i ride a horse again
I've not been in this exact situation but I do know a bit about being scared of things. What I've found is that doing the scary thing is not as scary as the bit just before you do the scary thing. You said you get butterflies seeing a pony getting tacked up - well that's the bit before. Mounting might be even worse for you but after that it should get better.
I think this is how fear works, and I think it's the same for people and for horses.
1) A bad thing happens
2) Fear builds up around the memory because your mind wants to stop the bad thing happening again.
3) You think about trying to do the scary thing but it's really scary so you don't do it and more fear builds up. The more this happens the stronger the fear gets.
4) The fear is now really strong and makes you feel like there's no way you could do the scary thing. Your mind and body are shouting at you that a really bad thing will happen if you put yourself in that situation.
5) You make yourself do it anyway. This is really hard but it's the only way. But the trick is to only do it a tiny bit at a time.
6) You did a scary thing and nothing bad happened. You're still here, safe. If you tell yourself as you do it "Look, I'm safe, I'm OK even though I'm doing the scary thing" this will help.
7) The fear will get less because although it was telling you the bad thing would happen you proved it wrong and your subconcious mind will learn from that and not shout "SCARY" at you so loudly next time you do it.
8) Keep making tiny steps through the fear, doing something a little bit more scary every time and seeing that you're still safe.
9) One day you'll look back and see how far you've come and be amazed that the things that once scared you are easy now.
Maybe you could start out by standing by that tacked up pony that makes you scared. At first your heart will be racing and you'll feel nervous, but if you stay beside the pony you'll find that you get less nervous over a little while. Try this a few times. Stay at that stage until you can feel calm standing on the ground next to a pony that's tacked up/being tacked up. If you can do that, then maybe next you could stand a tacked up pony by a mounting block, with no intention of getting on, but just of breathing through the fear until you can stand on a mounting block next to a tacked up pony without being nervous. Tiny steps are still progress. The key is to get yourself goals that scare you a little bit, but that you think you might be able to do. No one else knows how you feel inside, only you, so you have to decide how much you can ask yourself to do one one day. Just remember to feel proud of the small achievements. Don't expect too much of yourself at once. Maybe the first time you get into the saddle you'll mount, count to 10 and get off again. That might be a massive achievement against the fear. And the more you practice doing scary things the more you'll know that you can beat the next challenge you set yourself.
I hope this helps. Obviously the stages I've suggested might not suit you, but I hope you get the idea. The main thing is to know that fear is really nasty but if you go through it it gets better. Right before you do the scary thing your fear might be at 10 out of 10, but as soon as you actually do the thing it'll drop down to something easier to manage, even while you're still doing it. Sounds wierd but it's true.
Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
Sorry that's really long!