Equi, From your description of your accident there is no surprise to hear that you are frightened. There is no instant magic pill which you can take.
If you were my daughter I'd send you along to meet with a clinical psychologist to discuss your accident and to explain how your brain is thinking - not the section you think with, but the section which controls your reflexes. The brain is questioning whether you are yet fit to ride mentally and physically.
The likelihood is that you are tensing up - which most horses will sense. You have to relearn how to relax in the saddle. That will take time. There are little ways you can help yourself like wiggling the toes and singing to yourself
but what is important that nothing further happens to you. The key is the horse. What you'll need is the very calm placid type to be found in a training school. What you don't need is a typically sensitive responsive privately owned horse which will pick up on your tension.
What you also need is an experienced riding instructor who will lead you thru your route back to what you once were as a rider. The younger you are, the more determined you are, the better the chance that you will regain your riding skills. You should go back to basic training in a calm, quiet environment - an indoor arena is perfect. I found that a trusted companion riding a steady horse helped to encourage me to go forward, at the times I hesitated.
You are not alone, horse riding is a dangerous sport Others who have suffered serious falls have recovered with time. Most eventually ride out alone again but perhaps not as boldly as once they did - it is up to you and your determination.
As for vests - yes protect your spine. But try to find a vest which does not impede your movement. If necessary have one tailored to measure.
Hat - very important - one with chin straps and a quality mark. Then of course gloves & riding boots.
Make a plan of progress - but leave yourself some flexabilty in the timing.
If you feel hesitant before a lesson then sit down, breathe again, have a cup of coffee and wait. If the horse is excited, then let some one else take some steam out of it. Horse riding is a sport not a test of survival.
Also, don't be frightened to talk of your fears but don't hide behind them. Learn to understand how your brain and body works.
Keep fit in the areas that matter - lower back, stomach, under thighs, abdomen, calves. Take Pilates exercises and in addition to the classes do the key exercises at home. Get that stomach hard.
If you make it, then well done. If you give up for a week - then go back and try again at a lower level. Little and often works wonders.
Best of luck - sorry but you'll need the help and understanding of your friends.
Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 02-19-2012 at 04:51 PM.