there is definitely a difference of opinion on the risk value of a fall vs the value of pushing boundaries when you are 25 as compared to 55. A fall in your 20's or 30's is not such a big deal. In your 50's, it feels like being hit by a locomotive. Really!
I have fallen off many times. Something like 15 times in 13 years. What I learned is that most of the time, they are surviveable. If my one and only fall had been to badly injure my back , like bsms, I wonder if I'd have gotten back into the saddle. Kudos to you!
I am aware that any fall that I take could be the one that disables me, like Mr. Reeve. It can happen to anyone, anytime. Just like going out in my car, several times a day, can be the last thing that I do, too.
You don't HAVE to push your fear boundaries to ride. However, you may need to in order to become a better rider, and the better rider you become, the less likely , or shall I say less frequent, are falls. No guarantees, though.
I so agree with you, as I'm an older rider. One thing I have found that makes this sport so wonderful is that the training I get is all about prodding me gently but never to the point of undue danger. I took a bad fall this summer - I was thrown from a horse I love. I was lucky because we were on soft grass and I'm pretty hearty.
I got right back up on her though, because we were on a trail and I had no choice. But when we arrived at our destination, I took the car back to recoup myself. I was VERY traumatized. ANd I cried - not from fear but from sadness - that this could happen. I talked about it with everyone I could, to try to understand what happened, where I failed and where she let me down.
This IS a sport with risk. A good trainer will recognize a person who's been hurt is going to pull back for a time to heal, mentally and physically.
I loved the answer a few back about riding around and around the arena until both the horse and rider are bored out of their skulls. But that's how mental obstacles are overcome, repetitive and relatively safe exercises to rebuild confidence. To step by step come back. That you even want to get back to riding is commendable. Don't let your trainer make you feel it isn't. Or that you're less than because you don't want to do it on her timetable.
There are no timetables in life. Only time. Let time heal you OP.