Hey, the important thing is to not worry - so many people have the same problem; I know I did. I fell off a horse that bolted on a road, and I wasn't wearing a helmet so needless to say I got a pretty bad head injury. I was in hospital for a bit, and when I started riding again, with a helmet, I was absolutely terrified, hunched over, shaking...
I didn't have any horsey friends, none of my family ride or know anything about horses, my horse was exceptionally green and I didn't have a trainer or instructor or anything - I was completely alone. In the end, it was just me and my horse re-forming that bond and getting the confidence back. I think that's what you need - find a horse you can trust, and get to know it on the ground, face to face; remember riding is great, but trust is more important.
Try and stick to small arenas and paddocks at first, places where it would be near impossible for a horse to bolt - the most they can do then is buck, and you can say "Alright, enough of that" get off, and try again some other day. Don't let anyone pressure you, do it in your own time.
I'm almost nineteen and I've fallen off a million and one times, most of it without helmets (yes I know, I'm stupid), going over jumps and from horses bolting. You need to realize and remember that horses are creatures, just like humans, with their own personalities and their own quirks; sure they'll buck sometimes, kick or even bolt, but theres always a reason - they're not doing it because they don't like you or because you're a bad rider or any of those other silly reasons.
Some other random suggestions, just thinking off the top of my head because you obviously love horses and I really want to help you get over this fear; do you ride english? I find that english saddles are very "loose" and the stirrups move a lot. If you're afraid of falling you might want to consider a stock saddle or a western saddle - the shape of them makes it a lot easier to stay on and keep control of the horse, plus western stirrups don't move as much as english stirrups and you're less likely to lose balance.
Riding in a group might help you - if you have friends or family who ride, go for a trail ride - nice and relaxing - with them. Some horses act calmer when in groups - then again, other horses don't, so yeah... that could go either way.
The only other suggestion I have is talk to your father. I know it sounds hard, but it might be nessercary, and he could help you if he knows about horses. You just need to be calm and say you're nervous, not scared, just nervous, and you would like some help to get your confidence back. Remember your dad was once just a boy, and he probably fell off horses now and again, maybe even cried about it. He might surprise you and understand how you feel.
I hope this rant helped, and good luck with everything.
I am what I am, and what I am is slightly insane. You'll just have to learn to love it.
And accept that Yoda was an evil smurf.
Last edited by FadeToShadows; 05-30-2010 at 10:57 AM.
Reason: just putting in paragraphs - my bad >_<