Okay, I apologize in advance for the novel, but this is a complicated situation that is part rant and part looking for suggestions.
First, you need to know that I have started many horses over the years, both mine and for other people. I have done OTTB retraining, corrective training, etc. I've run up against buckers, rearers, rollers, biters, kickers, the list goes on. I've always used a heavy dose of caution when working around these horses, but fear was never a problem. There was only ever one horse that I was actually afraid of. He was a Paint stallion that lived wild in a field until age 8, when my BO at the time bought him because he was pretty. This is the horse in my avatar. In exchange for part of my board, I agreed to work with him. He learned ground manners VERY quickly, but under saddle he was a terror. He tried all the normal tricks, okay, I could handle that. One day we had been riding for a full hour and while I was cooling him out, he dropped out from under me with no warning, and pinned my leg. Then he launched up and managed to kick me three times in the back and thigh before I could get clear. The doctors said it was amazing he didn't break my back. The BO sold him before I was able to get back out to the barn, (our mare was already bred to him.) 6 yrs later we found him nearly starved in a mud lot, and bought him back. I was determined that I would get over my fear. Long story short, he passed away of colic before I could get him healthy enough to back on.
Flash forward, we have his colt still, who is now an 11 yr old stallion. I have raised this guy from birth, and I know he isn't his father, but for some reason, whenever I ride him (and ONLY him), I am truly afraid he is going to hurt me like his sire did. He has never offered to do anything, except plant his feet and shake his head a couple times when he is being stubborn, but I still have issues. He's beautiful and talented and has a great mind, but some of his mannerisms just make me think of his sire. I loved that horse more than I could have thought possible, even though I was afraid of riding him, and I love Dragon, I just wish I could get over this fear. His training is done in fits and spurts, in the meantime, I've worked dozens for other people. I know it's all in my head. I was on him the other night and three deer ran through the arena, and all he did was freeze and look. He's such a good boy, I feel like I'm cheating him, and I'm angry with myself for being silly. Any suggestions?