I have the "fear"! I stopped riding back in 03. My granddaughter wanted a horse for Christmas. So my hubby bought her a haflinger. The hafie took off on her and she fell and stopped riding. Well I fell in love with the mare and started taking lessons. I even had the fear of walking behind the horse and leading the horse. Our first lesson was just on leading, nothing else. One hour of leading, halting, backing, leading, halting, backing, turning.
..I thought I was good to go as far as leading went, but the next lesson the mare was real uppity and excited. So again, we spent the whole hour doing the leading, except I was so fearful that the trainer did it. But the next lesson I was good to go and I have been ever since. I have no fear anymore of leading her, even when she is uppity.
Another issue I had was the walking behind her, like to clean the left back hoof and then walk around to get to the right back hoof. Well we spent so much time with me and the trainer walking shoulder to shoulder walking back and forth around the butt. I now have no problems doing it on my own. I have respect but not he fear.
Now in the saddle is still another story. The trainer has leadlined me in the arena and out on trails. I have ridden in the arena without a leadline, but I still have the fear. I have found that I can not ride her without a trainer with me. Meaning I only ride when I have a lesson. I still have the "fear".
My grandson took her in a show a few weeks ago, he did a leadline/beginners trail class. After he showed, I did a swap saddle and I took her in the same class. I was petrified! But I did it. My grandson took 1st and I got a participation ribbon LOL I was just happy that I took the first step and did it.
I still have fear, and I wonder about whether or not it will ever go away. I want to do a beginner equitation class, but the fear is so bad I haven't been able to do it yet. I am working right now on preparing for the next show on the 17th. Not sure I can pull it off or not.
But I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone with the fear issue. Like others have said, if we keep working on it, I am hoping the fear will go away or at least get better.
Good luck to you!