If you can't ride him out with confidence, try leading him out. If walking a horse is what you can do now, accept it and build on it later.
There is a difference between jumping off and directing the horse to where he feels safe and dismounting. One is abandoning ship. The other is not only physically much safer, but lets the horse know you will take care of him.
I'll echo and endorse what
said. We are often afraid around horses because we know inside we don't have the tools to handle a situation. I've been driving cars for 40+ years, but if you dropped me in the middle of the Indy 500 I'd be scared. When I started riding, and started by riding a spooky horse, people would tell me to just be confident. Which is fine for someone who has ridden for 20 years, but what about when you know inside you have no reason to be confident?
Sometimes, fear is just our bodies telling us what our mind doesn't want to admit - we are not up to the task ahead. So...if all you feel you can handle right now is riding in a pasture, ride in the pasture. Gain more experience. When YOU are ready, do more. Your horse cannot feel ready until you are
- " the only equestrian to have won both an international gold medal in eventing and a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance" - has the credentials to be called a great rider. Jack Le Goff
is justifiably called a world-class expert. Writing about horses, Mr Emerson said:
Le Goff said, "Boldness comes from confidence. Confidence comes from success. So it is the mission of the trainer to create lots of situations that as much as possible guarantee success."...
...someone takes a horse out trail riding alone. The horse would be calmer and steadier if he had company, especially quiet company, but the rider says, "He ought to be able to handle this on his own." Or the horse moves around at the mounting block, and the rider says as she yanks him around, "He knows better." Or loading into a trailer. Or being quiet for the farrier. Or accepting being clipped.
A horse does not "fake" being anxious in order to "get out of work" or because "he is being bad."...
...Jack Le Goff's advice is to start by creating little successes, rather than to get into battles to "make him settle down". The only way you can make a horse be calm is by drugging him. You can longe or gallop to exhaustion, and he will be quiet, perhaps, but underneath the tiredness will still be nervous.
So what is so wrong with trail riding with a buddy at first, or doing tons of quiet transitions with a mild bit rather than by cranking him into a harsh bit, if it makes him calmer?...
...But generally, "teaching him a lesson" should not be the normal "go-to" method if the goal is to build lasting confidence.
Or maybe Le Goff is the one who didn't "get" how to train horses? Maybe we are smarter horse people than Jack Le Goff? Sure. Dream on..."
If that is true of horses, why not riders? If A is what you can do, and B feels like a stretch, and C seems impossible, then why not do a lot of A and a little bit of B? Eventually, B becomes what you can do and C feels like a stretch...so you then do a lot of B and once in a while try C.
Walking your horse around on a lead rope is a way to learn his responses. He gains trust in you and you gain trust in him. Easiest "ground work" in the world and it helps. If mounting up and then dismounting is what you feel good with, do some of that. If riding for 5 minutes works, and then you tense up...ride 5 minutes and quit. It will grow. At your pace and at your horse's.
Some other ideas on becoming a better rider:
VS Littauer wrote "Common Sense Horsemanship". It is a long read and he starts by talking about horses think. That is important. Very important. And how they move. And then he writes about one good way to ride - the "Forward Seat". He was a former Russian Cavalry officer and wrote for people who wanted to jump, but this western rider has read and reread his book a dozen times. It is free online here: https://archive.org/stream/commonsen...54mbp_djvu.txt https://archive.org/details/commonse...54mbp/page/n10
Amazon sells it for under $20: https://www.amazon.com/Common-Sense-...gateway&sr=8-2
On the western side...Larry Trocha has a DVD course for basic western riding for $50. Two hours. https://www.horsetrainingvideos.com/westernriding.htm
He also has a lot of YouTube videos free. I find him uncommonly honest and pretty level headed. I've heard him start a video with 'I just screwed this up big time and want to record this now while it is fresh in my mind so you won't'...not something you hear trainers say very often! I got more help from him than from the local person I paid $30/hour for lessons. And if spending $100 and a few hours reading and thinking sounds like a lot, think about the deductible on your health insurance...
Good luck. Do what you can and eventually do a bit more.