Today has been a horse-centric day in a lot of ways. While scanning many family photos earlier, I found a LOT of my grandmother, when she was younger, with a horse she used to ride. Pictures of her with the horse, her on the horse, her grooming the horse, her feeding the horse, etc.
Now, I knew my aunt Sally had been a rider when she was younger, and I knew my mom had ridden when she was younger, for a little while. However, most of my life, I've been forbidden to ride. (In fact, I was forbidden to go on the pony rides at the fair.) And I did not know that my grandmother had ridden, or that my great-grandmother had also done so. Horses were more or less a forbidden topic growing up, because mom would freak out. So I've been interested in them, but only ever able to be interested from a distance. I've pondered taking riding lessons a few times, but every time I consider it, if mom finds out, it turns into an argument about 'reckless activities' and suchnot. When I wanted to try riding when I was younger, mom insisted I learn downhill skiing instead because it was safer; the only time I've ridden is on a friend's horse farm when I was staying with them, and mom didn't know.
Sally and I did a bit of talking about it today, and I now know a bit more of why. I knew my mom had been injured while riding once, but it turns out she'd broken her tailbone and the instructor made her get back up and get on the horse and finish out the ride. In the end, it made the injury so much worse that mom spent a great deal of time in pain, had to drop out of some gymnastics stuff she was doing, and developed a horrible phobia of horses.
Sally is encouraging me to try riding and working with horses as a way of getting out of the house and being more active, because she says she thinks I'd really enjoy it; that a fondness of horses is really in the family blood, despite mom's horrible phobia. Of course, it'll still be a bit of a fuss with my mother; she still freaks out whenever I even /mention/ wanting to look into horses.
What's interesting is that Sally and her sister-in-law (though my uncle died of lung cancer six years ago, Sally's still close to his family) have been considering starting a bed-and-breakfast and horse farm in Washington. (The things she's been considering are 'stay here in Philadelphia,' 'move to the tropics and raise gardenias and orchids,' or 'move back to Washington and start a horse farm.') She'd take a lot of the antique furniture from this house, use it for a nice old bed-and-breakfast, and then have a horse farm attached so the guests could go out and go riding and stuff. It's one of the possible things she's considering doing, and so we talked a bunch about this today. That if I was interested, she thinks it'd be cool to go work with the horses there and all. (My mom would have absolute kittens, but that's an entirely different matter.) I admit that could be kind of cool. Plus, she's said if I know any friends who like horses, would they be interested if that all happened? (Gee, I dunno. Hey, wonderwombat, do I know anyone who's obsessed with horses?)
In general, I get along better with my aunt than I do with my mom. Can you tell? ;)