By and large, I am not an animal-lover. I like cats and bunnies, and that's about it. I believe some of this dislike stems from watching too many tear-jerker movies as a kid involving the tragedies and triumphs of every animal imaginable. (The dog ones were the worst.)
When it comes to horses, the main contributor to my disinterest is one too many bad horseback riding experiences. Nearly every family vacation growing up involved us signing up for a horseback ride. There was the time we were led to believe we'd be galloping along the beach in Hawaii, only to experience about five minutes of riding on the sand and the rest in weeds about as tall as the horses. Another time the horses brought on a bout of allergies.
Our final horseback riding adventure as a family, while in Mexico, didn't go well either. The memory burnt into my mind from that trip is FEAR as my horse maneuvered down the mountain of at what felt like a 90 degree angle.
The irony in all of this is that the man I married trained race horses for several years. He likes horses, has worked with horses, knows how to ride horses. The other ironic thing is that I write historical romances set in the West where people rode - and often adored - horses. Thank goodness for my critique group or the horses in my last book wouldn't even have had names!
Maybe I should enlist my husband's help in creating a positive horseback riding experience. Or maybe I'm content to look at horses from a far and stick to writing fiction where animals and people live in harmony - or pretty close.
Are you an animal-lover or not? If not, why not? Have you ever been horseback riding? Do you like movies/books centered around animals/pets?
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