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Mom with horse 'phobia' scolds friend for exposing child to horses.

Mom with horse 'phobia' scolds friend for exposing child to horses.


Sure, 'Horse Girls' might have earned a bad reputation for being entitled, shamelessly smelly spoiled 'free spirits' who were born into wealth, but not all horse people are ripped out of a movie about a quiet teenager who can only connect with an untamed stallion...

So, when a conflicted mom with a unique fear decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about her daughter's recent exposure to all-things 'horse girl,' people were quick to help deem a verdict.

AITA (Am I the As*hole) for calling my friend irresponsible for what she did while babysitting my child?

I (F29) have a 'phobia' of horses. I put phobia in quotation marks because phobias are irrational fears, and I don't think my fear is irrational, but everyone else in my life keeps calling it a phobia.

I do like animals, but horses are just not it for me. I don't like being around them, and I have no interest in petting them or riding them. When I was around 8 years old, a horse attacked me unprovoked and nearly killed me, and I was hospitalized.

My best friend Eliza (F29) is the opposite to me. When we were in high school, she was your stereotypical 'horse girl'. She owns some horses of her own now and is still obsessed with horses. I don't interact with Eliza's horses and never have. I respect that we can have our own interests, and Eliza and I have different things to talk about.

I have a daughter Tanya (F4), and Eliza occasionally kindly volunteers to babysit for me. Eliza has her own daughter of similar age and they play together nicely. Last week, I asked Eliza to babysit for me so me and my partner could go to my cousin's child free wedding, and she agreed. I paid Eliza to babysit and gave her some extra money to get herself and the girls takeout.

Well, when after I picked Tanya up and was driving home, Tanya was telling me about how she 'sat on a horsey.' At first I thought Tanya was talking about a toy rocking horse, but then she told me about how she 'fed the horsey some apples.'

When I got home, I called Eliza and asked if she had my daughter interact with her horses. At first Eliza denied everything and said she didn't know what I was talking about, but when I said Tanya told me about it, Eliza admitted she held Tanya whilst she was sat on one of her horses, and let Tanya help feed one of her horses.

Eliza went on and on about how safe it is, and that she was in complete control of the situation. That the horse was standing completely still when she held Tanya on the horse's back.

I told Eliza that what she did was irresponsible and that doing it behind my back was unacceptable. I was so angry and uncomfortable. She said that I'm overreacting because of my phobia and said that Tanya was completely safe, and went on about how well-trained her horses are and how she knows so much about horses.

I said I didn't care and that she should think about what she did. My family thinks I overreacted and that I should apologize to Eliza. That I'm projecting my phobia onto my daughter. AITA?

Later, she edited the post to include:

ETA: Eliza never wears a helmet when riding her horses so I highly doubt she put one on my daughter, I don't think she even owns any helmets. I would've been okay with Tanya feeding/petting the horses, but Eliza putting her on a horse's back made me very uncomfortable.

ETA: Eliza keeps her horses in a field that's around an hour drive from her actual home so I didn't think she'd take my daughter there.

Yikes...this mom might have a future horse girl on here hands...

Yes, the incident she experienced with a horse was traumatic and perhaps her friend should've asked permission before taking her daughter to meet her biggest fear, but it's hard not to assume her intense reaction is the phobia talking. If she owns and rides horses, she probably knows the best safety protocol when allowed children near them.

Of course, people were eager to weigh in on this parenting drama. Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say:

lemon_starburst616 said:

ESH (Everyone Sucks Here). Projecting your phobia onto your child is one of the worst things you can do for your child. Working on your mental helath to get to that point needs to be a priority. Banning your daughter from horses isn't helping anyone. Her learning how to be around them safely is beneficial. But lying to you was wrong. You need to be able to trust the person caring for your child, and she broke that trust.

frogmuffins said:

NTA. Even if you had no phobia she should have asked you, the parent, permission before being near any horse(or any large animal).

kr0mb0pulos_michael said:

NTA. First off, it's not a phobia, it's trauma. Either is totally justified (I hate horses too btw). Second, If Eliza GENUINELY thought it wasn't a big deal etc., she wouldn't have denied it when you first confronted her about it.

queertheories said:

The gentlest YTA (You're the As*hole). Yes, a horse can absolutely kill a person. So can a dog. So can a lot of animals. Holding a child while they sit on a horse and letting them feed/pet a horse with supervision—ESPECIALLY the supervision of a lifelong horse expert that owns and knows the horse…your daughter should be able to have experiences regardless of your irrational fears.

So, there you have it!

While the opinions were relatively mixed here, most people agreed that this mom is wrong to project her phobias onto her daughter but justified in being upset that her friend lied to her and withheld information regarding her child's safety. Good luck, everyone!

Sources: Reddit
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