My son is petrified of animals including our cats who are older than he is! So to try to combat this, I have tried to enrich his life with animals such as an aquarium and sending him to horse riding lessons.  My thoughts were that if he could get used to a large animal like a horse, then he would cope with small animals like cats and dogs and all I would be out would be some gear like equestrian helmets, jodhpurs, gloves and of course the cost of the lessons. Never in my life did I expect that the first pet he would ask for would be a… you got it… a horse!!