It was in the fall of 2004 that BTFC first featured then 24-year-old Gina Tomlinson, and her passion for horseback riding, in the Foundation’s newsletter, the Butterfly Bulletin (read the original article here). We thought it would be fun to catch up with Gina and see what she up to today. Here’s what we found out:
Nearly seven years later, it’s still Gina and horses. She’s owned several, the one who developed a tumor and died, the one who kicked the vet and had to be sold, the one who was just lazy, and now she has what we hope is the “just right horse” – an Appendix Quarter Horse (a Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse mix). Gina does more western riding than English now. Gina says, “It’s more relaxed; you don’t have to sit so straight,” then she cuts to the heart of it, “and you know, Mom, I like the bling.” And she does have that bling – her show clothes, Babe’s silver-embellished saddle and bridle, and a room full of medals from first- and second-place finishes in the Special Olympics.
She has been to Hawaii once and is going back again in September…with plans to ride horses on the beach in Oahu. She works in a theatre in East Cobb, where she is a minor celebrity. People stop us on the street, and even once at a red light, to say “Isn’t that my little ticket girl?”
Gina’s life has also changed in other ways – she has a stepfather now. Her own dad died when she was four, so for 25 years, it was just the two of us. Ellis Frost was wise enough to recognize that Gina and I were a package deal and courted us both. So for three years, Ellis has navigated “girl world” — the two of us, plus the girl dog, Taffy, and the mare, Babe. Gina, for her part, has learned that males are louder and noisier than she ever knew and that ESPN shows more than equestrian events.
There have been more surgeries, latent side effects are always a concern, and long-term, we don’t have all the answers. But for today, Gina says, “You can’t worry about cancer. You’ve got to just live your life – just live it.”