My grandpa is the one who gave me my love of horses. He spent many hours telling me stories about his life growing up on a working farm in upstate NY, riding his uncle's jumpers, and exploring the woods on his own pony. Once I had my own horse, he spent many sundays driving me to the barn and he'd sit in a lawn chair, with his oxygen tank, and watch me ride.
My own dad was not horsey by any means, we haven't had the easiest relationship, and he has seen me ride just a handful of times in 20 years. But he bought me my first horse, paid the bills for many years, and has been the ONLY person in my life to encourage me to keep riding as an adult. I probably would have set it aside if it were not for him telling me I should continue, and that the enjoyment and peace I get from it is well worth time/energy/money.
So I just wanted to give a shout out, since the Horse Show Moms get a lot of publicity but the dads are often in the background, despite being just as supportive, though sometimes in a less vocal or noticeable role.
Happy Father's Day!
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
My dad has always supported my riding (though at times it's been clear that he doesn't "get" why we horse people do what we do), yet was waiting to see if the days of coordinating hay deliveries, tack & grain store trips, and no free weekends during show season, would ever end.
17 years later I'm still riding, got my mother hooked on the horse thing, have a couple of horses, a house & garage brimming with tack & riding gear, and he has become my official horse show photographer & fence builder/repairer.
For father's day he asked if I could give him a riding lesson (since I'd be spending the entire morning at the barn anyway). Though his mother had been a dedicated rider , and his uncle owned, raced & rescued/retired standardbreds, the horse bug never bit him. He had walked around on my older horse back in the day, but wanted to be prepared incase he ever got a chance to go trail riding while on vacation. Prior to his lesson, he [partly joking] asked if he could now get a horse of his own; I [partly joking] said of COURSE he could! All he had to do was get his darling daughter a trailer & a farmette for the growing herd to live at ;-D On Sunday he groomed, helped tack up, and walked & trotted on the best schoolie at the barn. My dad is now a cowboy.
I saw a very cute Horse Show Dad moment at a show yesterday.
There was a boutique with lots of cute stuff at the show, and a dad was in there shopping with his two daughters. He was being a good dad, nicely incorporating a math lesson into it about prices and what they had talked about as a spending budget.
Then he remarked that maybe he would get a nice belt buckle he saw. The older daughter said, "Dad, it's Father's Day, you should get whatever you- Ooo, look at that cute hairband! That would go perfectly with my graduation dress!"
My dad signed me up for riding lessons when I was 9 years old, after we went on a trail ride next to a farm that gave hunter-jumper lessons (I begged for a week after meeting the mare in the wash rack behind their barn). He watched every lesson he could make it to when I was growing up and drove me home afterwards every week (my parents were divorced), footed all my horsey bills, and half-leased a horse in the summer for me a few times since we couldn't afford to own one.
He didn't grow up knowing anything about horses but now knows how to hold a horse horse and lead it, what a martingale is and how to put it on, and could probably do a good impression of saddling a horse if absolutely necessary. He also can identify quite a few types of bits. He knows how to put on open front boots and bell boots now, too.
When I wanted to go to college in Kentucky and study Equine Science, my dad fully supported the decision and wanted me to go to school for something I enjoyed, even if it wasn't what I ended up doing in life (although he was fine with the idea of me living in Lexington and working on a breeding farm when I entertained that option). He was at almost every intercollegiate show I went to for 4 years, even though they were pretty much all at least one state away from his home, and even flew to the invitational I rode in all the way down in Texas.
My dad still comes out to the barn to see me and my horses most days of the week, even when I'm not riding because my horse is "broken" and is recovering from ripping her shoe off (again!). Both of my horses are often more excited to see him than they are to see me, because they know he is the "Human Carrot" and is a total pushover with the treats. He is also friend to all barn cats, great and small, and they all come running when he shows up because he always has a spare can of cat food with him! lol
I am so INCREDIBLY lucky to have a father who has so willingly joined me in all my crazy horsey endeavors in life, despite having no exposure to horses before I came along. I can't even put into words how much I appreciate all he's done for me, and I really hope he knows that. I think he does.
Met my mom at a horse show..
He was with friends, working at the show
Didn't realize what he was getting in to..
A life of horses...is only something very few can understand
He got it....
He would cook breakfast on the grill
At the shows
Never flinched at how much we spent
on horse feed, tack, etc
at how early we had to get up
to drive to a show, to the barn, just to feed...
Was happily there the night my first horse was born..
Was always at the shows.
He silently encouraged me, and always took a back seat
to the horses...
I wish he had come to the last show before he died...
if only just to watch, and be there for my re-entry to the show ring after a 20 yr break
...and to take pictures..
Now I picture him, sitting in the field...
with my first pony and my first horse
over the bridge, enjoying their time...waiting for me to join them...
I love and miss my Dad every day!