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Eventing Parents

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  • Eventing Parents

    With all of the P&G commercials showcasing the roles of parents in the Olympic stories, I thought this might be an interesting just-for-fun topic.

    How do/have your parents played a role in your eventing career? Horse people, or not? Did/do they watch you go cross country, or did/do they sit at the start/finish and cross their fingers, listening to the walkie-talkies to make sure you go clear? (My mom can't be the only one that does that...)

    My mom texted me this evening while watching the women's gymnastics and noted that one of the girl's mom couldn't watch her bar routine... "She can't watch her daughter on the bars? Try watching her while she's at the mercy of a 1200 beast!!" Oh mother...

  • #2
    good topic!

    My parents come watch when they can. They definitely appreciate things like Ride Times


    • #3
      My parents are not horse people, but unfortunately for them, they bought a house with land and a barn in horse country, and someone gave us a "free" one. My sister and I both evented, before she switched to dressage.

      I don't think they ever dreamed of getting involved in the horse world, certainly not showing. Their vaguely counter cultural mores weren't comfortable with the elitism and conspicuous consumption of eventing. But they were very good sports. Their biggest concession was getting a truck/trailer so they could take us to shows, and of course putting in all that time.

      I live 600 miles away now, they usually visit 1x/year, often during an event. They are incredibly supportive, maybe even more so now that the finances and logistics are all my concern. They follow my horse ups and downs practically daily. Whenever I am at shows (alone, these days) and am parked next to a family, esp one with teenage girls, I feel such a pang for those years when it was the 4 of us. I thought my parents were embarrassing/annoying/crazy too, like all teenage girls do, but looking back I didn't give them nearly enough credit.

      These days, 15+ years later, they still demand my ride times and a call when I am done.


      • #4
        Check out the Horse Junkies United site, They had a really cool story about a rider's journey written by her Mom a bit ago.
        It is truly heartwarming!!!


        • #5
          I'm 37 and my Dad is very involved with my horsie Life. When Rigsby arrived today, my Dad was by my side "in case I needed help." He gives me plenty of useless advise, and I smile and nod and pretend to take everything into consideration. My brother stock car races on the dirt, and I watch him do the same thing! We're VERY lucky to have parents who care.

          I just have to add; this Thread has made me cry, A Lot! Thanks for sharing your stories!
          Last edited by Neigh-Neigh; Jul. 30, 2012, 08:15 PM.


          • #6
            My parents were not horsey people until I demanded riding lessons when I was 10 :grin: Now my mom demands to accompany me to the barn every single day where she mucks my horse's stall for me because "its therapeutic and nobody else can do it as well as her." We pay for full board, by the way, but nothing is ever up to her standards for stall cleanliness Back when we didn't have full board I always felt like people thought I was this lazy, spoiled child for having my mother muck my stall for me, but she honestly wouldn't let me! No complaints here!

            I even managed to get her on my horse one hot day after he had a really good workout. She loves my horse just as much as I do which is awesome. My dad comes to the barn a few times a month and he comes to all my shows. Mainly he's the horse holder.

            I can't thank my parents enough for doing all they do for me. They pay for 60% of my entry fees along with board, vet, farrier, lessons, etc. I help out when I can but there's no way I'd ever be able to do it without them. Great thread, all the eventing parents out there definitely deserve a shout out!


            • #7
              My sister and brother and I all grew up on a farm. My mother taught us all to ride - even though she was a novice (and nervous) rider herself. My father used horses on the farm for stock work. When my mother couldn't find good ponies for us as kids she started breeding them. I rode home bred, home trained ponies until I was 16 - and then some small horses after that.

              My parents drove me all over the area to competitions until I was old enough to drive myself - and then my mother came with me because she liked the friends that I had made.

              Once I got older and didn't need her help she got involved with the local horse trials group - helping with publicity and bookwork.

              I always debriefed with her. She was an awesome sounding board. Even when I moved away, she waited for my call at the end of each competition to tell her how I had gone and what it had been like. When she died a lot of the magic of competing went out of it for me - I realised it was the sharing that was the best part. It took me a while to find others to share with as I had with her.
              I owe her my riding.


              • #8
                My parents were...reluctantly supportive. My mom helped me get my first horse (she paid half the purchase price) because she thought it would help me socialize.

                Other than that I was pretty much on my own. If I wanted to show I had to figure out how to get me and my horse to the show, how to get the right equipment, clothes, ect...

                Now as an adult my mom will sometimes ask about the health and well being of my horses but that is about as far as it goes. I can't really "talk horses" with my family because they just don't get why horses and competing are important to me.

                My DH is super supportive and has a horse of his own but he's not in to competing just trail riding. So its been me and this crazy horse thing all on my own. Trying to explain the importance of it, and the affect of it on my life to my family is like trying to teach my dog to speak Japanese.
                Eventing at Midnight Blog

                Rodan and Fields, Ask Me About it
                A Measure of Grace Blog


                • #9
                  I was/am an eventing parent, and at my eldest's very first recognized horse trial, the "Final Farwell," I decided to start taking pictures so I wouldn't have to strip stalls! Look where that seems to have gotten me! Now neither of my girls competes (made them go to school sans-hippique) but as soon as they can't afford it again, I'm sure they'll be right there..
                  Facebook: Mark Walter Lehner-Photographer and


                  • #10
                    My mom rode hunter/jumper when she was a teenager, but my dad is about as non-horsey as possible. Both of them have been very supportive- I'm so lucky to have parents like them! My mom was the one who usually travelled with me to shows, clinics, lessons, etc. She likes to watch, but I used to have something similar to stage fright where I didn't ride as well when she was watching, so my coach would make her go stand over the hill, or in the trees, or somewhere I couldn't see her : ) I did get over that, and she often helps with getting video of sale horses and is a great sounding board when I need to talk through an issue I'm having with a particular horse.

                    My dad has gone to some shows with me, and once followed me around cross-country on a bike to get video of my round : ) He also puts in a lot of time and money maintaining the farm, so no complaints that he's not a horse person!


                    • #11
                      My dad took me to Pony Penning in Chincoteague a few times and coughed up $1000 to help me buy my first horse when I was 26 years old and still in school. My mom drove me to Horse Bowl competitions and went to every horse show she could when I was a kid and declared me the "best rider she'd ever seen" on a regular basis. Both of them gave me a solid dose of reality growing up: I was not going to have anything handed to me (other than a little help with entry fees to the 4H show each summer and a new pair of boots every few years) but there was no reason I couldn't make the "horse thing" happen on my own if I was willing to bust my ass, but don't fill your head with silly dreams, kid, and get yourself a good day job. Great advice.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        My parents, while not horse people, were/are both big animal lovers (my dad grew up on a dairy farm and had all sorts of dogs along with the cows. My mom had dogs...and groundhogs...and chickens...you get the point ). We had LOTS of pets as I grew up- mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, etc, etc, etc...you get the picture.

                        Anyway, I have been told I came from the womb asking for a pony. My parents indulged my pony lust with pony toys (I never really had baby dolls. Everything was ponies or other critters!). My earliest memory is riding a horse with my sister (I was two).

                        When I was in 3rd grade and taking ballet (and very blah about it), I found out a friend was taking HORSEBACK RIDING LESSONS! OMG! How cool!??! We couldn't really afford both, so when asked what I wanted to do, no shock here, I said I wanted to ride with my friend. The rest, well, is history.

                        My parents were super supportive, though with a limited budget, I was held down to one lesson a week and the occasional on farm horse show for a long time (FWIW, all my chores "paid" for my lessons ). I got my first horse and first job when I was 15, and took over the majority of my horsey expenses then, but they remained supportive, including driving me out to the barn and waiting in the cold most nights, going to shows, watching lessons, etc.

                        My dad fell in love with the sport of eventing LONG before I did (on a day trip to the VA Horse Center, where we stumbled upon the VA Horse Trials). I was unconvinced for a few years, then finally did it on a whim, and was hooked.

                        My dad remained my biggest fan, even when he got sick with cancer. I am so grateful he got to see me event a few times, including my move up to training. I miss him a lot and think about him a lot. I feel him with me a lot at horse shows...I know he's still cheering me on. I wish he was around to walk more courses with me...even though he didn't ride, he paid attention and always had some thoughtful ideas...and knew just what to say when I was nervous.

                        My mom still remains very supportive and comes to events when she can. She is long past her "If I ever see you fall off, your butt will never touch a saddle again!" stage and, in fact, thoroughly enjoyed the video of my tumble at the three day (the commentary from the "professional" camera man IS hysterical), and thought the sequence of me falling in the water a couple of months ago was pretty funny (of course, I don't tell her when it hurts! ). She does like to watch xc...but I don't let her walk xc!!! She walked Ralph's first novice and thought they were HUGE

                        She is also supportive by taking on caring for Neigh, now 26 and enjoying his retirement. That's huge for me.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                          My mom still remains very supportive and comes to events when she can. She is long past her "If I ever see you fall off, your butt will never touch a saddle again!" stage and, in fact, thoroughly enjoyed the video of my tumble at the three day (the commentary from the "professional" camera man IS hysterical), and thought the sequence of me falling in the water a couple of months ago was pretty funny (of course, I don't tell her when it hurts! ). She does like to watch xc...but I don't let her walk xc!!! She walked Ralph's first novice and thought they were HUGE
                          Pics/vid or it didn't happen
                          If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
                          If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
                          If I smell like manure, I tripped.


                          • #14
                            My parents have been absolute saints with my horse addiction. Mom rode hunters in college (and got to a pretty high level) but had to quit after having all of us kids. My biological father was a rough bull rider and team roper. Dad started sticking me up on green broke 2 year old at three and mom sat and wished i'd trade that that big ole heavy western saddle for a petite english one :P Through the years I kept along with horses and started training my own weanlings at 12. Mom would front me the cash to start up and then I would split profit with her when I sold them. I went through a period around 13/14 where I was terrified to ride after being drug. They patiently encouraged me to keep trying, but never forced me to get on. They knew my bull headed personality far too well.

                            My step father (who I consider to be my dad, wonderful guy) and I butted heads a thousand times along the way, but spent a million more times trail riding up in the mountains together. He always wanted to learn to ride but growing up on a wheat farm he didn't have time for it. So when he collected mom and I we taught him a thing or two

                            They took me to every show, sat and cheered for me, tried to get me to eat, dried my tears, collected my ribbons, and supported me in every way they could. I wasn't easy to deal with, I know that, but they knew I loved horses and they always told me that had faith that I could do anything if I just set my mind to it.

                            Money was always really tight (dad's a semi-retired farmer and mom dabbles in writing) so I never had the nicest horses, nor the best trained ones. Yet, they always helped me find ways to improve, including allowing me to move to my trainers for a year as a working student at 16. There I fell in love with eventing.

                            Mom and dad took that change in stride (in the four years I had been training I had switched from rodeo, to western pleasure (showmanship, halter the whole thing), to english, to hunters, to jumpers back to rodeo and then eventing) and helped me to learn this new and complex discipline

                            They took me to my first horse trial when I was 18 and were the best team I could ask for. Mom helped with all the paperwork, preparations, etc. Dad helped me with everything else. He handwalked my mare for me as I learned the courses, he even gave me a bit of advice along the way

                            As he waited for my ride time for xc he found a gameboy in the truck (how? I have no idea) and sat playing tetris while i trotted around nervously.

                            He even stood on top of the corner jump while I ran cross country and videod the entire course.

                            He taught me to drive a trailer, fix a flat tire and the value of good hard work. Mom taught me how to take control of my emotions and be a strong capable woman. I'll never be able to thank them enough for all the help they have given me. Even now at college three states away I call every time I ride and give dad an update. They come and see me regularly and have promised that the first show I attend with my OTTB they will be there, even if it's a small schooling show.

                            Okay guys. Now I'm bawling at work. Thanks :P
                            ~Over or Through~

                            A Blog of Percy's Journey!


                            • #15
                              My parents were 40 (mom) and 41 (dad) when I was born. They had been married for 16 years and told that they couldn't have children. When I came along, I was their "miracle" baby, and as a result, they have lovingly supported all of my interests and been very involved in my life. They like to say they had 16 years to enjoy themselves as a couple and develop the patience required to raise a child. Since I was born, they have always done everything with me...vacations, horse shows, cello recitals, acting classes, singing lessons, being sworn in to the Bar, you name it.

                              Although neither Mom nor Dad had any horse experience, Mom grew up loving horses and reading just about every horse book she could find. My aunt raised horses, and my love for them became evident when we visited her ranch in Texas when I was 3. As a 9 year old, my parents finally let me go to horse camp, and I haven't stopped riding since.

                              I COULD NOT ASK FOR BETTER PARENTS. My mom still comes to every lesson I take. Both of my parents have come to every single one of my shows (including those boring hunter shows I did in high school, AND those really boring IHSA shows from college). They go out to visit my horse without me just to be able to spend some "quality time" with him. Even though I'm 28 and fully capable, Mom still insists on doing all of the horse laundry (I might not be able to get all the stains out of my shipping wraps...or what if I accidentally shrink my polo shirt?!), and she won't let me near my tall boots for polishing (it's a highly methodical process, and heaven forbid I should apply the mink oil before a proper cleansing!). When I'm at an event, they coordinate with my boyfriend to make sure each of them can cover pictures for a different portion of the cross-country course. In addition, they will stand in as "horse show parents" for my friends whose parents aren't able to come along.

                              Without my parents, I doubt I'd be eventing today. What they've done for me and the opportunities they've given me are priceless. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people supporting me.


                              • #16
                                I come from extremely indoorsy people. As the school team was loading the trailer to head off to my first-ever event (Difficult Run, 1985), my mother looked at me, and said "Lara. Don't....

                                Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
                                Ms. Brazil


                                • #17
                                  Foxhunting family, who also rode Western out West...

                                  Actually, it would be interesting to spotlight some of the Eventing parents of our older competitors!! Or, how about that Japanese Dressage rider's parents?? (He was born in 1941, if he is 71...)

                                  co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


                                  • #18
                                    My parents are not horse people at all, but always tried to come watch shows when they could. My dad dabbles in photography and I have BOXES of beautiful photos of a blonde haired girl with a chestnut (or sometimes bay...) horse on xc... none of which are me! He could never tell, so he just shot everyone! And my mom used to love to go to the photographer's stand (back when they printed out proofs for you to buy on the spot, before everyone went digital) and buy "all the really pretty photos, where your horse's head is nice and UP" I never had the heart to tell here those weren't the shots I was going for in the dressage ring! They were - and continue to be- very supportive of this 20 year "horse phase" their little girl is going through.
                                    Balanced Care Equine


                                    • #19
                                      Oh man, where do I begin? My parents realized I was an equestrian before I have a recollection of making the decision (apparently I was 4 for my first official lesson). My dad, God love him, realized I was sunk after a few years and dutifully found me my first pony and built me a little barn and field on his 5 acres when I was 9. He suffered through local "hunter" shows (which now says was the most selfless thing he ever did for me, because they were the most horrific thing he ever attended) until I discovered eventing. At 12, he realized I was outgrowing my pony and found a great stallion to her breed to (the offspring of which is the spectacular mare you see in my pictures!) with hardly any knowledge about horses.

                                      Almost 20 years later, and even though we live in different states, he still meets me at 90% of my events. He knows I need my armband, helmet, and crop for XC, still ties my number around my vest, and holds my horse in COMPLETE silence because he knows not to speak a word to me right before I ride. He held my horse and my gloves while I vomited right before my first intermediate without a single comment. He lets me tell him all about my lines and plans and options when we walk and only responds when prompted. He knows enough to make comments on my dressage or a fence or two afterwards. Coming in with only rudimentary horse knowledge, I think he has evolved into the best horse show dad EVER.

                                      My mom likes to come but seems to grate on my last nerve before I ride, so she has to be banned from speaking. And she's terrified of anything above training. But she's great at holding the dogs and getting food!

                                      Pretty sure I couldn't have gotten much luckier in the parent department.
                                      Nomini Farm

                                      Madeira the Intermediate Pony!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Nomini View Post
                                        He held my horse and my gloves while I vomited right before my first intermediate without a single comment.
                                        BEST DAD EVER.