Friday, June 13, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Dad

My dad always had a soft spot for animals, especially dogs and horses. Over the last couple of decades he's had a succession of crazy, loopy Labrador retrievers that think nothing of sleeping half the day away on my parents' couch. Right now my dad has a daffy Labradoodle. That's a cross between a Lab and a Standard Poodle. Just think about that visual image for a second. And yes, that's my parents' barn dog.

When it comes to horses, my father likes pretty much any breed of horse, as long as it has a decent mind and doesn't wantonly destroy property. I mean, a dad will fix a broken stall door only so many times before he says, "Enough already. Put a danged cribbing strap on the son-of-a-gun!"

However, my father has expressed an abiding affection for a good old fashioned Quarter horse. He's had a couple of his own that he rode on the trails. One was a bay gelding named Rich Boy ("Ricky"). Since Ricky was off the track, he had perfected the ability to sprint reallyreallyreally fast for short periods of time at a moment's notice. More than once Ricky surprised my father by treating him to a simulated three-furlong horse race. The other Quarter horse my father had was Pokey, a small sorrel mare that came straight off a cattle ranch. As her name implied, Pokey was in no hurry to get anywhere... unless food was at the end of the trail. My father rode Pokey until advanced arthritis caused him to give up riding altogether, which was a sad day indeed.

Nonetheless, my father continued to support my sister and me in our riding. Though he didn't attend a lot of horse shows, he was our "go-to guy" whenever we needed something built, fixed or hefted around the barn. If it involved power tools or electrical wiring, our dad was at the ready. If the horse trailer was making a hinky noise or the tires seemed soft, guess who we called? Our dad.

Since Sunday is Father's Day, it seems only fair that all of us think of how our dads supported our horse habit. Maybe they weren't as emotionally involved as our moms (let's face it, the term "Horse Show Mom" was invented for a reason), but most of us had dads who understood how much we loved our horses. Click on this link to read about Horse Dads:
Give Your Dad His Due

Then leave your comments there. Like previous installments of "HI SPY" some of the responses may appear in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated magazine.

Oh. And to any dads who might be reading this: Happy Father's Day!


Nancy said...

It's funny, but my mom wasnt that involved with horses, but my dad was. My parents got me my first horse when I was 7 - a nasty, biting mare named Star. She only lasted a few months, then I got an adorable pony named Charlie Brown, and Dad got a chestnut grade horse named Red Gate.

Dad was the one that got into riding with me. He had a group of men that all rode together. And they let me tag along. I never really showed, but loved trail riding. A group of 10 or so men in their 30's - 50's, and one 8 year old with long braids on her chubby pony. I had a blast trail riding with my dad and his buddies, and also long beach rides in the winter. Wonderful memories!

Anonymous said...

I dont have a horse, but my dads the one always driving me to go ride the little arabian i lease! my dads always alright wiht driving me no matter how much he hates going to stables he'll do it just because, i'm so horse crazy! My mom is the one who gets me breeeches, a helmet or boots when i need it! I have to admit, i'm a bargain shopper, my mom took me to get new breeches and i saw some that were used but looked like new, they were only $5 ! It works for me LOL!

Cindy Hale said...

Maybe I'm just sentimental by nature, but I love reading about the special memories we have with horses and our family members. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

**sigh** If only my husband was as understanding about my horses as my dad is. (well, now, after 10 years, and 22 horses have come and gone....) My dad used to get frustrated when I talked nonstop about the horses.... but somewhere along the way, a little seed was planted into his heart.... Now he doesn't always come into the house to se ME first, he walks back to the pasture, picks some grass, hugs them, THEN he comes in and I get a hug!
But he's the first one I call when I need help, and he never fails to mend fence, fix stalls, catch my adorable colt Houdini, I mean Chance, who can open gates.....
Mom and I used to try to "say" what the horses were thinking, and dad went nuts.... Now he does it too!!! I even got to watch him ride my Shadow with confidence before Shadow died. Who stood there with me, arms around my shoulders, sobbing with me while the backhoe dug my beautiful Shadow's grave??? My Dad... So THANK YOU DAD.. I may have never gotten the pony he promised, but I DID get to share my love and devotion to my horses with my dad. (Actually, what makes it sweeter is that he's my stepdad, who raised me when he didn't have to, working tons of overtime just to take care of me and mom. THANK YOU DAD.)
Sorry this is so long... just had to say it.. (Oh, I just have to add... he used to say that mom and I were hopeless, and that we had "horse radar" meaning if there were a horse,donkey, pony, mini or mule within 10 miles, we would find it, and drag him to see it... NOW HE DOES THE SAME THING!!) Gotta love dads...

Anonymous said...

My dad never really got involved with horses until now- I started leasing a big sweedish warmblood who my dad loved. Thanks to him, my dad now knows how to groom, tack up, tighten a girth, and muck a stall. Yes he actually likes to do these things(sometimes)! My dad never said I couldn't with horses and he always supported me. Plus he's great at video taping me ride- my mom freaks out and films the ground! My dad rocks!