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!