Thanks to all the Horse Show Dads!

Horse show dads are similar to many horse show husbands. Not all are seen at every show, but their support and love is felt all through the grounds.

Horse show dad’s come in so many forms and each and every one of them deserves to be honored on this Father’s Day and every other day.

We honor the Hands On Dad. He is often seen at the show ring gate or arena wall. He is an expert at saddling, brushing out tails and often even carries lipstick and electrical tape in his horse show tool kit. This dad loves the horses, the game and clearly he loves his family. He may or may not ride himself, but his efforts are seen up front and center at every show.

The secondary version of the hands on dad is the one at the shows working tirelessly behind the scenes to set up stalls, haul tack in and out and hook up and park the trailer or living quarters. He may not know how to put in a tail, but he is an expert at hanging fans and fixing fuses blown from 3am blow drying.

We recognize the Silent Support System Dad.  This dad is not seen as regularly at the shows. He is most often found in an office or with a phone in his hands. This dad works endless hours to facilitate the dreams of his family. He is rarely featured in the win photo, yet that photo is often printed and framed to be proudly displayed in his office. His value is in his unconditional love, phone calls to cheer you on and the willingness to sacrifice his own time to make your dreams come true.

We raise a glass to the Stats and Ribbon Collector Dads.  He is the one who is there to cheer on your every victory. From the first time you competed in a loping class to your World title this dad was there to cheer you on! He may not have a clue about horses and he may even be terrified of them, but he knows what a blue ribbon looks like and keeps your points and stats with the dedication of any sports fan. He is the one to make sure you are entered in all the classes you are eligible for and the one that helps analyze your go for the next round. This dad is often seen sporting a camera, notebook, video camera and proudly displaying your latest championship buckle.

We celebrate the Teacher Dad. This dad is found in the middle of the arena or coaching from astride his own horse next to you. He is the dad that taught you how to nail that lead change or gave you tips to better your body position. He may be a trainer or just a fellow horseman but his experience has been built by hours in the saddle. This dad is pretty brave as he takes on the role of both coach and dad. He may get the brunt of an unsuccessful class but he also gets the glory for those great rides. He lives to make you better than himself and his ultimate dream is for you to surpass him in and out of the show pen.

We tip our hats to the At Home Dad.  This dad is often found dragging your arena at home and harrowing fields. He puts in the sweat and tears so your horse can live in a safe zone. He may build you a riding arena or a small barn to make your goals a possibility. He builds a trail bridge and gate for you as Christmas gifts and is somehow always there in your driveway as your lift of hay is delivered. The At Home Dad puts his sweat equity to work so you can sparkle like a princess in the pen. He doesn’t make it to many shows unless they are close by as he is busy mucking stalls and feeding all of your critters at home.

We see the Diaper Toting Dads who keep the little ones safe while mommy chases her dream in the show pen. They deal with dusty arenas, dirty kids loaded up on horse show candy and the “I want Mommy” cries. These dads take the reins for dirty diaper duty to give you the freedom to keep your sanity and sense of self. Many are also there to cheer you on, though some support from home with the littles tucked safely in their own beds.

They are often found holding the handle of a wagon filled with toys and kids or if they are lucky the lead shank of an adorable pony. If we are lucky,  these dads grow to hold many of the other dad types mentioned as time goes on.

We herald the rarest of all the dads, and the one which I was lucky enough to be raised by. “The all of the Above Dad.”

My dad was the jack of all trades. He could help put in a tail and zip chaps with the best. He could park a rig in the tightest of spaces to ensure my safety and comfort on the grounds. He worked hard to support his family and find the expendable income to allow me to chase my dreams, yet he managed to be there for the big wins.

Dad celebrated my victories and commiserated my failures, while helping me grow by providing feedback. He was the one that taught me how to navigate a trail pattern by breaking it down obstacle by obstacle and he built me a two stall barn so my show horse could live in style. He helped me paint logs and built my bridge so I could practice trail at home and even built my stall signs so I looked stylish at the shows.

Lastly, we remember the Dad in Heaven.  He rides with us in spirit as we enter the pen and navigate life. His memory gives us strength to carry on and his passion remains in our hearts as we live our dream. This is also the category for my dad, Ed.

My dad was everything to me. He was a large part of me being where I am today and building my passion for this industry. I miss him every single day, but I know he is still with me as I chase my goals.

I encourage everyone to take the time on this Father’s Day to celebrate their dad. Enjoy the little moments and the memories you make. They truly are meant to last a lifetime and beyond.

Thanks Dad xoxo