In Honor of Father’s Day: The Seven Kinds of Show Dads You’ll See at Horse Shows
Maybe he’s the cowboy who inspired your love for horses and riding. Maybe he’s the one who drove the truck and trailer faithfully up and down the road. Or maybe he’s the one who would have preferred to take his golf cart to an actual course instead of a horse show.
No matter what his special role in your life is, he’s your horse show dad, and he’s got your back. Whether he’s the show dad who has never ridden a horse or the veteran trainer, coaching on the sidelines, your show dad is your rock.
In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve put together a list of the types of show dads you’re most likely to meet at a show.
1) The Tech Guru
You know this father when you spot the guy with all the gadgets: iPad, GoPro, the latest and greatest apps; you name it, he’s got it. We love this type of dad because he’s there with the perfect tech solution for you when your laptop freezes and you’ve got an assignment due in an hour or when your stall neighbor can’t figure out the new camera to video her ride.
2) The MacGyver
Who doesn’t love the dad who can put together your tack stall in 20 minutes flat, including hanging the stall curtains? Some dads bring a trade skill to the table or are just naturally great at fixing things, but his trademark is his vast knowledge about the most random things and his knack for being able to get you out of a jam. To the MacGyver Dad, frustrating horse show problems like broken zippers or hanging saddle racks on stalls that are just a stitch too wide are opportunities to show off their mad D.I.Y. skills. Also, if you need duct tape or zip ties, you know who to call.
3) The Entertainer
This is the guy who is here for a good time. He’s cracking the corniest jokes while setting up the snack bar at the stalls. He lives to make sure everybody at the show is eating, drinking, and having fun. Yeah, his jokes haven’t been truly funny since the 80’s, and his whole Mr. Ed comedy act with your horse is kind of embarrassing, but he teaches everybody to not take everything so seriously all the time and that’s why you love him.
4) The #1 Fan
Yes, this is the dad who maybe gets a little too competitive when a show rolls around, but he believes in you and is the engine that runs your machine. He thinks nothing of late nights schooling patterns or early morning coffee runs to keep you going. He doesn’t mind driving the trailer on no sleep in complete silence so that you can get just a few more hours of sleep. They never complain about any of it and are the first in line to give you that victory hug or wipe away your tears.
5) The Behind The Scenes Hero
Here’s to the dad that can’t always make it to the show because he’s working non-stop to support your habit. He probably cracks jokes all the time about how your horse’s bills cost more than a mortgage. However, he never hesitates to figure out how to stretch that wallet open a little wider when you’ve outgrown last year’s outfit or when you fall in love with that striking bay. Your horse show friends might even mistake him for a new groom or assistant when he does make it to a show, but you know all of the sacrifices he’s made so that you can do what you love.
6) The Tourist
He’s got a golf towel slung through his belt loop and he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. He’d truthfully rather be on a beach or a golf course, but he’s here – ready to wipe your boots or give you that good luck salute. He might not know the difference between halter and showmanship yet, but he’s got an itemized itinerary of any and all noteworthy sights to see in a 50-mile radius. In between classes, he’s either napping or cruising around town checking out the local attractions, but come showtime he doesn’t miss a minute. After the show, you’ll catch him kicking back at the RV or relaxing poolside at the hotel.
7) The Pro
He’s a full-time trainer, a judge, or competitive Amateur. He’s a natural coach with the uncanny ability to learn the ins and outs of any sport. Sometimes this dad has to spend time away from his kids because they’re not into the show scene or he’s got his own horse show commitments. However, this dad is your coach, teammate, and cheering squad all wrapped up into one. Whether it’s in the show pen or not, this kind of dad isn’t afraid to push you to your full potential. He doesn’t sugar coat it when you make a mistake, but your bond is like no other and there’s nothing that feels better than getting his nod of approval.
Is your show dad one of the types above, a combination, or even in a category all his own? Let us know what makes your show dad great in the comments below.
Happy Father’s Day to all the horse show dads out there!
View the slideshow below of more fathers at shows in honor of Father’s Day
About the Author: A native Michigander, Rachel Kooiker is a lover of horses who loves to write. She competes in all-around Amateur events with her APHA gelding, Hoos Real. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in English and Psychology and an MA in Curriculum & Instruction. She and her husband Drew operate Kooiker Show Horses, where they stand APHA World Champion Im the Secret. They have a 2½-year-old daughter, Reed, who enjoys “showing” her toy horses.
Beth Foster Hattan, Rebecca Holler-Criballi, John Kayser, Rebecca Merchant Halvorson, Cassidy Jensen (via Bar H Photography for the BHF), Shawna Eisenhart, Sonessa Gooding, Brian Isbell, Laura Tester, Emma Schellenberg, Shelby Ratliff, Vanessa Froman, Jenell Pogue, Mandi Knowles, Tara Landon, Emily Cramer