It’s Parents in Sport Week (2-8 October 2017) — and finally us ‘rents are getting the recognition we deserve! Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for us, Tabitha and Alfie would never ride at all (and no, we are NOT re-living our Pony Club days through them, whatever their other equally long-suffering parent may say!) Here’s why, actually, we deserve the highest accolade in the land for our services to our little darlings’ sporting careers…

1.The cold

The parents of football- or ballet-mad kids don’t know they’re born. They get to sit in a nice warm car or studio, watching their child do its thing (or ignoring them and reading the paper – whatever works for them.) Not for them the 5am starts, rushing round a muddy field to catch Snowy, only to find that he’s rolled in a giant patch of mud and now resembles a walking hairy cowpat. Not for them, hastily hosing said pony down and attempting to plait him up. Oh, the lucky, lucky warm-handed parents of football and ballet-mad kids. No chilblains for them.

2.The danger

As you watch your kid kick a ball around a field, you will never experience the same terror as a mother (or father) watching their beloved offspring jump round a cross-country course. The sheer relief when they clear that final fence! However proud we are of their courage, and however much we try to convince ourselves that life is more fun with a little risk, we sometimes wish they’d decided to take up a slightly less dangerous sport. Golf, perhaps. Or knitting. (It’s a sport, right?)

3. The towing

All parents moan about being a taxi service for their kids, but horsey parents take it to another level. Unless you too have spent four hours loading an angry Welsh Section A into an Ifor Williams trailer, which you’ve then had to manoeuvre down a single-track country lane, doing a 20-point turn to get it into the last spot in the parking field, then you can just pipe down about the fact you have to take Ronnie to Cubs twice a week. We’re not a taxi service — as let’s face it, Uber drivers don’t have to put up with this stuff — we’re freight.

4.The money

The parents of football- and ballet-mad kids may whine about having to fork out for the latest Liverpool kit for little Harry or a new set of pointe shoes for Arabella — but have they any idea how much it costs to kit out a horse and stick shoes on its feet? A lot flippin’ more, that’s how much. And don’t forget, you have to kit out the rider, too. Basically, if you’re the parent of a horsey kid, you may as well just hand over all your money to your farrier, vet, livery yard and local tack shop and have done with it.

Continued below…

5. Getting addicted to horses yourself…

You’ve spent the past 10 years taking Tabitha to shows every weekend. You can plait a horse’s mane up in less than 15 minutes and you’re on first name terms with every dressage judge in the county. Then Tabitha hits her teens, gets a boyfriend, and completely loses interest in Snowy – yet bursts into floods of tears every time you suggest selling him. You are now the sole carer of Snowy. You’ve had to get back on a horse for the first time in years in order to exercise him. But guess what… You’re now horse mad and will be taking yourself to shows every weekend for the next couple of decades! Your bank account will never recover to its non-horsey heyday. But such is fate. Just accept it, horsey parents, and enjoy the ride – you’ve earned it!