Overzealous parents cheering from the side-lines — perhaps the only thing football and showjumping have in common.
As a parent of a lovely young man (or woman) you excitedly ask what they would like to be when they grow up and shudder when the word “footballer” is mentioned. Here is why your son (or daughter) should become the next Scott Brash instead of the next Wayne Rooney…
1. Career longevity. John Whitaker just competed at his sixth Olympic Games at the grand age of 61 and Nick Skelton won Olympic gold at 58. Now what age did a certain Mr Beckham retire at? 38.
2. You don’t tend to read about a showjumper falling out of a club at 3am. Fortunately stories about showjumpers falling out of lorries and marquees never make the news…
3. Showjumpers have a “get back on the horse” fighting spirit. A footballer takes a knock on the shin and after some spectacular front flips to rival the Russian gymnastic team, they crumple to the floor clutching their poor leg while a team of medical professionals come running on to the pitch with a stretcher. Now you try and keep a showjumper down. Sheer determination to get back on that horse even if their ankle is now pointing in the wrong direction.
4. Work ethic. A footballer won’t get out of bed for less than £100,000 a week… meanwhile a showjumper is up at 5.00 am getting the horses turned out and ready to tackle the day’s tasks and his pay-check is based on a clear round on Saturday.
5. Showjumpers tend to have a great working relationship with their coach and chef d’equipe. A football player might not always have such a harmonious working relationship with their manager… just ask David Beckham after the notorious “boot-gate” scandal with Fergie in the Manchester United changing room.
6. Footballers can be known as notorious “players” with a new girlfriend on their arm every other week… being a parent of a showjumper you can (hopefully) rest assured the main focus in their life is a beautiful 16.2hh bright-bay mare that goes by the name Venus.
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7. Showjumpers know the best kind of “horse power” has four legs and a tail and not four wheels and a turbo. They’ll choose a Belgian Warmblood over a Lamborghini any day.