Today (21 June 2021) is Father’s Day — the chance to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society… But if you are a rider and your dad falls into the category of “distinctly unhorsey” — there are a few, fairly specific things we should be thanking them for…
1. Towing supremo
Careering around a sizeable cross-country track might cause no problems, but the prospect of towing a trailer can raise the blood pressure of the most gutsy rider. Which is where your dad comes into play. There is something overwhelming reassuring knowing your dad has hitched up the trailer and that reversing down a narrow lane isn’t going to prompt a minor breakdown.
2. He knows his role
Once in situ at the event, the demands on your dad are limited. He takes up position in the driver’s seat, puts his seat back, the cricket on and rests his eyes. Until he hears screams from the trailer as your horse attempts to trample you — when he is happy to calmly lend a hand.
3. Bacon butty duty
There is one fairly crucial job that your dad has mastered — locating the bacon butty stand in the early hours of the morning. Horses, he claims, are to blame for his expanding waistline.
4. Catching the loose horse
Your dad may have never stepped foot in a stirrup, and has no intention of mastering bridle parts, but he has a strange — almost mystical — ability (watch out Monty Roberts) to catch a loose horse. Cue celebrity/hero status for the day.
5. Pest control
Your dad may have let you have a horse/pony as child but that goodwill was never going to extend to mucking out assistance. Except in an emergency situation. And your dad certainly knows how to recognise an emergency — that’s when you mistake a sleeping rat for a poo, and urgently need someone to come and remove it from the stable.
6. Heavy lifting
While he might not stretch to donning the rubber gloves for poo picking, he doesn’t want to foot the bill for a chiropractor (on top of the horse), so he’s on call for shifting those heavy bales.
7. Woodwork expertise
If you strike really lucky with your unhorsey dad, he’s one that likes a challenge in the garage… And that challenge can be a set of sturdy showjumps.
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8. His head torch
You might turn up to the yard ill prepared for locating your pony in the depths of winter at the bottom of the field — but a head torch is likely to be part of your dad’s ‘essential’ car kit.
9. No fuss
Just as you start to wonder why he does it all, you catch a glimpse of him nuzzling your horse’s nose over the fence when “no one is watching”. Perhaps it’s not such a chore after all?
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