Today (18 June 2023) 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 predict you 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 has been known to raise the blood pressure of many a rider. Which is where your dad is likely to come into play. While we know we are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves if necessary, there is something reassuring about knowing your dad has hitched up the trailer and can reverse your rig down a narrow lane should the occasion require it.
2. He’s there when he’s needed
Once in situ at the event, the demands on your dad may be less. He can take up his preferred position in the driver’s seat, put his seat back, the cricket (or other sport of choice) on the radio, and rest his eyes. That is until he hears raised voices from the aforementioned trailer — when he is happy to calmly lend a hand.
3. Bacon butty duty
There is one fairly crucial job that you can be confident your dad has mastered — locating the all-important bacon butty stand shortly after arrival. Horses and horse shows, he claims, are to blame for his expanding waistline.
4. Catching the loose horse
Your dad may have never stepped his 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. Except in an emergency situation. And your dad certainly knows how to recognise an emergency — such as when you find a dead rat, and urgently need someone to come and remove it from the stable.
6. Heavy lifting
While he might not stretch to donning rubber gloves for poo picking, he doesn’t want to foot the bill for a human chiropractor if he can avoid it, 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 knocking up a set of sturdy showjumps.
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. Just don’t forget to give it back!
9. He loves it really
Just as you start to wonder why he does it at all, you catch a glimpse of him nuzzling your horse’s nose over the fence when “no one is watching”. Perhaps life with a horsey offspring isn’t such a chore after all?
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Credit: Alamy Stock Photo
Whether your father is a super-keen or reluctant equestrian, here are 15 perfect presents to thank him this Father’s Day
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