HI Spy: Did Your Dad Support Your Horse Habit?

    How did your dad support you as a rider?

    If you’re like most horse lovers, your dad didn’t always understand your obsession with horses, but he faithfully supported it in some fashion. With Father’s Day in mind, we’d like to know about your Horse Dad. Did he match any of these profiles?

    Hands-on Dad: In addition to the mechanical skills many males seem to be born with, this type of Dad also had an unwavering desire to participate in his child’s passion.  Thus, he served honorably as horse hauler, jump builder, tractor driver and Mr. Fix-it around the barn. Need an automatic waterer installed? Ask this Dad.

    Voice of Reason Dad: Whether you sought it or not, this kind of Dad dispensed fatherly advice. The speech usually began with, “You know, Honey, if you sold your horse you could afford a car that was a little more dependable.” Of course, you turned a deaf ear. But he meant well.

    Born-in-the-Saddle Dad: This rare breed of Dad didn’t just dream of being a cowboy as a kid, he actually became one! He taught you how to saddle your first pony and how to get a halter on a reluctant horse. Even today, you trust his horse sense.

    Check-Signing Dad: Although he might not know the difference between a Pelham and a kimberwicke, this sort of Dad was always ready with pen in hand to write yet another check for your horse hobby. He went without his new set of golf clubs or scaled back vacation plans so you could buy a new pair of boots. While you may have worked for such indulgences—good grades and household chores—you’re well aware that it will never be enough to truly repay him.

    Do any of these sound like your dad? Or was yours a one-of-a-kind Horse Dad? Let us know by clicking on “Submit a Comment” below. Some of your answers may be chosen to be featured in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated magazine.

    See more HI Spy questions>>


    1. My dad never really supported my horseback riding, since he was afraid that i would fall off and kill myself, like that superman guy. but everytime he had a chance, he would always come by the stables and watch my lessons. Most of all, he loved taking pictures of me on a horse. Then when there was a family reunion, he would get all the pictures printed out and show it to all his friends and exagerrate how i hung on to the horse and brought it back under control as it bucked wildly like a bronco(i actually fell off).It was kind of embarassing, yet horrifically funny as he trumped every parent on talking about how great their kid was.

    2. My dad is definitely the ultimate Born-in-the-Saddle Dad! He is fearless in the saddle and has always been that way. He always made sure that I had a good, safe horse with a little attitude or spunk to keep me from becoming a sack of potatoes in the saddle! I have seen my dad fall out of his saddle more times than I have fingers and toes, but he always got back on. Note: he is an excellent rider, his horse is just crazy and needed lots of calming! So many of my childhood memories are of our cowboy trail rides and camping adventures with the horses. I could not have asked for a better horse dad! He has taught me everything that I know, including the emergency dismount.

    3. My father had ridden horses as a child, so he loved horses. It just took a while to get him to buy me one, probably because of the money issue. But I could always tell he was glad that I got to experience the same joy of riding that he once had.

    4. My dad has always been a bit of a thorn in my side when it comes to horses. If it was solely up to him, I wouldn’t been 100ft from a horse, let alone own one. His motto is, “Those animals are too big and too smart!” Thankfully though, my mom shares a sliver of my passion for horses so I’ve got back-up. ;D

    5. My dad is so awesome. He is mostly the hands-on fix-it-all dad because he was a farm boy growing up. He’s the best with all the fencing, barns, waterers, other electrical things. He’s a little bit of the born-in-the-saddle just because he knows so much about how to handle animals and what they like to try to get away with such as he does a great job at fixing our fence from or preparing it for my mischievous Houdini horses.

    6. My father is a combination of the “hands-on” and the “voice of reason” profiles. He’s always willing to fix things, help set up corrals, spread manure with the tractor, etc., even though he’s always on a tight schedule. Meanwhile, when he can’t do it hands-on, he always has plenty of advice! I’m grateful to him for both, and ultimately I appreciate that he ever allowed me to have a horse to begin with.

    7. I couldnt ask for a better dad this fathers day. Although he cant ride and doesnt know the difference between any of the horses that stand in our pasture, he is more than happy to haul,pay for, or lead around any horse I ask. Although we cannot afford the best of the best, he will make sure I have exactly what I need within reason. Not a day has gone by that my horse hobby had to take the back burner because he makes sure he puts my horse and my riding before anything he wants. He is the perfect horsey father and I couldnt ask for anything better! I love my dad

    8. My dad is a little in the middle he pays all of the horsie bills but he also comes to local shows. Plus before I was born he rode tennessee walkers so he does know a thing or two (but a little less than he thinks haha). So he’s pretty awesome. =]

    9. My Dad is the born in the saddle type. e was the one that got me started on horses even thought he didn’t know he did.
      When I was little he led me around a lot on the back of a horse we have to this day.
      I started to want to ride more and more so he taught me to ride by myself.
      He encourages me to take on the challenge of horses and even today he is giving me advice on how I should train my new colt.
      My Dad has inspired me to be what I am today, a horse lover.

    10. My dad has always supported my love of horses. He has bought me whatever I needed, urged me to buy things when I felt bad about it, taken me to the barn at all weird times and encourages me to do better.
      When we went to Mexico he even went riding with me. It was his first time on a horse and he got to ride bareback in the ocean 😀 And he LOVED IT!

    11. My father supported my horse habit financially, but the custom tack box he built for my sister & I was the best! He sat down with us, and we told him all the cool features we could think up. It held all of our equipment – saddle ,bridle, blankets etc. and had removable sections with handles so all grooming equipment could be lifted out, used and put back easily. When someone broke into the tackroom where we boarded, our stuff was the only stuff that didn’t get stolen!

    12. While my Mom made me earn all my own moeny and everything for horses (yet still supported me), Dad was the exact opposite.
      He’d try to help me find horses to lease, pay for horse related things, always asked, “You going riding tonight?” And is the one trying to convince Mom to let me get a horse! Dad’s a great aren’t they?
      Happy Father’s Day to Dads! You all rock!

    13. I am very thankful that my dad supports my horse hobby. He is always taking me to lessons and helping me around the barn with stuff from grooming and tacking up to refilling water buckets and sweeping the barn aisle. Even though he does not ride any more, he rode when he was little and knows as much as I do. When he does not know something, he does not hesitate to ask. He enjoys being at the barn almost as much as I do and I am very glad that he does.

    14. i have my blood-father and step-father, and they both have always been there. my blood-father is for sure the “voice of reason dad”, he always has something to say weather it is riding a horse is to dangurous or how much money could be used on something else. i am sure he would also be a born-in-the-saddle dad also, there just never enough time and plus he lives too far. on the other hand my step father is both born-in-the-saddle, and check-signing. most times at the stables he is waiting the turn to be in the saddle, and if he does not get that turn he will walk out for me or something like that. my step father is also the check-signing dad, altough he cant belive how high all the suplements, shoes, board, ex. can go he is always there asking how much, how much?! and i love my dads to death for everything they have done for me. HAPPY FATHERS DAY!

    15. My dad is definetly a “voice of reason” dad. He is always very realistic and although it seems his advice is ridiculous, i know he means the best and thats way i love him!

    16. I had the voice of reason dad. In fact, when I asked him about helping to pay for my wedding, he pointed to my horse that was out in a corral and said, “See that? That’s your wedding.” It sounds kind of harsh, but he was being truthful. And now it’s funny to think about. And of course, I kept the horse and had a very small backyard wedding reception!

    17. Sadly, my dad didn’t fit any of these categories… he considered my riding lessons a luxury that could only be paid for after everything else, and ONLY if I did everything else I was supposed to do…

    18. My dad may not be a horse genius, but he was always there to help. His handy work was also helpful. He built fences, stairs to the loft, jumps, sided the barn….u name it. He helped to care for the horses too. My dad supported me in my riding and learned along the way. He had been overly helpful, despite is knowledge lack.

    19. My dad is the Check signing dad AND the Born in the saddle dad. he did not teach me how to ride because he is just getting back into horses. so i am basically teaching HIM how to ride again!! but he is logical in the way we spend our money with our 5 horses right now!!!

    20. JUST another thought to my comment before…my dad is so supportive of my hobby, but he is always having to take my head in his hands and make me repeat after him “I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER HORSE” I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER HORSE… hahaha i love him

    21. My Dad always respected my horse passion even though he didn’t really get it. But it made me happy so he picked me up from lessons rain, snow or sun, went to watch me at shows and filmed hours of movies (no dvd in my early days. Daddy always wanted us to do things together so he even took riding lessons just to spend time with me over the weekends. I can still remember him bouncing up and down in the saddle, stiff as a board trying to learn to post. I will always love him for that. And even though he went back to golfing on weekends, he never failed to miss a lesson or a show. He was just great!

    22. I had the greatest dad, I begged and begged him for a horse and when we moved to a bigger place he got me one. We trained him ourselves and I rode in the playdays as they were called back then. They were pole bending, racing, barrels ect. He always got me into each event that I wanted to go in and you could hear him over the crowd yelling for me to go, go, go.
      When I won the best all around Appaloosa trophy just to have an adult(I was about 13) argue over a point to get the trophy, you could see the rage in my dads eyes and the sorrow for me.
      Anyway he is gone and so is my buddy Blue, but what memories I have. Happy Fathers Day Dad, where ever you may be.

    23. My Dad is both the check-signing dad and the hands-on Dad. I started taking riding lessons with my Dad as a bonding experience and when he had to stop because of the intensity of his job, he still supported my lessons and my desires to become a better horse person. When I asked for my first horse, my Dad was the one who asked me to truly research horse ownership before giving me the OK and even after I received my horse, my Dad still supports me and anytime I need help putting up signs or hammering in some loose nails. Now that he is having free time again, we’re thinking about having him come out and ride with me again and eventually take care of my horse for me when I go off to college.

    24. My dad is a “One of a kind” dad. He rarley pays for any of my horsey things because he thinks I should have to work for what I want. But he always supports everything I do. I board my horse so my dad doesnt get the chance to fix things around the barn, but if im ever in need of a new saddle rack, or anything he could build at home, he gets right to work. He grew up with horses, though he’s not a cowboy, he can ride a farely well. He comes every so often to the barn and does a little riding, and watches to see what ive done with my horses. He always has helpful information for me if horses get a bit confusing. He may not be a very hands on dad, but I think hes one step better.

    25. My Dad was (he’s no longer living) the classic “Voice of Reason” dad. He never understood why I spent so much money and time on horses and everything that goes along with them. But you better bet he was there in the stands to cheer me on whenever I was competing.

    26. My Dad is a combination of hands-on and check-signing dad. Since I am a Hunter Jumper he builds jumps and keeps the pastures mowed and installs feeders pays all the major bills and hauls me to shows lessons and trail rides. He hates horse and does even know the difference between a trot and a canter but he does it for me because I love them.

    27. My dad is a combination of all of those. He grew up riding horses and they even used draft horses to farm. It took awhile for me to get a horse of my own because of financial issues. After I got a horse he got one also so we could go riding together. Now we go trail riding almost every weekend. Sometimes I even have to be the voice of reason to him when we go to auctions. Saying that we DO NOT need any more horses. Sometimes, but not very often is he the check signing dad. If I’ve been working hard and there is something that i’m saving up for sometimes he will buy it for me. I am very greatful for my dad.

    28. My Dad (not living anymore) was the one who gave me my first introduction to horses when I was 3 and that’s all it took. He was a rider himself, as a young man, in England’s Cavalry during the war. Needless to say my passion and love for horses comes from him. My dad died when I was 10 but that didn’t stop my Mom from carrying out his wishes and sending me to riding school, horse shows and even summer horse camp. Both my parents were dedicated to my love of horses.

    29. My dad is the check-signing type, but he also really likes my horse. Today when he picked me up from the barn I board at, the first words out of his mouth when he saw me were not, “Hello, nice to see you” or any sort of thing like that. No, it was, “Where’s Flash?” I walked out laughing, knowing he didn’t mean to forget to greet me, but I couldn’t resist making a joke to the rest of the workers eating lunch outside. “Well, now I know where I standin comparison to my horse!”
      My dad likes to ride and is good with horses. They seem to accept him as a leader upon sight. It’s pretty darn amazing. My dad is more involved with my horses than my mom, actually. I love my dad. He’s really awsome.

    30. Well my Dad is the check-shinging type of dad. you know what is really sad is when your dad doesn’t even know what color your horse is. But, he is still very suportive. He hates that my horse Phoebe has to go to Alamo pintado Equine Medical Center for navicular syndrome. But he still sings that big check for the vet bills even though he doesn’t know what color she but he is a great dad.

    31. well, my dad is a mix of three of them! The hands on dad came out when we needed to get the arena finished because show season was coming up. So out came the strong dad with his hammer and chainsaw!! The voice of reason is always there, telling me im going to want a car in a few years so I better start thinking about that…but ofcourse I pay no attention to that! Then ofcourse theres the check signing dad. Well, he doesn’t actually write them mom does and we tell him later. But he’s the one making the money so why not! But now that I think of it…he has always helped me a lot and I need to start thanking him a lot more! I love you daddy!

    32. My father was never interested in riding horses, but he did support the my big horse occasions.
      My father is a sign painter, so when I went to my first show, he arived with a banner that said “Go J!”. I will never for get the moment when I walked into the ring on my horse, and he held up the banner, all my friends and family said “GO J!”.(J was my initial). I didn’t win anything, but it was priceless! No one else had a dad in the audience that made a pretty little banner for them, then yelled for them! Tears come to my eyes when I think about that day.

    33. My dad was a “pay the bills only” dad, and in 10 years of showing, he only saw me ride once. I was so nervous that I bombed badly. Not a great way to get him to come back for more!

    34. My dad has always supported my love for horses. He’s the one who even got me hooked on horseback riding. He’s the one who always took me to my riding lessons and bought me my first horse 3 years ago. He finally rode that horse a few weeks ago for the first time! Every vacation, I always want to go trailriding. My dad, my little brother, and I are the only ones who will go ride. My mom and my sister will go do something else, like sit on the beach, go touring, shopping, or sleep late. My dad is the one who works really hard not just to support his wife and kids, but for my horse, and our dog, too. I love my dad for many reasons, but his support for me and my love of horses has made me really appreciate the things he does for me, wether I like it or not.

    35. yes my dad was so great when i was growing up he always had horses for me, and even though we could not really afford it we managed to get by.

    36. My dad never was too interested in the horse thing but I was happy because of it. Haha, He knew everything, ya know. But he would put up fences with us and just give a short, angry nod, when we asked what he thought of getting another horse. he would check the troughs regularly, reminding me to “Fill it or they’ll be gone!” and sometimes doing it himself for me (I was ALWAYS busy and rarely home). He comes to a Fair shows every year (my most important show), gave me his opinion on everything of course (he knows it all, remember?) but I know he thinks that I had do well because after fair, I must go through weeks of praise at all I have accomplished, how good I’m getting, and what a good horse I have. (I assure you it’s torture 😉 ). So in his own little ways, my dad is supportive- he just doesnt like to show it.

    37. my dad doesn’t support me..he’s never came to the barn to watch me ride, and he’s never gone to any of my shoes..he says horses are dumb and stupid, and a waste of money, and blah blah blah. obviously, i’ve never listened. neither of my parents help me pay for anything, i pay for it all myself (i’m 17 now).

    38. I would like to thank all of those dads out there who support their kids with there horses. We all know it can get very expensive, so thanks!:)

    39. My dad was born and raised on a ranch. He HATES english, but he always gives me his westernly advice. He always paid the bills. 🙂 This is for you dad!

    40. My dad … well he built a barn for my horse when i got her, he builds the jumps, he hauls my horses everwhere and pays for the hay. he helps me pay when i really need it. when he goes to TSC he always goes to the horse section calls me and asks if i need treats or something when he doesnt call he always comes wih treats in the bag. lol. Dad you are he best and i love you lots. this is for you!!!

    41. I got into horses because I had friends who owned horses. My parents were very supportive though and let me take lessons. My dad was there for almost every lesson, watching and learning. He gave me advice and reminded me as I rode by to keep my heels down. Eventually he started taking lessons with me. It was so great to have my dad as my riding buddy! He even competed in a few shows. Sometimes we were in the same classes competing against each other. I got my first horse almost two years ago. I’m sure he thought it was bad timing, voiced any disapproval in my decision. He understands how much Ace means to me. Although dad doesn’t ride anymore, he sometimes meets me at the barn after work to give Ace treats and attention. I’m so grateful to have a dad who got involved and showed an interest in what I love.

    42. My dad is soo supportive of my horse passion! He is getting pretty excited about planning and designing my fence and lean-to/barn I will need in the near future when I get my horse. I love him soo much! Thank You Dad!

    43. My dad supports me with everything about horses! (well almost everything) We moved so we could have hay and horse property, he pays for the horses and the lessons from Ann Gilpin! He hauls us to shows, 4H, clinics, everything! He even bought me the coolest thoroughbred for my 13th birthday named silent perfection. My dad is the best when it comes to horses and hes a big part of 4H, he doesnt even ride and he is way supportive. I couldnt thank him enough!

    44. My dad was an all around born-in-the-saddle dad. He taught me how to ride, and bought me my first pony when I was 3. I always ask him for help when I need it with my horse, Willow. He always gives me advice and is a great person to go to if you have horse problems!!

    45. When my dad was a kid he lived in a developement but in the summer when he went on vacation to the pocono mountains all he wanted to do was ride the horses. Finally they gave him a job. He never had riding lessons but he taught himself mostly and lead trail rides all summer. Once he told me that he jumped on the most spirited horse, bare-back and got knocked off on a tree branch. We can’t afford a horse yet but my Dad takes me on trail rides sometimes and neither of us can wait until we get horses. He loves big horses like belgians and clydsdales. He takes me to all sorts of horsey places, horse shows, racetracks you name it. And when I used to take riding lessons I taught him how to tack up english because he only ever rode western. He loves horses almost as much as I do and I’m glad of that!

    46. My dad absolutly HATED that I loved horses as a kid. HE had grown up with his mother being a very successful Arabian breeder so he was around horses all the time and always hated horses! Luckily since my grandmother was an Arabian breeder she was obviously a major horse lover and my mother’s father is still a big horse lover and in fact bought me my first horse. To this day my dad hates most horses and has never understood my or my family’s obsessuin with them!

    47. my dad likes horses and when I bought my horse he bought one for him too! he fixes EVERYTHING and I go on trail rides with him a lot (this is the only time we have had horses but I have been rideing since I was 6)

    48. NO. He bought feed and rode sometimes but his attitude toward animals was this (and I quote):
      “Who cares? They’re animals-they live, they die.”
      Gross, huh?

    49. My dad is amazing! He loves my passion, even though he doesn’t ride himself! He keeps on saying that now HE wants to begin to ride, which in my defense, I don’t think is gonna happen! He’s even the one who promised that I could buy my own horse when I turned 16!

    50. My daddy bought me my first horse, and helped me with him. Dad found out where to put fences and taught my horse a lesson when he tried to buck me off or not listen. I LOVE MY DAD!!!!

    51. When I first told my parents that I wanted a horse they blew their fuses! But I kept quietly looking over the years until I got one. Or, er AM going to get one… My Dad hasn’t exactly SUPPORTED my love of horses, but he hasn’t ever be-littled or embarrassed my for liking them. Thanks Dad! Hope we get Lucy soon!

    52. My dad hasnt been around alot but he does come and visit every once and a wile. he loves teh fact that i have horses and will ride with me when he comes to visit. I do have to say a 6 foot+ guy on a 14.1 hand horse is pretty Funny looking. I live with my grandparents and my grandpa has prety much been my “father” figure. He realy doesnt like horses but over the years he has warmed up to them. He has done alot for me like help me build fences, and he is even going to help me build a tack room!

    53. my dad come from a non-horsey until he met my mom. so my dad was one of those dads who would help with the maintence, cutting hay, hauling horses to shows and from auctions. i remember dad hauling horses to horseshows and other events. he helped out as much as he could until he go no longer do anything anymore. he passed away before i graduated from high school.

    54. My dad never really supported me. and my love for horses. He’d rather me do something less expensive but he still pays for my lessons. thanks dad 🙂

    55. My Dad nowadays can’t do all the things that he and I did back then, but he still supports my horsey life in almost everything. I love him soooo much for that. Of course I love him for other things too, like him being my Dad (of course)!!

    56. Absolutely, and he still does! He has nicknamed himself “barn boy” for all of the times he’s held my pony at shows, wiped my boots clean, gotten my number, groomed my pony, and other important tasks. I don’t know where I would be without my dad there at shows rooting me on, and moving things along!

    57. My dad was there from the beginning. He was the one who said “I promise you, you will have a horse someday!” and ever since then, he has helped me with research about breeds, expenses, planes for building a barn, and he was happy for me when I got my horse! And he is building the barn for all of our horses. And I often get those ” I’m proud of you” moments when he looks at my wall with big blue ribbons on it from my shows.

    58. He’s more the person who would rather be doing not watching. But he never got into riding until he was paying for the horse then he was interested. He watches when we’re working on something new and always asks how he did and was the HUGE finical support but he wasn’t the one to come watch us ride really. But I know he supports me riding and making a career out of it which is alot better then those who try to sell the horse to get the car or try to get their daughters to stop riding.

    59. My dad has always been involved in my horsey life….but my mom has been more involved in driving me to the barn then my dad. But my dad has always supported me with every decision I make with horses, different barns etc. When I was younger my mom would say….maybe you should take a break from riding and my dad would always say…no, no why should she do that? My dad was the one who bought me my first horse….without telling my mom lol!!!!!!! But when it comes to horse shows neither of my parents really went to them. I just went with my friends or whatever.

    60. Yes! He is always out there with me. We even fight over our bigest barrel horse, Rocket, that was bought for me. Ha, but i don’t mind. I would rather him be out there, then never spend time with me and the horses. I guess I’ll just keep ridding the pony. ha.

    61. My dad wasn’t really sure about riding at first and it took about 8 years of begging and reasonning (and I will admit, some help from mom) to convince him that I wasn’t going to kill myself on the first lesson. Now he’s the total opposite. He loves the horses to bits and supports me in almost everything I do 🙂

    62. My Dad is voice of reason and hands on. Need something fixed? Call my daddy! He pulls trailers for show, fixes leaky hoses, and just about does it all. But the riding 😉

    63. I couldn’t be more grateful to my dad and his involvment in my riding.
      As he used to ride before having a disabling accident, he comes out to the stables everytime I go
      (at least 3 times a week), and he is always happy to give me advice about my training. Thanks dad!

    64. My dad doesn’t know anything about horses or riding. But as a fellow athlete he gives me advice. And it’s fun teaching him about horses and taking him to pet the horses. And whenever there is a real estate magazine we look through it looking at the houses with barns in the back and talking about all the horses we would be able to keep there.

    65. My dad is definitely a hands on dad. He taught me a lot of what I know about horses. He hauls, puts out hay, yells commands, and most of all, encourages. I couldn’t ask for a better horse-dad.

    66. My Dad is the Born-in-the-Saddle kind of father. He is the reason I love horses. My dad and I are always watching horse races, looking at pedigrees, and hauling the trailer up to sales. If not for him, I would never have the love for horses that I do. I know that I am such a lucky person to have a father that practically raised me in a stable and taught me to ride. He was also the one to pick me up after a hard fall and put me back in the saddle. I’m almost ashamed to say his horse obsession is greater than mine! Thanks for all the great times, Dad!


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