You probably know them. They are confused and running around at competitions looking terrified not knowing what to do with themselves. They are dragged around weekend after weekend completing their task of holding on to something, fetch something, take bad pictures and use a whole day to transport you and your horse to and back from the competition – all for our sake. Yes, you are right! We talk about all the ponydads, boyfriends, girlfriends and husbands. This article is dedicated to all of them. They deserve attention and tons of gratitude.
Often, they have no idea what they are getting themselves into when their daughter or their son decide to start riding. But three years later the riding school once a week is swapped out with his or her own pony and competitions every weekend plus a dad standing close to the arena as a nervous wreck.
Ponydads are seldom completely sure what the competitions are all about. For them it is a success when the child or girlfriend/boyfriend is staying on the horse. And just a tip for all of you: If you partner is smiling when finished in the arena it means that it all went very well. Is she shaking her head you probably should not ask too many questions.
There are probably many partners who can recognize that they had no idea what they got themselves in to when they started dating you. Your car is always messy, there is always hay in your hair without you noticing it. You are probably also feeling most perfect when you are wearing breeches. How many partners have not been dragged to the stable and asked to muck out, fetch some hay, walk around with the horse or even forced to ride it?
And then there is the question about money. Why is it so expensive with only one horsepower when a car has 200 and cost half of the money in terms of living costs?
So why do it:
Girls and boys who are obsessed with horses, completely into it and defined by their hobby – they do not (luckily enough) have much time for anything else. It is an obsession that does not leave room for much else like parties, alcohol, and teenage stuff. And a husband or boy-, girlfriend can always find the “horsegirl- or boy” in the stable or sleeping at the sofa Friday evening. A time out partying for a horse owner is a trip to the feeding store or DIY store.
To nurse and take care of a pony or a horse is to put the needs of an animal before your own. You learn to take responsibility, about love, to share and plan your time. All of this is abilities that are appreciated by a husband – otherwise he would not be there. On the other hand, as a partner you have to be aware that the horse always comes first. Sorry to say, but you will most likely be degraded as second best in the family.
When the girlfriend, wife or child participates in competitions they push themselves to do their best and constantly strive to become better riders. This develops a strong sense of teamwork, motivation and creates unique social bonds between humans and animals. As a partner to an equestrian, it is defiantly qualities which are appreciated.
Finally, horses make your partner or child extremely happy and in balance. And everyone knows – a happy wife is very important.
Remember that a smile, a wave and a hug are the ultimate gratitude you can send to all the pony-dads and partners. They love to share your happiness. That is why they are there. They have learned not to be in the way just before the sound of the bell and you are entering the arena. They have been standing patiently in the rain watching you warm up without understanding what is going on. And then they have helped you remembering all the combinations at the jumping competition and collected this and that for you.
When you decided to start riding horses, in some sense, so did they. They just did not know. They have sacrificed a lot for your passion, so please be grateful. Remember to thank them for it!