“If you’re like most horse lovers, your dad didn’t always understand your obsession with horses,” an unattributed article in a 2008 issue of Horse Illustrated begins, “but he faithfully supported it in some fashion.”
The article, written in advance of Fathers Day that year, goes on to list several profiles that readers might use to define the various relationships involving father, child and horse. For example, the Hands-On Dad is more adept with a hammer than a hackamore and is often welcome at the barn for his handyman qualities. Need a bridle rack installed? This is your guy. The Voice of Reason Dad freely dispensed advice, such as why you should consider financing your auto purchase by selling your horse. Hey, the article did not claim the advice would be welcome. The Born in the Saddle Dad is a horseman himself, capable in the saddle and trusted in all doings. And the Check Signing Dad, well, that is self-explanatory and probably defines all willing Horse Dads to one degree or another.
Readers were invited to share thoughts about their fathers and how the whole horse thing fit into the equation. Online comments filled almost a dozen pages, the last one I noticed being posted sometime in July 2011. Talk about a topic with legs! The comments range in emotional impact from smile-inducing to tear-jerking; many could be the subject of an entire post here.
I don’t know about fitting neatly into any of the profiles above, but I try to position myself as a supportive father, not always meeting the mark and certainly not always in touch with my children’s passion. But I can sense that passion and I recognize it as wholesome and deeply valuable. How about you?