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Dads and Horses

What is YOUR favorite horse story shared with your dad?

From the Horsetrader eArena - June 16th, 2011 - eArena

EDITOR’S NOTE: Response to our Father’s Day eArena question was remarkable! To read all answers, please visit our eArena!

Linda Jones
Los Angeles, CA

My dad was anxious to cure me of horse fever when I was about 4 or 5 years old. He took me to the pony rentals and told the man “strap her on tight and run the pony until she cries.” Well, of course I never cried. I just laughed and smiled. Dad finally surprised me with a horse when I turned 14 years old. Schroeder was waiting in our backyard when I got home from school on my birthday!

Krisitn Mains
Newport Beach, CA

We had a local stable less than a mile from the house and everyday I would beg my dad for a horse. When I was 9 my parents went through a horrible divorce, and I cried everyday. One day my dad came and picked me up and took me to Chino, Calif., to look at a young horse (three — looking back I cannot believe it!). We bought him on the spot and trailered him to Fullerton — the Lucky Copper Corral! That, I can honestly say, was the best day of my life and it saved me from my sadness! I now have four horses in my backyard and I owe it all to my dad! I love you, Dad…I miss you!


Violet Luna
Norco, CA

It was a ritual for my father and I to go out riding on Sundays. We would spend the whole day out riding in the nearby trails, and we would always pack a lunch and hang out by the dam to eat. Then we would take our horses for a swim in the dam. It was the best feeling ever to just hold on to my horse and let him swim. My father left me with something that will always be a part of me, and although he’s not physically with me anymore, I know he’s there with me every time I saddle up my horse and go out for a ride. Thanks, Dad!

Vikki Brink
Lake View Terrace, CA

My story is the kind of story you hope that you get to see just once in your life. I was born on Father’s Day, and so being the only child, was then spoiled rotten. On my dad’s side, we are Cheyenne Indian and my mother’s side is Irish. We lived on a share crop farm in Dorcy, Miss., that grew corn, cotton and a dairy cow operation. My dad plowed most of the fields, and my great uncle owned the farm. One day, my great uncle purchased two mules for plowing. Now, my dad always used our Belgian mares, but he was sure he could work the mules, also. My uncle told him that they were a might different. Well, I can’t remember all that was said, but my mother said she looked out of the window of the farmhouse, and my great uncle had his two hands over my ears. Seems that my dad was to plow for beans and turnips and instead the mules broke loose and broke the fence and was plowing down all the cotton. Looked like aliens had put a crop pattern in the cotton field. My dad was running behind them screaming all the four-letter words he knew. My dad never plowed another field again, and I for some reason adopted a love for mules. My dad, my mother and most of my family from this farm has since passed on, but I laugh my head off every time I think of that day. And every time I see where people think an alien put a pattern in a crop field I laugh, “Dad was that you?”

Barin Butler
Moreno Valley, CA

My dad had bought us our first horse, a Shetland Pony named Mojo. One day, he called all of us into the den and said “Kids there is something that I have to tell you. We don’t have any more money and we have get rid of a lot of stuff.” So, as kids we were thinking sell the motor home or the extra cars, etc. He went on to say, “We are going to butcher our animals and eat them.” So, we thought… hmmm, that would mean the cows, pigs and chickens. We sat still and very quietly until he said that includes Mojo. All of us burst into tears and started kicking and screaming, “NO…NOT MOJO!” It took weeks before we really believed he wasn’t going to do it. It wasn’t very funny back then, but hilarious now. Happy Fathers Day, Dad. R.I.P.

Mandy Picozzi
Hemet, CA

In the summer, when my sister and I were kids, we loved to ride our ponies anywhere and everywhere. We loved to test our skills in the hills and even vowed to ride only facing backwards for weeks at a time. Some of our favorite rides, though, were when Dad and Mom would join us for a moonlight ride. That was always a big hit with us kids. We would ride far into the hills, with the moon and stars glowing brightly. My pony was white, and she was like a beacon in the moonlight, so I would always have to lead the night rides. Dad rode a big Paint whose white spots and splashes would also glow in the moonlight. It was always a great family adventure and a fond memory of riding with Dad.

Nelle Murphy
Burneyville, OK

When I was little, I always wanted to go to the shows with my dad. I remember being able to follow him around and riding all day. Once he was done showing, he would put me on, and off I would go! I also had very long hair and I remember him brushing my hair like I was a horse. He would put his hand on the top of my head and pull! But I couldn’t think of a better way to grow up. Both my brother and I were horse show kids. We grew up sleeping in the stands while our parents rode. It was the best life a kid could ask for!

Lisa La Mere
Hesperia, CA

My father asked me if I wanted to go for a drive one day when I was about 8 years old. He surprised me when he drove to a riding stable near our home in New York. That was the beginning of English riding lessons for me, and it solidified my love affair with horses. Dad died more than 25 years ago, so he was never able to see his granddaughter begin her riding lessons when her dad took her for a surprise drive for riding lessons. I think of my father often, but never more than when watching my daughter, Kaitlyn, compete at the World Pinto Championship show in Tulsa, where for the past four years, she has won Top Five and Top Ten awards. He would be so very proud of her and I know he is rooting for her during her fifth year at the Pinto World Championships. Thanks, Dad – you’d love it that there’s a third-generation rider in the family who has surpassed us both!

Andria Witmer
Bishop, CA

My Dad taught me to ride. Why is that so special? It’s because he was severely handicapped at the age of 23 when he received an experimental hip replacement in 1951 and was told he’d never walk again. He relearned to walk (by rollerskating), but experienced pain for the rest of his life. When I was about 10 years old, he took my sister and me to the rental stables in Chula Vista. I remember how twisted he sat in the saddle because he had to keep his left leg fairly straight. He must have been is so much pain, but there he was, riding Irish Star, alongside our horses, guiding us all the way with a big smile on his face. I don’t know how he knew how to ride. He was a florist by trade. He also liked a good bet every so often. He went on to buy each of us $50 ponies we kept at a boarding stable, but my pony, Charger, was a run-away. At one gymkhana in Lakeside, there was a $200 registered Palomino Shetland named Hidden Lakes Golden Honey. I had never ridden her before. She was 11 hands and built like a tank. My father told me that if I rode her in the gymkhana and took first place, he’d buy her for my birthday. After two first-place trophies and one second-place ribbon, Dad lost the bet and I had a new pony for my birthday in 1974. That was the first of many trophies we got together. That Christmas, after all the gifts were opened, we found a note in the tree to get dressed because we were going to pick up an orphaned six-week old miniature horse that we had recently seen at a petting zoo. We kept Butterscotch in the back yard of our regular, non-horse zoned, tract home for the next 12 years! Dad really loved to put him in the back of the 1963 Lincoln Continental and drive around the “neigh”borhood just to make people stare and laugh. How fortunate I was to have a father who worked hard to make sure his daughters had horses in their lives. I miss him greatly.

Jana Dale
Chino Hills, CA

For over 30 years, my father, Bill O’Mara, was my “partner in crime” in the equestrian world. It all started out when I was 12 years old. Daddy announced that the family was going for a “ride” in the car. A ride normally consisted of randomly driving around, sightseeing, sometimes for hours on end, quite often very boring. This trip however, was to have a different outcome. After a couple hours in the car, driving through desolate open land in Riverside County, Dad suddenly pulled into a very large horse ranch. I was so excited! I was certain our family was going to be renting horses. Next thing I know, we are looking at a sea of beautiful horses, all tied to a railing. Dad asked, “Which one do you like best?”. I pointed to a cherry red sorrel mare with a blaze, and two white hind socks. Dad asked to have the mare saddled up for me. I asked, “When are the rest of you going to pick out your horses?” Dad informed me that I’d just chosen MY new horse! I was delirious with joy, screaming and shrieking! Thus began my lifetime love of horses, and a wonderful career in the equestrian world. Through this shared love of horses, Dad and I took riding lessons together, we showed horses together for many years. Once Dad retired from the show pen, I continued to show for many years. He and mom never failed to come out and watch me, to cheer me on. Dad and I also owned many race horses together in partnerships. We had some graded stakes winners, including Queen Auntie. She defeated Baychaino, AQHA’s world champion distance horse. God has blessed me with many great things throughout my life, but few can compare with my father, Bill O’Mara. Dad passed away 11 years ago after a long battle with emphysema. His ashes were scattered in the winner’s circle at Santa Anita, one of his favorite places on earth.

Courtney Hobson
My dad was the best “Horseshow Dad” ever! When I was young, my dad did all he could to support my horse-loving habit. We did not have the money for a horse trailer, but I wanted to show anyway. It was a two-hour ride to the arena, so we were up at the crack of dawn in order for me to saddle up and get riding to the arena. My dad spent that entire two hours following me in his car to watch and be sure I was OK. We then went and showed all day, and he was perfect — packed us lunch, drinks, and all the works for all day. He rooted me on and no matter if I didn’t place or if I took home a load of first-place ribbons, he was ALWAYS proud of me and our hard work! He was a great support, and as I am older, I realize how much he did for me and also how expensive those shows really were for him. Then, at the end of the day when we were all tired and everyone else loaded up their horse and drove home, my dad would again follow me in his car two hours, aaaaaalllllll the way home. Thank you, Dad! I love you! I really do see how hard you worked to make my horsey dreams come true!

Lynn Brown

In the 1940s, my father was a cattle rancher near Fort Sumner, N.M. He roped a full-grown cow, and the horse braced himself to pull the cow down when she hit the end of the rope. Instead, the cow turned and ran around the horse, wrapping the horse in the rope. The horse got tangled, and was jerked off his feet onto the hard pan ground. The horse fell on top of my father, and the cow fell on top of the horse. Dad was pinned, with the saddle horn under his chin, twisting his neck. My father was alone in this situation, and thought for sure he was going to have his neck broken and die. Somehow, the animals got untangled and got to their feet. I remember him telling me this story, and I never forgot it. He had injuries the rest of his life from that near-fatal accident.

Robin Bond
My Dad and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on my desire to train horses for a career. He wanted me to have a good conventional job to support what he saw as a hobby. After my stint in the Navy, I got serious about training and dove head first into it. Dad was still not so keen, but I was making my way and supporting my family. Finally, after a big win in the reining at Del Mar in 2003, Dad gave me a gift for my birthday. It was a simple coffee mug with a message that brought tears to my eyes. It said, “Follow your dreams.”

Carmela Bozulich
My dad wasn’t a “horsey” guy, but he put up with his baby daughter’s crazed love for horses. When I was 8, he was studying for the real estate broker’s exam, and he would drive me about 20 miles to the closest stable for me to take riding lessons, during which he would sit in the car, studying his real estate books. When he took the exam, he passed it the first time…quite an accomplishment for a naturalized citizen, a guy who never went to school in the USA. To celebrate, he gave me a little gift-wrapped package…when I opened it, it was a shiny silver folding hoofpick, kind of a strange gift for an 8 year old. But he told he that he knew someday I’d have horses of my own and would need that to take care of them properly. I didn’t appreciate then how much attention he was paying to what was to become a passionately-lived lifestyle…little did he know how much of a prophet he was. He didn’t live long enough to see the equestrian his baby daughter turned out to be. I’ve had several horses over the past three decades. I still have that hoof pick…it’s displayed lovingly in a keepsake box, never used.

Julia Erickson
Most girls know what it is like to follow an older brother. Boys get all of Dad’s attention with Boy Scouts, and Little League, and other boy stuff. This is what it was like for me, while I was off by myself taking riding lessons and actually earned myself a horse and paid board with babysitting money. On the day of our first OPEN show, both Dad and Mom came. Dad couldn’t help but notice us because we won every class we entered. At the end of each class my Dad would meet me at the gate, push the blue ribbon into my horses brow band and VERY PROUDLY lead us around! After that, he became much more involved and encouraged my passion. Today, I am a successful breeder of rare colored Andalusians. Maybe because my parents fueled my passion.

Lisa Leonhardt
My dad was not horse savvy in the least, but since getting my first horse 10 years ago he has been an amazing supporter and companion through the years. From being the designated horse hauler to polishing boots and collecting the ribbons, he has been there every step of the way. Even now that I have moved out and moved away, he still makes time to come trail-riding with me or a surprise trip to the beach (one of my dreams!). He’s seen and understands my passion for horses and has sacrificed so much for his little girl. I can’t even begin to thank him enough, love you lots, Dad!

Beth Collins
My dad was no horseman, even though he was born in Kentucky, a state where you would think horses would be naturally embedded in genetic coding. Maybe it is, but skipped a generation, infecting me with horse craziness. I never really thought about it as a kid, but every time a birthday would roll around or I had saved up enough allowance to go riding at the local hack barn, Dad would gamely suit up in a pair of old Levi’s and come along. He may have only ridden a half-dozen times in his whole life up to that point. Still, he would swing up on that hack pony with aplomb, pick up the reins like he saw Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger do, sit ramrod straight in that saddle, and off we would go. We did some pretty hairy trails back then for beginners, including more canter than was really wise. Outside of a little hitch in his getalong when he dismounted, he never complained. Dad and I rode together until I got my first horse as a teen. Now that I think of it, the sense of relief Dad must have felt to not have to suffer anymore hack stables may have been the very impetus that caused him to run the neccessary funds out to a horse auction on Super Bowl Sunday for me to buy my first horse…Aren’t dads great? I know mine is.

Bev Lowe
I’ve always loved horses, for as long as I can remember. I finally was able to buy my own horse when I was 13 years old. I finally found the perfect horse when I was 16, a Paint I named “Comanche.” So beautiful, full mane and a forelock to die for. We were trail buddies for life, or so I thought. But then I fell in love and married my husband. As newlyweds, we could barely afford the rent and the groceries and then there was a baby on the way, so sadly, I sold my beloved Comanche. I heard about a year later he was being abused and drugged and that made me heartsick. I had mentioned it to my dad, just in conversation. Well, my Dad found my horse through some horsey friends of his and bought him back for me! He paid for his food and board so I could have him in my life again! I was able to keep Comanche and my kids learned to ride on him. He lived to be 28 years old…and that is my favorite horsey memory of my dad. My dad had lived his last 10 years with my husband and I, passed away over a year ago, at the ripe old age of 88.

Tom Scrima
Spicewood, TX

My Dad was first generation Italian and arrived at Ellis Island. He could hardly provide for his family no less give any of his seven sons a horse! However, I remember a rocking horse he bought that the seven of us wore to death! He died young, and my mother in subsequent years got each of us a horse! God how we flew, not knowing a thing! We remained poor but as country folk surrounded by lakes and wild life we didn’t know it. All we knew is that on one Christmas morning we got our first horse….tied to a post inside our living room! We were too young and dumb to realize our missing dining room table and chairs was the price she had paid.

Pat Wolff
Well, here is a story which I certainly did NOT share with my dad: Daddy was a collector, many people would say a junk collector, but he loved his stuff, even if it seemed like he didn’t take very good care of it. So, when I first got my horse, we had to clear out a stall full of junk to make room for the new horse. Mostly we just stacked it up in the next stall. But what I never told him was that the new mare stuck her head over the stall divider and ATE a collection of old 78 rpm records! It didn’t seem to hurt her, but I quickly threw the remains away so he wouldn’t find out, and he never did.

Susie Tommaney
Chino, CA

Although my dad was never a horse person, he was always there to support my love of horses. My first experiences were of my dad leading me up our private road to the surrounding orange grove isles on a burro he and my mom won as a door prize in a card game! Her name was Minnie Mouse because of her color. I was at most, three years old. I was bit with the bug at that point. Even though he didn’t ride, he kept her around for me to love on, to feed and clean, and every week we would drive to the local feed store and buy feed. When I was old enough to ride by myself, he saw to it that I got the proper education, a pony to ride, and drove me to countless horse shows until I could do it myself. That was some 50 years ago and I’m still going strong. There’s something very special between a daughter and her father…times when words may not be spoken but sincere love and kindness is exchanged. He is 91 now and still gets mine and my daughters’ love of horses and supports us! Happy Fathers Day, Thomas R. Parsons! We love you!

Kevin Bash
Norco, CA

My first horse was named “Mitsy.” She was a dark brown Quarter Horse and was about 12 when I got her at the age of eight. We could not afford a saddle, so, my mom and dad got me a red pad. I was a bit scared of that horse at first,and vividly remember the first day I “ran her around the back field.” First try, I fell pretty hard and my dad just looked at me and said, “You hurt?” I said, “No,” and he said, “Well go get the horse and get back on.” I said, “No” and he said, “if you don’t get back on, you will always be scared.” So, finally, I got back on and discovered falling off was not so bad after a while. Eventually, I could do just about anything with that horse and remember my dad just watching me ride, smoking a cigarette and every once in a while giving the thumbs-up. Those were really neat days.

Kim Estrada
My favorite horse story I shared with my dad was back when I was a teenager in Texas. It’s not a story about a great day we had, but a day I will always remember. This is the time my dad and I shared an adventure on our way to a show in Katy, Texas. It started off in our truck and trailer with two horses loaded. It was just a two-lane road in the middle of country. The truck started to make some weird noises and slowed down. My dad kept giving it gas, but it kept getting slower and slower until it just died. We were pulled over on the side of the road with not much around. My dad said it was the transmission. This was back in the 80s without any cell phones around, my poor dad had to leave me with the horses while he walked miles looking for help. It seemed forever, but I finally saw my dad coming back in a tow truck. I just kept thinking how is this going work? But it did, we left in the tow truck hauling the truck attached to the trailer with two horses in it. It was a crazy site, everyone was looking at us strangely. I have no idea how he made those turns. Eventually, we made it home safe and sound. I was upset that we didn’t make it the show but happy the horses were OK. Now, looking back on it, my dad and I just have a good laugh about the whole thing! Every time I head out on the road to a show now, I pray it doesn’t happen again! Love you Dad!

Colleen Conley
My uncle, who acted as my dad, lent a horse to our non-horsey (except for me) family. I loved Dan and rode him all over the country bareback. When it was time to return him, I bridled him and took off for a loooong ride. It wasn’t long enough or far enough for we were found and I had to bow to the “authorities”. I still have a piece of his mane.

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