This father’s day is really, really hard. He was ready to go, but I wasn’t ready for him to leave.

So many great memories and life lessons, mostly taught to me while we were sitting on horses.

Whether it was horsemanship, showmanship, or sportsmanship, Daddy had all the areas covered. One lesson I remember well was when I was 14 and showing my mare in Ohio at the Congress. (This is a little long.)

I was getting ready for the pattern portion of the horsemanship class. They’d just posted the pattern. He said, “you know your horse isn’t made for this pattern, but we will sure try to get her to be that type.” You see, my mare was a big, energetic mare made for flying lead changes in a figure eight and reigning type patterns, or for Hunt Seat Equitation. She had the prettiest extended trot and looked great under an English saddle.

This was a straight line pattern with a simple lope and flying lead change, stop and back. The trouble was that to change leads in a straight line, I needed her to have a “trashy” lope (as Daddy called it). This is basically a canter in the front and a trot in the back. That way they don’t crosslope on the change. Just a side note. As an AQHA and NCHA judge for a zillion years, he despised this type of lope. I’m sure it did not sit well that in order for me to move on in the class, we had to change my horse.

Sooo, we worked on it for about 30 minutes until my turn came up. He said, “good luck, have fun, and do your best”. I did complete a perfect pattern and did make the cut into the rail work portion of the class (where I could have an easy clean lope😉), but that wasn’t what mattered.

What mattered was that my dad took the time to show and teach me what to do, and then he didn’t add pressure to the situation. Instead, he wished me luck.

We’re not always cut out to do the tasks at hand, but we can always try to adapt, we can always try to have fun, and we can always do our best. 💗

– Sara Scott Inman