When I Am Not There

Photo via Dan Moran. Photo via Dan Moran.

It has been a minute since my last blog post as Eventing Dad. It is basically because I have not been able to be there. I thought I would take a few minutes to put down my feelings in an open letter to Bailey. Maybe some of the other Eventing Parents out there can relate.

When I am not there…

When I am not there… I sit at the computer and hit refresh multiple times waiting to see your score dressage score pop up. It always seems all the scores above yours appear and then time slows down. Waiting for that next five minutes to pass seems like an eternity.

When I am not there… and I know you are going out on cross country, everything in my world stops. For the next 5, 6, or 7 minutes I can barely breathe in anticipation of someone (Eventing Mom, trainer, come on, anyone!) to give me a call or send a text to let me know you made it safe and that you hopefully went double clear.

When I am not there… I miss not being present for the biggest shows of your life. With the help of Tamie Smith, you and Leo have got your confidence back and have finally broken through and completed two Advanced level shows. I am so happy for you.

When I am not there… I hope someone else is there in my stead to yell “Go Bailey!” and hoot and holler as you leave the start box. I hope someone is there to see you pat Leo’s neck as you cross the finish line, the tell-tall sign that you have had a clear cross country ride. You always love on Leo, but yeah, I can tell the difference.

When I am not there… I tell everyone what you are up to. Everyone is interested, right? Yes, I am probably that dad, but hey, I am Eventing Dad. I share with everyone how proud I am of you overcoming the first major hurdle you and Leo have come across and how I look forward to the success that more hard work and experience will bring.

When I am not there… I constantly ask my friends for prayers of safety for you and Leo and all the other riders out there. We cannot deny the danger of the sport and every bit of protection is a welcomed thing.

When I am not there… I occasionally type your name into the Eventing Nation, YouTube, and Google search bars just to see if there are any mentions of you in an article or video that I might have missed. Does any other parent do this? I am sure we all do. And then we share, share, share on social media.

When I am not there… I miss more than anything the weekends we have spent as a family over the past 14 years. Either at a lesson or a show, the sport of horse has brought more riches in time spent together than all of the money that we have spent. I will never regret spending a single dime on this sport because it has allowed our family to be so close.

Time goes on and there are always seasons that end in life and new ones to be entered. It most likely will never be the same now that Bailey’s career requires that she travel around the country to get to the shows she needs to get to that “next level”.

However, there are a couple of new members to Team Bailey that have recently arrived. I can’t wait to be able to go to the Area 5 shows where Bailey introduces them to our awesome sport. I will again get to be at the start gate cheering as she goes out on course and be there for a high five as she crosses the finish line.

And who knows, maybe it’s time for Eventing Dad to become the student. Time for Eventing Dad to get back on the horse that threw him. Then the roles can be reversed and Bailey can be the last person I see when I leave the start box and the first person I see when I cross the finish line. But that is a story for another blog.