By Sydney Masters/Compiled by April Leonard
What should you get your dad as a Father’s Day gift? What’s the best advice a father can give? This Father’s Day, Sidelines got the scoop straight from the “horse’s” mouth by asking young professional riders to tell us about their fathers.
Reed Kessler treats her father, Murray Kessler, to breakfast in bed on Father’s Day. “My dad has given me lots of good advice,” Reed says. “He will always text me if I’m down, saying that I’m the best rider in the world and I’m perfect. Even though it’s clearly not true, it’s the definition of unconditional love! If I could make one thing happen for my dad, it would be to make the U.S. Show Jumping team to compete in London (at this summer’s Olympics). He would be so proud.”
Daniela Stransky of Stransky’s Mission Farm says “My favorite present I ever got my dad for Father’s Day was five cookbooks from the best chefs in Spain. He loves to cook and I love to eat!” She enjoys spending quality time with her father, Tomas Stransky, on Father’s Day. “Yep, I leave the barn and the horses behind and devote my day to him! Sometimes we watch movies together. I also love to cook, so I really enjoy cooking with him! The best advice my dad has ever given me is to always be optimistic no matter what. I find that this can be one of the most important things in life. Last year, I had a very traumatic accident while I was in a horse show and it was this attitude that kept me doing what I love most—riding. If I could do one thing for my dad, it would be to keep on pushing myself in everything I do. I want to reach my fullest potential just like he always does.”
Liza Towell Boyd of Finally Farm says that the best advice she ever received from her father, trainer Jack Towell, is, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” The best Father’s Day gift she could give her father “would be for me to win a Hunter Derby and/or my brother Hardin to win a Grand Prix.”
Jose Fernando Bonetti of Stransky’s Mission Farm shares that, “At home, the only special day is really our birthdays… Unfortunately, in the DR, Father’s Day usually falls during the time when I am on vacation and we rarely get to spend it with him – either we are traveling or he is traveling. But there are many other days were we celebrate just being together — it doesn’t have to fall on one day. My dad has taught me many things in my life; everyday is something new. I guess the one bit of advice that stands out is to never stop working to achieve the things that are most important to me. He feels that everything is obtainable if you try.” If Jose could do any one thing for his dad, Carlos Bonetti, it would be to be able “to spend more time together. I’m searching for my new horse, and I wish my dad would be able to come with me — just the two of us. Of course, my trainer Hector Florentino will come, too. It would be nice to be able to spend time alone with my dad and share such an exciting experience as horse hunting.”
Jose’s sister, Rosalia Bonetti, who rides in Paso Fino competitions, added to her brother’s comments. The best present she ever gave her father Carlos for Father’s Day, she says, was “a huge hug, a big kiss and an awesome letter written by me.” Her favorite thing to do on Father’s Day is to spend the entire day with her dad. The best advice he ever gave her is, “Don’t change just to have friends — always be yourself.” If she could do one thing for her dad, it would be to “Do things when he asks me too”!
Alicia Gamboa speculates, “There really is not any favorite present I have ever given to my dad for Father’s Day.” She generally buys her father (Pablo Gamboa) things he needs, like belts and clothing. “Probably one of the things he likes best is the shirt I got for Father’s Day that says ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ that I always wear. He always smiles when he seems me in it. My favorite thing to do on Father’s Day is to go out to dinner just with the family, or even better, me cooking his favorite meal: steak, eggs, and rice.” The best advice that her dad has ever given her is, “Second is the first looser; always go for the win.” If I could do anything for my dad, it would probably be to get him an amazing horse so he can do the big stuff again. He is always giving me the horses. But he needs to be out there, too.”
Natashia Traurig has received great advice from her father, show jumping icon Bernie Traurig, as well. “Well, my dad taught me to be a horseman,” she said. “He always told me to immerse myself with as much knowledge and education that I can. He would give me books to study (from Littauer to Pony Club reads), videos of rounds to watch, and we were in the barn every day taking care of the horses as I grew up. He taught me how to be a horseman, not just a rider. I think this was his best advice: to value not only just the skill of riding, but the knowledge and education of being a horseman. Natashia adds, “If I could do one thing for my dad, it would be…to make him proud.”
As Father’s Day approaches again, these young riders look forward to a day of celebration with their fathers to show how much they appreciate the support and advice their dads have given them throughout the years.