Some family traits skip a generation, but for the VanDyke family, a love of horses and success in competition at shows is, if anything, stronger than in the parents. Rockford equestrian Parker VanDyke, 7, is a first-grader at Lakes Elementary School. Although he has been attending horse shows since he was two weeks old, he only began showing them recently. In just this second season of competition, he twice accomplished what few people ever achieve: he won two world championships.
Parker competes on several family horses, a gelding named “Indelibly Cool” a k a Chase and a mare “Modern Elegance” aka Brittany (owned by his grandparents Charlie and Janet Closser). Parker began the season showing in May and had a very good month. In June, the family headed to Tulsa, Okla., to the Pinto World Show. They had planned to just bring Parker along for the fun of it, but he wanted to show, so his parents entered him in two classes. Amazingly the young man took first in two different world championship categories.
As the season continued, Parker’s success proved the win was not a matter of luck. He was undefeated at the Michigan Fall Color Classic show Michigan State University in October with his horse Brittany, and ended the season with two top 20 placements in the nation. He tied for seventh in Youth Mares with Brittany, was 14th in the nation in Youth Geldings, and was fifth in Zone 8 for ages 13 and under with Chase. He also was High Point Youth Gelding with Chase in the Michigan Paint Horse Club and the Northern Michigan Paint Horse Club, as well as the High Point Youth Mare with Brittany in the Michigan Paint Horse Club.
Parker practices daily and loves his horses, and is very proud to show his horses to friends. He will be getting a new horse this season to continue showing.
Parker’s mom and dad have shown horses since they were kids, and actually met showing paint horses. Parker was beginning to get bored at some of the shows, so his mother asked him if he wanted to show her horse in Halter. Her horse at the time was a great animal, and Parker trusted and loved him. He did such a nice job that year, his parents decided to let him take over his dad’s old horse, Chase, in 2009. After the first show, when his grandparents saw what a nice job he did, they offered to let him show Brittany, too, if he wanted.
“Parker proved to be wonderful showman,” said his mother, Katie. “Of course his horses helped some, too. Parker’s horses are very kind and trustworthy animals. We would not allow him to show anything that was not.”