I started out riding in the western discipline. My dad was pretty indifferent to it but my mother wanted me to ride english. She kept saying "If she's going to learn how to ride, she needs to learn how to ride properly". My father's reply to this was always "Let her ride western and play with the dogs and roll in the dirt. That's what horseback riding is about". They argued over this a couple times and I always stuck with my western saddle.
(disclaimer: you can ride "properly" in either saddle)
Years later she had passed away and I had the opportunity to further my instruction with a professional. I could either train as a reiner or I could take dressage/jumping lessons.
I chose english. I justified it by telling people I always wanted to learn how to jump, but the real reason was because I felt guilty for never switching over to english like my mother wanted. Afterall, she was the reason I was allowed to take lessons and when I got my first horse, she was the one convincing my father a horse was a good idea. She supported me even though I didn't exactly do what she had in mind when it came to disciplines.
I went so far as to take the knowledge I learned from my professional schooling and trained foxhunters and polo ponies in Georgia and also trained english at a number of different facilities.
But now that I'm not training for others, I'm back in my dusty western saddle, "playing with the dogs and rolling around in the dirt". I'm glad I learned english, because now I'm comfortable in both saddles.
She indirectly pushed me to further my knowledge as an equestrian after she passed because "thats what she always wanted".
So what are the things you do for your parents (or husband or friends) that have actually benefited you as an equestrian that you would have probably not done on your own?