It Happens! Jumper Riders Look Back to Embarrassing Show Moments

Georgina Bloomberg and Governors Island

We all make mistakes. But horse people, as a group, aren’t always the best at handling them. So TPH reached out to some top riders to share their own show ring bloopers to  prove, once and for all, that these mistakes really do happen to the best of us!

Jumper Rider Throwback Edition

I was probably 7 or 8 years old showing at The Garden in New Jersey. One of those shows you’re told, even as a kid, what a big deal it is to qualify. I had gotten in trouble earlier in the morning (around 5 a.m.), because I couldn’t find my gloves, which is important for the hunters. I basically was half asleep still. It was time to compete and I was showing my medium pony, For Kids Sake. Towards the end of the round she spooked at a roll top, refused and I came flying off; so did my helmet. Guess what was inside my helmet? MY GLOVES! Walked out of the ring leading Lizzie, with my gloves and helmet in hand, plus a mouth full of sand.” ~ Paige Johnson

Paige Johnson

My most embarrassing moment in the show ring was when I had just started large pony hunters and was at the Sussex County Horse Show in New Jersey. The pony ring was a roped-off section of a larger ring that had the junior hunters going on in the other section. I was already very nervous and my pony didn’t get lead changes so he was a bit of a tough ride. We landed off a diagonal line and he landed on the outside lead so I tried to get a change even though I knew he wouldn’t. He got angry with me for even trying and stuck his head down and bucked, throwing me off balance, and then leapt to the side, right over the rope and into the junior hunter ring. When I gathered myself and realized what had happened I saw that the jog for the junior hunter classes was on, and all the top junior riders who I idolized were standing in the ring. They all stopped in their tracks, staring at me. I had no way of getting back to the pony ring (jumping the rope again didn’t seem feasible), other than walking all the way to the other end of the ring and out the junior hunter in gate. I had to pass by the entire line of horses and riders in the ring who were all staring at me with their mouths open or laughing, and out the gate that was crowded with all the big trainers who I had been trying to impress. I don’t think I could ever be more embarrassed but now I’m glad it happened so that we can all have a laugh about it.”  ~ Georgina Bloomberg

Originally from the September 2020 issue.