It Happens! Stephanie Bowers, Julie Winkel, Catherine Tyree and Lisa Wu

Lisa Wu. Photo by Sara Shier Photography

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 mistakes really do happen to the best of us!

By Rennie Dyball

Photo Courtesy Stephanie Bowers

Stephanie Bowers

I’ve prepared tons of kids for the show ring, but apparently it’s a different story when the kid is your own daughter! When Maclay (pictured, and with her mom, inset) was little and showing in the Short Stirrup, I once put so much sticky spray on her saddle that when she posted, her pants stuck to the saddle! Another time, I oiled her bridle so much that she couldn’t steer.” 

Photo by GrandPix

Julie Winkel

Years ago, I was late to the jumper ring to walk my course. The Grand Prix ring was situated on a huge grass field with a white plastic chain fence enclosing it. I raced over in my golf cart and as I slammed on the brakes when I reached the arena (everyone else was already walking), my two dogs that were on the seat with me flew off and landed on the gas pedal. The golf cart went flying through the fence and the entire fence went down like dominoes! I was so embarrassed as the announcer made a joke about me not being late anymore because they now needed to rebuild the entire arena before the class could begin.” 

Photo by Phelps Media Group

Catherine Tyree

I went to Spruce Meadows for the first time in 2013. There were two derbies I was doing one day. Both rounds were going great—until I got to the grob. I fell off of both horses at the grob on the same day! It was a very long walk back to the ingate the second time.”

Lisa Wu

I was showing with Kosti and Jenny Karazissis at The Oaks. I went into my first 3’6” Amateur-Owner class and went off course. I was dying of embarrassment because here I was, showing with the greats, and I couldn’t even remember a hunter course. It was back to back rounds, so I went in again after just one other rider and proceeded to go off course again over the same wrong jump. That time, as I was just about to go over the wrong jump, I saw Jenny off in the distance frantically waving her hands around, I could see her mouth making the word, “Noooooooo!” and then a look of absolute amazement on her face as I sailed over the same wrong jump. I wanted to just crawl into a hole in embarrassment. And anyone who knows me knows I don’t really ever get embarrassed.”

*This story was originally published in the September 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!