20 Things That Scare Adult Amateurs Way More Than Goblins and Ghosts

Photo © Heather N. Photography


It’s officially spooky season, and that means a lot more to riders than the average person—especially us adult amateur folks. We’re on the lookout for “spooks” all year round. But it’s not zombies or vampires or ghosts that put icy fear deep into our hearts. I’d venture the average equestrian finds at least one of these below horrors far more terrifying.

A Single Oxer

It’s just like… there. And we have to ride to it and find a distance and everything. Difficulty level 10/10.

Our Trainers

Sure, we love them but they’re also terrifying. Anytime my trainer says, “This will be fun!” a shiver runs deep down my spine.

Loose Shoes

The closer the show is, the more frightening. A clanging sound of iron on concrete is what nightmares are made of.


We can’t post anything on the internet remotely negative without our horse without someone diagnosing it with ulcers.

Kissing Spines

If it doesn’t have ulcers, it has kissing spines.

No Stirrup November

November is right around the corner AND I AM NOT PREPARED.

Medal Tests

Until they start announcing these by “Trot the purple flowers, rollback to the white gate and then counter canter the rolltop” instead of this strange language of jumps 2, 6, and 12… it’s going to do me a fright.

In and Outs

“Oh it’s simple!” they say, “You don’t even have to count!” they say. Clearly, these people have never gone in, but not out.

Junior Eq Riders

Half of them ride better than me, their parents pay for everything, they have nicer clothes (and often horses), and they speak with so much cool kid lingo that it’s like a different language.

Photo © Heather N. Photography

Windy Days

My horse might be fresh.

Chilly Days

My horse might be fresh.

Rainy Days

My horse might be fresh.

White Breeches

Age has made me wiser and somewhat of a better rider, but it has done nothing to help my cellulite and flab in the world’s worst garment.

Soggy Bottom Breeches

You know that feeling when you’re riding around and things aren’t, um, ideal. Is it sweat? Is it blood? Did you pee a little (or a lot)? Time will only tell!

Going First

But who am I going to watch to make sure I pick the right track? How will I know that I’ve memorized the course right if I haven’t watched 15 riders do it before me?

Going Off Course

The best way for me to ensure that I have the best round of my entire life is to make sure I flawlessly canter the wrong single.

Getting the Wrong Lead

The best way for me to ensure that my horse is hacking like a million bucks is to pick up the wrong lead.

Spouse Seeing the Horse Show Bill

To be fair, this is a lot scarier for them than it is for me.

Flapping Trash/Dogs/Umbrellas/Anything Outside of the Show Ring That Might Move

It doesn’t matter if it spooks my horse or not. It spooks me.

The Warm-Up Ring

They need to stop making these sentimental magical horse girl equestrian films and start making horror movies about the warm-up ring. Y’all… I’ve seen things.

About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. Beyond equestrian journalism, she explores body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.

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