It Happens! With Halie Robinson, Richard Slocum, and Emma Fletcher

Halie Robinson. Photo by Image by Katie

By Tyler Bui

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!

Halie Robinson

One of my worst mistakes and embarrassing moments was my very first time at Medal Finals in Harrisburg. I made the top-25 second round and there was a bending line that walked a little forward in six strides, and of course everyone who wanted a shot planned to do it super direct in five from a skinny jump. I ended up not close enough for the five and not far enough for the six, and just remember thinking, ‘Jesus take the wheel.’ We chipped so bad I think we sent several poles flying. 

After completing the rest of the course, I was so stunned at what had just happened, I went to go out through the in gate, completely forgetting I was supposed to exit at the opposite end, and they announced on the loud speaker with my name that I was at the wrong side. Then I had to trot across the entire ring to the other gate!”

Photo by Kate Houlihan

Richard Slocum

I was not a top rider, but I’ve had some decent moments and have been riding for a long time. I think the funniest thing that happened to me was at the Virginia State Horse Show. I had a hard time counting strides. I had done the first class and counted quietly to myself and had miscounted. So, in my next trip, I screamed out loud, ‘One, two, three, four!’ Then the judge, in the middle of the in-and-out, went, ‘One, two!’ To this day, I have been very dedicated to making anyone I know count and count out loud.”

Emma Fletcher. Photo by The Book, LLC

Emma Fletcher

Every embarrassing memory I have has happened at Maclay Finals. From creating my own course to mutilating a trot jump, I haven’t had a lot of great rounds at that venue. 

The memory that stands out, though, was my first regionals with my horse Conspicuous. He was somewhere around 18.2 h, and had zero spacial awareness at the time. We had eight rails in one round, I have the video so I’ve been able to count them. I had to alter my track in some places because we had plowed rails everywhere. The best part was that the combination had to be jumped in both directions, so the jump crew really got their sprints in on that day. 

I came out of the ring and my trainer, Linda Langmeier, just patted me on the back and said, ‘That’s all right.’ I mean, what else do you say to someone who just had 32 faults? We ended up making it to the finals the following year, so I guess everything balanced out.”

*This story was originally published in the March 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!

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