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!
“A couple years ago, I was riding a horse named Rise Above in a national derby at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. We won the first round of the class by a fairly significant margin, so I really didn’t feel like I was in a position where I had to do anything crazy in the handy to maintain my lead. Tidy and efficient without any going above and beyond to take any major risks was my plan.
I have a tendency not to learn or even glance at the handy until I finish the first round, so when I took a look at it, I was excited to see that it suited my horse. Rise Above, otherwise known as Santa, is one of the laziest horses I have ever ridden. The course started with a couple roll backs, then a nice gallop to an oxer, followed by a walk-through. I knew I could really show my lazy horse off by getting a big gallop to the oxer and efficiently coming back to the walk—Santa’s favorite gait—for the walk-through.
Everything was going to plan until it was time to walk, and I couldn’t slow down. I was absolutely shocked—this was not a problem I had foreseen in the slightest. I tried every tool in my tool box, but the harder I tried to slow down, the lower Santa’s head went, and the more he resisted. I think at one point I was on his ears with my right hand over my head trying to pulley rein. It was not a good look, and I felt like an out of control pony kid at her first horse show.
I could hear all of my barn group in the stands laughing hysterically as I struggled and ultimately scored a 50. Not being able to walk was a humbling and hilarious way to lose the class in general, made so much funnier by the fact that I was on that particular horse!”
“I was all geared up to show at The Hampton Classic on Presence. The horse is really a superstar, but he needs to be controlled in the turns because sometimes he’ll fade out a little bit or something like that.
He was jumping great, and I let him fade out in the turn a bit before the combination, and I didn’t get the shot I wanted coming into the combination and unfortunately, he ended up stopping at ‘B.’ He went so high at ‘A,’ he wasn’t able to get out of ‘B.’ It was 100 percent my fault. I was really disappointed because it was a huge goal of mine and I felt badly that I did that to my horse because he’s such a tryer and so incredible and he was jumping amazing.
I came out of the ring and I was on the phone with my trainer Laura Kraut—she wasn’t able to be there and she had been watching. We were talking about the round and then I asked her, ‘Now what?’ I was supposed to jump him next week in my first 5* Grand Prix ever. Her response to me was amazing. She simply said ‘You go, and you win it.’
So I pushed forward, and I went to HITS the next week, and I ended up jumping a clear round in the 5* Grand Prix and I finished second. You just have to learn from those mistakes and keep going, no matter what. And dreams come true.”
*This story was originally published in the July 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!