It Happens! Rylan VanCourt, Addison Slye, McKayla Brombach

McKayla Brombach. Photo by Shawn McMillen

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!

Rylan VanCourt. Photo by Shawn McMillen

Rylan VanCourt

“When I was younger, I was doing a Short Stirrup class in Lexington, VA, on a pony who didn’t agree with the jumping part of riding. The ring was super small and the jumps were almost on top of each other, and one outside line was shoved on top of the fencing. 

I remember being so excited because there was no way my pony could fit in the gap between the jumps and the fencing. But, somehow, he fit. The judge never excused me and I had so many refusals. When I came out of the ring, I told my trainer in a shaky voice, ‘George was not a good boy.’”

Addison Slye. Photo by Jess Windhurts

Addison Slye

“When I was 7 years old, I went to my first MHJ short stirrup medal final at Fieldstone Showpark with my pony Alexandria’s Young Prince. It was my first time walking a course and it started with a diagonal vertical bending to an end jump. My trainer kept saying, ‘Just don’t forget the bending is your second jump.’ 

We warmed up and we’re ready to go, jumped the first jump…and missed the second jump. We circled and jumped the rest of the course perfectly. 

Lesson learned, and luckily I haven’t missed a jump since!”

McKayla Brombach

“I was riding a pony that, if not perfectly prepared, would be a little spooky to things outside the ring. As I stood at the in-gate to walk in for my round, I noticed there were people sitting at the top of the ring. Where they were sitting, the ground dropped down a little bit so all you could see was the tops of their heads. I was very concerned about this because I knew my pony would spook at them, like they came out of nowhere. I asked the back gate if they could please get those people to move before I stepped into the ring. Unfortunately, they did not move, and I was told to go in the ring. 

My first jump was on a right lead coming home on the diagonal. I chose not to go deep into the turn in hopes that I could keep my pony’s attention. It worked, and our first jump was beautiful. I came through the corner and had to go back up the diagonal in a six- stride line. He stepped into the line nice and relaxed and we loped out in a perfect six. 

As I came through the corner to do my outside line, the people decided to stand up. My pony lost his mind, spooked, and bolted forward down the line. I tried to bring him back but it was a lost cause and we proceeded to gallop around the rest of the course.”

Vivian Golden. Photo by SportFot

Vivian Golden

As told by her mother, Olivia Golden

“When Vivian was eight, doing the small ponies, there was a big pony derby that went in the Dixon Oval at the Brandywine Horse Show. It’s a big deal, all the ponies do it, and there were 40-something entries in it. It’s the end of the day on Sunday, and she goes in and lays down and 88 and is winning the class. 

It takes a while to run the rest of the trips, and then in the second round, three hours later, it’s finally Vivian’s turn to go back as the last trip. She jumps the first jump on Gogo, who’s the greatest of all time, and Gogo is thinking it’s a left turn after the first jump, but no, it’s a right turn. She pulls him to go right, and he does go right, but she falls right off, and that was the end of that. Jack Towell was judging the class, and he now forever calls her ‘88.’”

*This story was originally published in the August 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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