It Happens! Sara Roche, Rennie Dyball & Lily Muzzy

Sara Roche. Photo by SEL 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!

Sara Roche

In the late ʼ90s when I was doing the Big Eq, I had my best medal round ever at Old Salem. As I was in my closing circle, they announced my score: 89! 

At the same time, a trailer was exiting the show grounds and loudly broke a tree branch. My horse spooked unexpectedly and I fell off as I was exiting the ring. There was a big steward meeting and a checking of the rule books because it was unclear if my score counted since it had already been announced…but I did also fall off before exiting the ring. 

In the end I was disqualified, but I’ll always remember it as my best score!”

Rennie Dyball. Photo by Shawn McMillen

Staff Edition:

Rennie Dyball, The Plaid Horse Managing Editor

For the first two weeks that I showed in Venice last winter, my divisions went in ring 2. My barn friends and I got to know the starter for that ring and became friendly with him. I also became accustomed to hearing his voice when he was announcing hack classes and results. 

On our last week of showing in Venice, my division was moved to ring 1. During the under-saddle class, I heard the announcer ask the class to walk, so I did. That’s when I saw my trainer waving her arms wildly at the gate and stage-whispering, ‘TROT! TROT!’ I glanced around the ring. Everyone else was trotting. I’d been listening to my friend, the ring 2 announcer, by mistake! I hurriedly asked my poor horse to step back up to the trot, but I asked too hard and he jumped up into the canter. 

Lesson learned—be careful who you’re listening to when you go under saddle.”

Lily Muzzy. Photo by Shwan McMillen

Lily Muzzy

This year was my first visit to Capital Challenge. I had qualified for the THIS and the 3’3” Junior Hunters on my amazing horse, Baldeur. While I was new to this experience, Baldeur had been there several times. He is a seasoned competitor who never blinks at a jump, and no matter what distance I show him, he always gets me to the other side. 

Knowing this about my horse, all I had to do was remember the course, set a good pace, and focus on the instructions and suggestions provided by my trainer, Shayne Wireman, during our course walk. 

We were participating in the equitation classes as a warm-up for the THIS. We entered the arena and laid down the most beautiful round…except I had chosen the wrong last jump and, despite meeting it beautifully, we were off course. It was a bummer because that round was seriously the best that we had ever produced together.”

*This story was originally published in the February 2023 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!

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