It Happens! Augusta Iwasaki, Jennifer Bliss, Cira Pace Malta, Jay Moore

Jennifer Bliss. Photo by Mipsy Media

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!

Augusta Iwasaki

I was showing in the Dudley Smith Equitation Championship at GLEF, and I was really on it all day. I was coming back in second for the test—it was me and Taylor Madden who was actually going to be my big sister at SMU for the upcoming year. We were testing, and I completely forgot to halt. I was so on it, and we got up to the test and just short circuited. I guess it’s relatable!”

Jennifer Bliss

At WEF many years ago, I had just gotten Poker Face. He was young and a bit shy and sensitive in the barn. His groom and I were constantly giving him treats to try to win him over. 

It was his first time showing in the Pre-Greens, in Ring 6. I jumped the first jump and was cantering past the in-gate, looking to turn to a diagonal line off the left lead. I wasn’t even aware that his groom was standing right there, I was just focusing on getting to the next jump. All of a sudden, Pokey was at a standstill at the end of the ring, with his head over the little hedge, looking to his groom for a treat. 

It happened so fast and was so embarrassing. I felt like a Short Stirrup rider on a small pony. I made a circle and finished the course… but we did ease up on the treats for a while!”

Cira Pace Malta. Photo by ESI

Staff edition: Cira Pace Malta
Subscription Manager & The Plaidcast Podcast Manager

When I was 9 years old, I was showing my 4-year-old pony at a cold winter show at Ox Ridge Hunt Club. The facility did not have an indoor warm up ring so we were warming up outside. 

My pony decided she was going to let us all know how she felt about being in the cold. All of a sudden, she put her head between her knees and turned into a bucking bronco. I had already learned from her that the only thing to do was let the reins slip through my fingers and hold onto the buckle, leaning back until she decides she is done. I think we went two or three times around the entire ring, all while every professional was looking on in horror. 

All I could do was laugh because I knew exactly how to deal with this. I think we took years off of everyone’s lives, but I am forever grateful that she taught me how to deal with naughty ponies at such a young age.”

Jay Moore. Photo by Denise Clinton Photography

Jay Moore

At our IEA Zone 4 Region 12 Finals. I was schooling and prepping one of our open horses, Kola (Mr. Deliberate). Super fun horse. 

So, I was starting to jump Kola around. Land from the first jump and, ‘pop!’ goes my right stirrup leather. Like it just literally snapped. No biggie, got off and replaced it. Then, landing from the fifth jump…guess what? The left stirrup leather snaps. At this point I am two for two with stirrup leathers. I wasn’t lucky. Kola went right and, well, you can say I exited stage left. 

I was totally fine. Just a smidge embarrassed from falling off in front of my peeps, clients, and random people. It’s definitely my favorite oops moment of the year!”

Hear more It Happens moments on the #Plaidcast at

*This story was originally published in the March 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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