It Happens! Sandra Dalman, Hunter Holloway, and Victoria Sheehan

Working Students
Sandra Dalman. Photo by Kate at the In Gate Photography.

From the magazine

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!

Hear more It Happens moments on the #Plaidcast at

Sandra Dalman

During one of my first FEI classes, I chipped an oxer badly and went through the whole thing. I didn’t know what to do—if I jump it again or keep going. I just remember Margie [Engle] screaming, ‘Keep going! You crossed through the standards!’ But then they beeped me when I was on the way to the next jump, so I had to jump it again!

When I came out, Margie told me the show was wrong and I definitely should have been able to keep going.

I guess the moral of the story is: Make sure you know the rules.”

Hunter Holloway

I went off course at Maclay finals! It was the year after I was second. There was quite a bit of pressure, mainly from myself, going in. We’d already been second place at every final.

I’m mid-round and heading to the out of a bending line and there are two jumps that look identical. One we jumped one way and the other the opposite way, but I couldn’t remember which was which. I ended up jumping the wrong one.

It was so devastating and I came out of the ring a mess. My mom took me outside, and I gathered myself and walked over to Don [Stewart]. He gave me a big hug and made some joke like only he can do. We move on and learn from our mistakes. The next year we ended up winning.”

Hunter Holloway. Photo by Summer Grace, Flaxen Mane Media.

Victoria Sheehan, Plaidcast Editor

I was making my adult show debut after not showing for more than a decade. To me, the nerves were full force. I was catch riding a big horse who I didn’t know too well, but was as sweet as can be. As we stepped into the ring, I thought one hopeful thought: ‘You’re probably worrying for nothing. What if you do amazingly?’

This thought carried me to a long approach oxer where I felt my horse gaining speed. Instead of relaxing down around him and taking more feel, I did nothing. Nothing…except for lean up his neck about two strides out. Where I thought we could leave the ground, my poor sweet horse amped up to try my distance, then realized the fool’s errand and added another stride.

To say I pop chipped this fence would be a glorious understatement. We jumped like a disgruntled deer over this thing. Yes, we cleared the jump—but at the cost of both my stirrups, and all of my pride. I was mortified and the rest of my round was done in panic, embarrassment, and one stirrup.”

Victoria Sheehan.

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