It Happens! Tori Bilas, Skylar Wireman, Kayleigh Tansey, and Margot Peroni

Skylar Wireman. Photo by Andrew Ryback 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

Tori Bilas
I qualified for the Washington International Horse Show for the second time in 2019, the last year it was held in the Capital One Arena. My classic was the last class of the day before they set for FEI, so the international show jumpers (a.k.a. my heroes) were all in the stands watching while they waited to walk their class.

I jumped clear in the first round and knew I wanted to win it, so in the jump-off, I went for a gutsy inside turn that would all but guarantee the win if I could pull it off. I think the nerves kicked in and I ended up pointing my horse at a different jump right as we were making the turn. He got confused and came to a halt, as I tumbled off. Of the falls I’ve had off that horse, it stands out as
the most memorable because victory was within reach!

Fast forward through the rest of the jump-off, and no one attempted that inside turn. But I did have a few riders say to me that they were glad to see someone go for it, even if not successfully!

I made it back to WIHS in 2021 when it was held at Tryon and jumped double-clear for third place, but I would have traded that placing any day to have gotten a top finish in the city.”

Tori Bilas

Skylar Wireman
This winter, I had been showing in Hunter 2 all day at Thermal in the Green 3’3” Hunters on multiple horses, and later in the day I had the Performance Hunters. I did my first performance round on a horse for Nick Haness and ended up staying in the ring for the second round because they needed me at another ring quickly.

As I was picking up the canter at the far end of the ring someone yelled, ‘It is a handy!’ I thought, ‘Oh no, the greens didn’t have a handy but the performance horses do!’ So I trotted back down to the end of the ring and my mom taught me the handy quickly while I was in the corner of the ring.”

Kayleigh Tansey, Sales & Marketing Coordinator
During my first season eventing as a teenager, I was riding an older schoolmaster during the cross-country phase. This was my first three-phase ever and I was coming off of some bad falls & just needed a good experience.

The horse I leased was a packer and allowed me to safely get around a XC course and get my feet wet. While we were mid-course in the lower part of the field (out of my trainer’s sideline view), my horse decided he absolutely needed to poop and that he couldn’t possibly jump and poop at the same time. Being a bit of a nervous rider, I was too timid to leg him forward and he didn’t have enough momentum to make the fence.

It remains my one and only cross-country refusal to date. I’ve since made it a point to never allow a horse to stop to poop.

Kayleigh Tansey

Margot Peroni
At WEF during hunter week, I was showing my longtime partner, Orlon aka Baby O, in the Older Amateur Owners and because he truly thrives in high pressure situations and in particular enjoys the International Ring. I was feeling pretty confident.

We picked up our canter and were headed to jump one when all of the sudden, he started to slow down. I quickly put on my leg to keep the forward impulsion, and when he slowed more, I pressed my spurs into his side. But it was too late and we stopped to make a manure pile about ten strides from the first jump. I tried to quickly get him to canter again but he wouldn’t budge until he was done.

After what felt like an eternity and him adding in a little kick at the end for good measure, we were finally back to the canter. After needing to make a circle to get our pace again and having to pass my entire team, all hysterically laughing at the in-gate, he went on to lay down a lovely round.

Margot Peroni. Photo by Sportfot.