It Happens! Hannah Isop, Emi Richard, and April Bilodeau

Hannah Isop

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!

From the magazine

Hannah Isop: Pony Finals Edition

“‘It Happens’ moments happen a lot when you’re working with horses, but one of mine has stuck with me through my whole life. 

It happened at Pony Finals—I brought my pony, Mickey LaLa, who was a great jumper and a beautiful mover, and a little swaybacked. So, I was most nervous about the model. But somehow, we were top six in the under saddle, and I think we were eighth in the model, so I was going into the jumping class looking pretty peachy and very excited. And then, having a winning trip, I go to the last jump, a single oxer, and I chipped. Bad. To the point where I heard a person standing next to the rail say, ‘Oh sh-t.’ 

It was one of the worst moments. And it still sticks with me, 20-something years later. That was one of my not finest moments. We’ve all been there.”

Emi Richard

Emi Richard. Photo by Elegant Equus Photography.

“One of my most memorable ‘whoops’ moments was when I was riding a pony for someone a couple years ago at WEF. I was going up the first line in the course that was going away from home. I started to move up a little too late and the line got away from me, so when the pony landed, she got a little excited and started broncing a bit. 

I guess I was more worried about that than the turn, so I wanted to use the fence to slow her down. But instead of slowing down, she just stopped right in front of it and I ended up getting launched right onto the fence. 

Nothing bad happened, I just grabbed the fence and ended up just sitting there, and the pony just looked at me. I think I fell off two other times…an unlucky week. It happens sometimes!”

April Bilodeau, Online Editor

Staff Edition

April Bilodeau

“When I was an amateur, I was leasing a horse named Lester who was the ultimate hunter/equitation packer. We were doing the jumpers at the beginning of a show week to warm up for the equitation. When he heard the buzzer, he was off…totally, out-of-control off. 

When we had a rail in the class and jump crew jogged in to put the rail up, he bucked so hard at the guy jogging that I almost went flying. My trainer didn’t believe me that he reacted to the buzzer until we saw the trainer we leased him from. She said, ‘Oh yeah, he does that. You need to earplug him for the jumpers!’ 

Needless to say, we went forward with that plan for any jumper classes going forward…and he was his normal, easy self in the equitation classes.

Lester is now 26 and retired on my farm, and he still occasionally demonstrates the excitement he showed that day!”