It Happens! From the September Issue

Annie Bolling, Photo by Andrew Ryback 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!

Annie Bolling

“My children’s jumper, a black mare, was very special. I had a super year on her—we had done the inaugural Children’s Jumper team event in Georgia, and had an overall great season so we felt really positive about going to Children’s Jumper Finals at Washington.

She had never stopped in her entire life and she was never spooky. But we cantered up to the first jump and she said, ‘No, thank you.’ Nothing like that had happened before with her—she was just so reliable. So I cantered back up to the jump again, and she said, ‘No, thank you,’ again, and that was it.

We had all these expectations and had spent all this money to get to Washington from south Alabama, and my trainer had come up that year. I think that was a really valuable lesson because I was there taking care of my horse. I went back to the barn, I iced her legs, put her back on the truck to Prince George’s, and it was kind of an ‘Oh, well’ moment.

I was lucky to have parents and a trainer that weren’t going to dwell on it. Horses have a mind of their own. It’s a moment I will never forget— I went all the way to Washington for one class and didn’t get over the first jump.”

Colleen Brombach

Shawn McMillen Photography

“A couple of years ago I was showing a horse that was difficult. The handy was the first round of the day. The course started with a trot fence at the top of the ring. He warmed up really well, so I had a little hope that it might go okay.

When I went too slow to the trot jump, he leaned on the bit…and dragged me over the trot fence. At that point I knew I was in big trouble and was going to struggle with control the whole way around. If we made it all the way around. He dragged me to and over jump two.

Heading to jump three, I just tried to hang on. Jump three to four was a bending line to the right and when this horse stopped he would go left. He jumped three and started to run to four, and that’s when I knew it was all over. We were a stride away from jump four and he slammed the breaks on and ducked left, pitching me off and into the standard [and] I caught my leg on the jump cup.

Twenty stitches later, I was back at the horse show, buying a new pair of breeches.”

Sarah Maslin Nir

Sarah Scott Photography

“I was about to compete my young green horse in the Hampton Classic, the first time I moved him up to the three-foot. We were so ready. So, the day before, we took a nice, relaxing trail ride.

I had to open a gate so I dismounted and I climbed up the gate to get back on…and a horse fly bit him on the rear right as I swung my leg over. I got on to thin air. Knocked myself out on the ground and he stood over me, sniffing me until I came to.

And that was the end of my Hampton Classic dreams for that young horse.”

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