PS... I HATE when jump judges are hidden until the last minute. I've suffered and witnessed last minutes startles, sometimes effecting the safety of the jump or a stop. Officials should be sure to tell jump judges the appropriate place to site themselves. Rant over.
I had TWO nice falls thanks to a vehicle on course once!
A few years ago I was riding a young horse in his first event (Headwaters in 2004). He had done a few hunter shows before, but had never had the opportunity to gallop away from the other horses all alone before.
Just as I crested a hill on my way to fence 3 a white pickup came barrelling the other way on a laneway parallel to and adjoining the galloping lane.
My little greenie lost his mind and spun at a gallop... torpedo-ing me into the ground. Then he ran back to the trailer.
I was livid and cursed and swore while running back down the hill, past the showjumping to the trailer parking. This was when you could remount after a fall - and that was my intention. In the meantime, my well meaning hubby and the woman who had caught my little monster had him all but untacked and cooled out!
I threw the tack back on, Galloped up the hill past Janette who posts here (the show secretary) and yelling something about protesting the time penalties I knew i would get, lol!! and just as I crested the hill my horse did the EXACT SAME THING all over again. Naturally, I fell off again.
Walking back to the trailer parking I remember Janette yelling someting back about that being my last try going up that hill, lol!!!
I am one who likes MINIMAL distractions at shows - but at heart I know that is part of going to a horse show. I was at a *** once as a spectator and saw someone's dog literally go off, barking incredibly loudly and lunging toward a horse that was about to jump a galloping fence, probably no more than 10 or 12 feet away. Thank goodness, the horse just flicked an ear toward the dog but kept going. I gave the owner some stink eye and hopefully she kept the dog farther from the fences after that!
Honestly...I do think most people are pretty courteous. But I do think riding xc is a bit about learning to deal. Learning to deal with distractions and dealing with unexpected. It isn't about pretty or perfect but effective, efficient and safe. To me it is part of the sport.
I can remember events like Morven/Radnor where some times the dressage ring was next to bushes next to a road. More than once I had to deal with my horses losing it because a truck/car/TRACTOR...went buzzing by during our test. Not fun...but you dealt with it and horses got better about it. Trick is not letting it distract YOU or rattle you....then your horse also learns not to let it bother them.
I don't think you should walk a xc course with earphones on when horses are running. That is just a safety thing. I personally tend to stop moving as a horse is going by if I'm walking in or along the galloping lanes and try to move out of the way early enough that the rider knows I've seen them and will be out of their way. But I don't expect everyone to freeze.
And my horses learn to ignore loose dogs. I've jumped dogs a couple of times (not on purpose of course)...and just this morning, one of the farm dogs started after my horse's heels while I was approaching a jump...mare never changed a bit. Another one of the big advantages of taking event horses fox hunting
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **