Behind The Photo: Asleep At The Wheel

Aug 13, 2021 - 1:55 PM

What happens when the excitement of your first horse show runs headlong into the midday heat of a long show day? If you’re 2 years old and sitting atop your favorite pony while someone else does the driving, you might just get lulled to sleep.

That’s what happened to Syaire Trott on July 31 at the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds (Pennsylvania) while competing in the leadline division at the Above The Standard local horse show.

Syaire Trott sleepy
There’s a time to ride, a time to nap and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a time to do both. Syaire Trott gets a steadying hand from Alexis Ballance (left)  and trainer Madison Barnett after dozing off during his leadline debut at the Above The Standard Horse Show. Horse & Hound Photography Photo

He and pony Happy Feet made it through the first, walk-only class with just a few long blinks of his eyes, but when the walk-trot class began, trainer Madison Barnett of MB Equine in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, who was leading the pony, noticed Trott was beginning to doze off on “Scooter’s” back. She called for a friend to spot him, and the two tried to keep him awake for his class, but the 2-year-old eventually slumped onto his pony’s neck in the line-up.

Horse and Hound Photography snapped pictures, and spectators smiled and laughed. Barnett picked him up off the pony and carried him out to his waiting family. He received a ribbon for cuteness, which was clipped to the back of his coat collar while he snoozed in safe arms.

Trott, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, began riding four months ago, after asking for a pony ride for his birthday, his mother Felicia Wright  said. She found Barnett, and one birthday pony ride turned into lessons.

“He was super horse-crazy, and they were calling around trying to find someone to give him a pony ride for his second birthday this spring, and I had a saintly enough pony to do that,” Barnett said. “He’s a little bit of a diehard. He rides in the pouring rain; he rides when it’s 100 degrees; he’s a party animal.”

His horse-craziness got the better of Trott at his first show. Anticipating that the big day might exhaust such a young rider, his mother and trainer did their best to conserve his energy, to no avail.

“I put him down early because I knew we would be awake early for this horse show, so I thought he would be fine all day,” Wright said. “As soon as I saw him falling asleep, I’m like, ‘Madison, throw some water in his face!’ ”

Barnett recommended he stay in the air conditioning until his classes began, but the kid was having none of that at his first show.

“I told them to try and keep him in the car until it was time to go, but he sat outside the big-kid ring and watched all morning,” Barnett said. “So, I was hand-feeding him fruit roll-ups right before he went in trying to wake him up. He was excited, but you could tell the heat had gotten to him.”

Trott’s interest in horses began very early in life, Wright said. From an early age, he was asking to watch videos of horses or look at pictures of his great grandfather’s horses.

“The crazy thing is that his great-grandfather, who passed away, had his own horses, and [Trott] is named after him,” Wright said. “He never met him, didn’t know him, but he sees his obituary around our house, and he says to me ‘Grandpa’s horses,’ so maybe that’s why he loves horses.”

When Wright noticed a dapper, bow-tie-bedecked Trott beginning to tire in his first class, she didn’t know what to think. She just smiled and laughed as Barnett and others tried to keep him awake to finish his classes.

Photographers Jim Cairns and Caitlin Warner, shooting in the ring for Horse & Hound Photography, also noticed Trott getting sleepy.

“Just saw him going around the ring, starting off normal, a super-cute little boy on this super-cute little pony, and then his posture started changing. He started slumping down a bit and looking ready to take a nap,” Horse & Hound co-owner Alyssa Harrington said. “I think the best part of all of it was them pinning his first-place ribbon to his back while he was asleep.”

Of all the cute leadline pictures their photographers have taken through Horse & Hound Photography, capturing a little rider falling asleep was a first, Harrington said.

Not long after Trott was carried back to the car, he woke up, confused as to why he wasn’t riding anymore. He was ready to go back for his show ring comeback.

“As soon as we got him to the car he was up and wide awake,” Wright said. “He was saying, ‘I want to go see Madison, and I want to get back on my horse!’ ”

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