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The Inspiring, The Hilarious, and The Horrifying - share your horse show stories!

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  • The Inspiring, The Hilarious, and The Horrifying - share your horse show stories!

    As the title suggests - share your most interesting/entertaining/educational/cautionary/whatever horse show story. Obviously I'd suggest leaving out identifying details.
    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
    -George Morris

  • #2
    Lets see, I have fallen off twice at a horse show.

    The first time was at a schooling show and I had recently changed to using a pelham on my OTTB mare. Being the angel she is, when I sat up and took some contact on the reins to the single diagonal oxer in our course to get her to add the stride, she stopped, as requested! I however decided that I was in fact going and landed in the jump. I don't think any fall was as much my fault as this one... I TOLD my horse to stop at a jump, and continued going myself! I guess that's what a much stronger bit gets you....

    The second time I fell off was at a bigger show, and I was trying to get on my horse. We were just outside our stalls and I was using a milk crate to get on my mare. I have no idea how I managed to have such a bad fall from trying to get on but said mare walked away, in a tight circle, and in my efforts to not land in a mud puddle in my BRAND new CO Hampton I landed on said milk crate. I had a the corner of the crate marked in various colours on my thigh for the rest of the summer... along with another bruise the size of my palm. These bruises coming the summer after my horse stepped on the back of my leg when I came off at home, which followed the summer when my trainer's youngster tried kicking the dog as I was leading him and got me, in the thigh. 3 summers in a row with people looking at my legs very disgustingly because of black/green/blue/purple/yellow bruises that lasted the entire summer!


    • #3
      I've got a pretty horrifying one!!

      This seems like ages ago but we were at a small schooling show and we parked our 4 horse with the front of the truck facing the indoor and a friend from the area parked her 2 horse pulled by a tahoe facing our trailers closed side (in a "T" shape) thinking that if she blocked off some space it would keep people out of our way when it came time to leave.

      Well with just enough space another truck and trailer pulled in between us. They showed and when it came to getting the horse back on the trailer they were having problems. They added a stud chain and many other scary tactics.

      Eventually the horse reared up enough and flipped over, getting its head UNDER the front of our friends tahoe. Tried to get up and ended up getting the tow hook under the front stuck into her neck and ripped a HUGE hole in it, I would say like 8x6 inch flapping flesh and all. Bled like crazy and kept falling over and thrashing around. It was madness. I'm actually not sure how it turned out but I hope that they don't squeeze their trailer into ridiculous spots anymore!!


      • #4
        A cautionary message: Braiding stools are vicious and dangerous.

        I was up early in the AM braiding my own horse for the first day of ten days of showing. As I was tying off one of my last braids, my horse shook to get off a fly. I guess I had been careless setting up my stool and had it on uneven ground. When she shook I lost my balance and fell backwards taking the stool with me. Long story short, I not only ripped my favourite pair of shorts wide open but also broke my wrist. That meant no show for me Luckily my parents understood how upset and devastating that was for me and (with only a little bit of begging, pleading and bullying) let me get on near the end of the ten days (cast and all hidden under long sleeves, not ACTUALLY against the rules as far as we could tell but probably frowned upon) to hack. I kept riding for the rest of the summer with the cast but really ended up going to only one more (unrated) show that season (with the cast still one but the doctor's assurance that it would be totally safe, obviously he thought I was trail riding or something and I never took the time to enlighten him to the fact that I was in fact jumping etc.). The only positive aspect I can see from the whole event was that I learned I had been doing my crest release with a bent wrist which the cast (and then the brace) quickly fixed, on one wrist at least.

        Parents said it was only okay with Doctor approval. I really have to say that I appreciate doctors who just have no clue what riding *really* is about.

        Doctor:Horse show with a cast? Riding with a cast? Well I don't see why not... Just like riding a bike, right?
        Me:Mhm, yep. I think it would be fine too!

        He also said that if I was to fall on it again I wouldn't likely break the wrist again since it was casted but in fact my arm right above the wrist.

        Foolhardy, sure. But definitely a memorable experience!
        Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
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        • #5
          Best Friend and I are Seniors in HS, it is one week before Devon and best friend falls off at home and breaks her ankle. Her LG pony is qualified for Devon. Farrier creates a LARGE stirrup that will fit the cast, we head off to Walmart , friend is in the shopping cart with the foot in the cast, to get our Prom make-up and odds and ends we need for Devon. Friend falls out of shopping cart only to sprain her WRIST!!!
          She did show at Devon with a broken ankle and a wrapped wrist plus she won the model and the hack and placed over fences!!! We still have the pics of all of this and laugh hysterically about the whole ordeal. I don't remember anyone thinking we would be breaking any "rules" by doing this but I think now times have changed and they would not allow her to show in this condition!
          If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


          • #6
            Originally posted by hellerkm View Post
            Best Friend and I are Seniors in HS, it is one week before Devon and best friend falls off at home and breaks her ankle. Her LG pony is qualified for Devon. Farrier creates a LARGE stirrup that will fit the cast, we head off to Walmart , friend is in the shopping cart with the foot in the cast, to get our Prom make-up and odds and ends we need for Devon. Friend falls out of shopping cart only to sprain her WRIST!!!
            She did show at Devon with a broken ankle and a wrapped wrist plus she won the model and the hack and placed over fences!!! We still have the pics of all of this and laugh hysterically about the whole ordeal. I don't remember anyone thinking we would be breaking any "rules" by doing this but I think now times have changed and they would not allow her to show in this condition!
            i want to see pictures of this! haha
            Dacharia = best mare in the world



            • #7
              Kim, how did your friend jog the pony in the model and over fences rounds?
              Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


              • #8
                My favorite was when I was headed to my last jump in a childrens o/f class my stirrup snapped in half and I had to stop because it was super sharp and knocking the horse. ahh! Turns out it was all rusty on the inside of the actual silver coating. to top it all ooff it was a winning round probably until that happened.

                My friend told me she was at a show and some one tied there horse to a plastic folding chair, and it got spooked and started running with the chair attached and it crashed into her very very nice horse and scared the crap out of him. All were alright I just hope the owners never tie up the horse like that again.

                Another friend was standing by her car with the horse, when it reared up and flipped onto her moms new car, she said it was fun explaining to the insurance company what had happened.


                • #9
                  Most embarassing...

                  Was riding in a 3'3" equitation medal, had a perfect trip, and was shocked to receive a score of 99! Everyone was wondering if this was even possible, but the judge called it, so 99 it was. The top six riders got called back to do the work off, and instead of going in reverse order, the judge called me to go first. She calls out the tests, and everything's fine. Step into the arena, and what do I do but jump the wrong first fence! Needless to say, I ended up 6th with a score of 99. I don't think I will ever be able to live that one down.

                  And another..

                  I'm on course in, if I remember correctly, the Lows, and it's a speed class so I'm absolutely flying around the arena. Everything's great, I'm going so fast I'm sure I'm going to be in the lead. I land off of a vertical, whip around to the left... and all the sudden I hear screaming "Turn right! RIGHT! Turn RIGHT!" So off I go on my little detour as I make my way to my other right and continue the course. I think I still may have placed, but I definitely didn't win. After that, I've paid careful attention to learning my lefts and rights.


                  • #10
                    Eek - trailer stories always scare me. Years ago we were at a small local show and someone had left their horse in the trailer with the ramp down and the butt bar up. For some reason the horse flipped out and reared in the trailer. The horse's back end slipped and it somehow got its back end UNDER the butt bar. I can't remember how it managed to do this - all I remember is seeing this poor horse wedged under the butt bar, legs splayed, and the owner at its head SCREAMING (because that always helps to calm a horse down). They did get it out but the poor horse was a wreck. Since then I am absolutely paranoid about leaving the ramp down. If my horse has to stand in the trailer, the ramp is ALWAYS up and I am always right nearby in case something does happen.


                    • #11
                      Well just Saturday past I learned a good lesson that I've been trying to stop doing. JUMPING AHEAD. But as I've gotten better at home at shows I tend to revert back at times.

                      So this past Saturday we came to a jump in a sj round that looked like a bridge with holes in it. My horse cantered right up to it and at the last min. (as I'm up in 2point and shouldn't be) he put on the brakes and did a roll back western style and as he went right I went left. First time I've ever fallen at a show. But we went back in for a schooling round afterwards and we got over it
                      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                      • #12
                        Yesterday was the final show in our local schooling series, and it was held at the stable where I ride. They had just gone through the pony hunters when the sky started to look ominous. Then a few drops started to fall. People started packing up chairs and going into the barns. Then it started to rain. The pony hunters finished; they made an announcement as the rain started to come down harder that they would take a 15 minute break for weather. Then the wind kicked up, the thunder and lightning began crashing and the skies opened up in a total monsoon. It honestly felt like a hurricane--winds, lightning left and right, and one of the hardest rains I've ever seen.

                        Wiped out the schooling ring... flooded the pastures... turned the little dry creekbed into a raging torrent... indoor started flooding and needed shavings piled up as a barricade... one of the barns started flooding and we were all wielding brooms and shovels and the backhoe to try to sweep out the water and barricade it... the tack shop's tent collapsed... the barn owner's RV awning over the registration desk collapsed... and of course there were freaking-out horses packed into stalls, the indoor and the barn aisles.

                        Eventually the monsoon passed, the indoor classes continued, and the outdoor ring dried up enough to finish the day... but it was some crazy rain!
                        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                        Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                        • #13
                          I must have missed the common sense bus at my show yesterday. I was riding someone else's horse for the first time in a walk/trot class. Yeah I was being a weenie...

                          Well warm up went great she was bending around my leg and leg yieldign nicely. Well got into the ring and she saw the jumps and wanted to jump them. Didn't want to do her flat at all. We were fighting. I mishead the announcer and went into the middle for line up. Dur..we had one more direction to go. So went back out on the rail when they called reverse. We trotted and lined up. Well my next class was getting ready to go in and the owner was flipping out because I was still in the class. So what did I do. Dismounted in the ring....DOH...Got disqualified.

                          The owner was bugging the ring crew on why I didn't get a ribbon. I told her she is like, that was dumb. Um..well you were flipping out in the side of the ring.
                          Insignia MC - Spanish PRE mare
                          Tuggy - RIP at the bridge (9/12/2016)
                          Theodore the Boxer - RIP at the the bridge (10/5/2017)


                          • #14
                            I will post my DD and friends hilarious story from two weeks ago at Pebble Beach. The Monday after the first week of showing all of the girls decided to take the horses on a trail ride and take their lunches with them. They had been going on the trails there a little bit during the week, but when they went out this day they encountered a couple of people on the trail with a very green horse that was a bit spooky. The girls decided to go a different way than they had before and got lost! They ended up on the Poppy Hill (I think that's what it's called) golfcourse at one point and then found their way into a Pebble Beach neighborhood.

                            People were diving by and taking pictures of the girls and their horses, but they couldn't get anyone to stop to find out how to get back to the barn. Finally, they called one of the moms and she came looking for them. They returned to the barn almost 4 hours after they set out and the horses were very tired! All the horses then proceeded to do wonderfully during the second week of the show.


                            • #15
                              Last year, horse's first time showing in the Level 4... won the class the day before...

                              Trainer notices in warm up that one of his front shoes is missing a nail. No horse show farrier around. We fiddle with it for a few seconds and determine that it isn't loose, no big deal.

                              Go in to the class, get around the first eh.... 3 jumps fine. Go to the first jump in the in and out, horse leaves the ground, rips the shoe off with his back foot... clears the fence... but lands, and then keeps going down. Miraculously I ended up falling off mid-somersaulting-horse and rolled out of the way, horse flipped all the way over, stood up, shook himself and sighed. Horse was fine, I was fine, saddle was pretty much fine except for a little gouge. It was our last class of the show. I like to refer to it as our Grand Finale. lol. There were quite a few horrified spectators.

                              Never jump a horse that's missing a nail! I learned my lesson there. Sheesh. We got lucky.


                              • #16
                                Worse I ever had was a schooling show.

                                To set this up was 16, in High School and myself and a barn mate had nearly identical horses. Both TB mares, both with a blaze that was almost identical (one's snip went pink at the nose while the other stopped at the lip) and both with two hind socks yet mine had a small hersey kiss shaped mark on the right front. They were the same height, same build, exact same copper penny shade of chestnut. Two major differences.... Hers was a newer (to her, just came back to the barn not even a month prior), not yet all too familiar with the mare She was an older teenager who knew her paces like the back of her hand. Mine was a green bean 5 year old who was as hot as the day was long and had just mastered steering, control, speed and attention span. Just beginning to work on auto changes (was off the track a year earlier)

                                So, schooling show the trainer hires two of the younger girls (think 11 and 12, was a laid back show suppose to be good experience for all) to be grooms. Was the opportunity to teach them to braid, tack up etc while we walked the courses (god I love schooling shows) and went over the paces with the trainer. I was going to be doing a baby greens type course while the other girl was going to do one of the 3'6" courses (I used to know the names of these, been eventing for too long now). Well, the girls who were tacking up and doing the braids apparently didn't know which horse was which. Put my tack on the barnmate's horse then the barnmate's tack on /my/ horse. Barnmate was riding first and of course... was handed the wrong horse. Being nervous on a new horse she didn't check to make sure it was the right horse and went off... to do her class... on the green bean. First jump she gets very uppity and flies over it giving herself FAR too much clearance with the barnmate having a look of shock as trainer and myself suddenly realize who is on course. While I start having a panic attack that it is too much for my girl, trainer is trying to flag down barnmate to throw the class and barnmate is happily wizzing around the arena without a fault. End of the day she placed second, my greenbean was none the worse for wear, the barn girls who were playing groom were in tears and both barnmate and myself were breathing sighs of relief and blessing that she didn't have a meltdown. Thankfully she was a forgiving and talented soul.

                                I miss that mare. Next week barnmate and I both went and invested in halters with nameplates on them for the next show and trainer went through the barn with the grooms to be pointing out every horse, how to tell them apart etc.
                                ~The Hardest Thing About Riding is the Ground~


                                • #17
                                  I've got a couple of quick, mildly humorous stories from my 18 years of showing...

                                  When I was 10 or 11 I used to help a friend of my mom's flip auction ponies. She was in charge of the riding program at a day camp, and they gave her a buying a budget so we used their money to pick up new animals, get them quiet enough to do camp, and then show them locally until they were experienced enough to bring a profit. It was a great way for me to learn to ride different/green ponies.

                                  The most memorable pony was a small chestnut mare - super cute mover, good conformation, sane enough for me to hop on bareback at the auction and w/t/c. One of the things we worked on with her once we got her home were gymnastics. The first show we took her too had a fairly small ring, and really looooong lines. In our first o/f class (probably sm/med childrens pony hunter), I jump into the first line just fine, she canters up to the next jump just fine, and then...she kept going...and jumped right out of the ring! The "fence" around the ring was about the same height as the jumps. Good girl that she was, she halted on a line on the other side

                                  Later that day we went in for our under saddle and she did really well...until it was time to line up in the middle. We're standing there and she starts incessantly pawing at the grass, so I walk her in a circle while we wait. She starts it again, and starts to shake. Around this time I realize its the first occasion we've had to ride on grass...and that's when she starts trying to lay down and roll! I jumped off just in time for her "ahh this feels sooooo gooood" roll in the middle of the ring. Knowing the pony and knowing we bought her for $300, we all laughed at her first-show antics. Other people there weren't as amused haha.

                                  A couple of years later I said goodbye to my large pony (I had had him for almost 10 years) and moved up to a children's hunter horse. I had a rough time making the pony to horse transition. The first horse I leased ended up getting injured in turn out before I ever got a chance to build a good relationship and really figure him out. The second horse was only available for a few months and we had some epically bad horse show experiences. Then my trainer and I finally found a good fit for me. A really, truly nice guy that was pretty simple and extremely quiet, borderline lazy. Showed him in the children's fairly successfully for awhile but I got bored.

                                  One thursday evening when my mom and I were packing the car to head up to HITS in the Catskills for the weekend my trainer calls and asks if I'm interested in showing in the children's jumpers that weekend instead of the hunters. I was SO excited. The next morning I hop on my guy (who had been through Nona Garson's barn and rejected as a jumper prospect), I'm feeling really good because we've got our figure eight noseband and our jumper boots which at the time I thought was the coolest look ever. Popped over some warm up jumps, walk the course, put in a solid round and finish 6th out of like 30. Trainer asked if I thought this was more fun and I said absolutely.

                                  Next day its time to walk the course and I see this oxer that to me looks like the biggest jump on the planet. Before we even walked in I was getting nervous about it, and my barnmate's mom was making fun of me, as was my own mom. Standing in front of it just made me even more paranoid about it. My friend does a great job, then I head in. All of a sudden my previously dead quiet hunter horse has gone into hot jumper horse mode and is actually pulling me to the jumps. He was obviously feeding off my nervous energy and was uncomfortable. I think we made it over 2 or 3 jumps at scary speed before he finally planted his feet on the wrong side of a big oxer (not the scary one, we didn't even get that far) and I planted my face on the opposite side. I was fine, he was fine. I knew it was totally my fault and that I had been ridiculous so it wasn't a big deal.

                                  Later that afternoon we get ready for the next class, which still uses the scary jump, and which uses the jump I fell off at but in the opposite direction. Worked hard in the schooling area, got control of everything. He was still a little hotter than I was comfortable with in the ring but we made in through the majority of the course, including the terrifying oxer (i probably reached all the way to his ears though he obviously jumped it easily, it was only 3'3"). After that jump I think I was so relieved to still be alive that I totally forgot how to ride. A fence or two later came the one I had fallen at earlier and well, my horse decide that this side of the jump wasn't any more appealing than the other, and stopped again. I flew right over his head and landed in the middle of the jump this time, in the mud. I got up laughing and my trainer thought there might be something wrong with me, like I had hit my head too hard. He asked me if I still thought jumpers were more fun and I said heck yes!

                                  Another time, also at HITS in the Catskills, I got badly jumped out of the tack on a new-to-me mount and was hanging off the side in the middle of a line. I eventually fell off at the next fence, but in the video of the round you can see me pulling as hard as I can on the reins, under the horse's chin, as I'm hanging off the side. I had the worst luck at that show, so glad they moved to Saugerties.

                                  Sorry, that ended up being a long post.


                                  • #18
                                    My sister has this *wonderful* little palomino pony that she wanted me to school for one of the kids that was riding her. So... I got up to the mounting block, lined the pony up... and promptly slipped off of the mounting block. She just stood there and looked at my sister like 'do you really want this idiot to get on me?' So I get up, pick the mounting block up because it fell over, step on to the mounting block, and the pony just walks away before I can get on.

                                    I did get on eventually, but certainly not before making myself look totally incompetent.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by dauphine2 View Post
                                      My sister has this *wonderful* little palomino pony that she wanted me to school for one of the kids that was riding her. So... I got up to the mounting block, lined the pony up... and promptly slipped off of the mounting block. She just stood there and looked at my sister like 'do you really want this idiot to get on me?' So I get up, pick the mounting block up because it fell over, step on to the mounting block, and the pony just walks away before I can get on.

                                      I did get on eventually, but certainly not before making myself look totally incompetent.
                                      Don't feel too bad. I once fell off because my brother wouldn't reach over the fence to hand me a crop. I couldn't get the pony close enough to the fence and had to lean soooooo far i just slipped right off I was about 8 though.


                                      • #20
                                        A trailering story: A friend and I were bringing two horses back from a local show - hers, and a horse belonging to a kid from the barn. Kid loaded up the horse at the show, then drove to the barn with her mom in their car to wait for her horse to arrive. About a mile away from the barn, all *$*$ broke loose in the trailer. We pull over as quickly as we could, just in time to see kid's horse leaving out the back end. He had kicked the ramp down, broken the rope he was tied with, and busted through the butt chain, all before we even pulled to a stop. I ran around just in time to see second horse coming out under the butt chain. I managed a quick kick and he shot back forward. But there was no way kid's horse was going back in. So my friend drove her horse to the barn, and I jumped on kid's horse bareback with a halter and rode it home. My friend said that I should have seen that poor kid's face when the trailer drove in and her horse was not there!

                                        A funny one at the Santa Barbara turkey show. My (now) sister-in-law was a customer of mine back when she was a junior rider. Her mare was a nice big appendix mare, solid bay with a tiny star. One morning I took some white shoe polish and painted a big white blaze on the mare. It looked quite real actually. When kid arrives to get her mare out of the stall and get ready for her class, she stopped at the stall door, gave a funny look at the mare, then walked up and down the aisle looking for her horse. She was getting more and more panicked as she couldn't find her plain bay mare! The entire barn got a good laugh, and the mare showed the rest of the show with a lovely blaze.