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Poor horsemanship/etiquette at a horse show... How do you react?

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  • Poor horsemanship/etiquette at a horse show... How do you react?

    I have (along with ANYONE who shows somewhat regularly) witnessed bad practice/warm up ring etiquette... Horses hand galloping the wrong way in "traffic", Kids left alone with naughty horses while parents talk on the benches, etc.

    Yesterday took the cake for me. I was not even in the crowded warm up arena. I decided to ride in the secondary arena where there were only 3 other riders. Out of nowhere, a girl in her early teens come bolting in, on what I think was a large minature pony. She was WAY too big for this little pony. Her parents are nowhere to be seen. Neither is her trainer, if she has one. My horse can deal with ponies in the ring, no problem. Suddenly, the girl lost control, or wasn't looking where she was going with pony, and pony comes tearing direcly for my 16.2 hand horse's behind. CRAP.

    Pony RAMS into back of my horse, head and shoulder first. It was all I could do to try to push my spur into my horses side and pull his head to the center of the arena to attempt to spin his butt and powerful hooves away from the young girl's head. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it destroyed my horse for the rest of the show... he would tuck his butt and try to skirt away if any horse came even close. This all happened before I had even entered one class. A waste of pulling fees, show fees and trainer fees.

    I did not "blow up" at this young girl with the pony. She was pretty terrified in the end of it all.

    How do you deal with bad/dangerous show ring etiquette? Is it just a part of showing you just quietly deal with, or do you say something? I am not a parent, so yelling at someone else's child is akward. What would you do?

  • #2
    Glad you, your horse and the kid are all ok. That said - you should probably talk to the show management - likely they know who the kid/pony are and who they were supposed to be with. If they tell you, assuming you have calmed down and are breathing normally, you might try and talk to them and explain what their runaway kid managed to accomplish. But don't expect much from it.

    At a show last year, I was in the stall with our prima dona TB - he was being an a____ and had been as long as he was in his stall. He had just come back from being shown and was still keyed up and I was untacking him. Just then, two people went running down the aisle behind us. Horse spooked, I almost got squished and I yelled "quit running".

    Turns out, somebody's precious had just come off her horse in a w/t class. Horse bucked, and ran. Daddy and brother had to rush to her aid by running - never mind anyone else. After I yelled at them, they were mad at me for yelling at them.

    I found them later to make my peace - being the grown up and all, and Daddy proceeded to tell me that if it had been my kid, I would have done the same thing. I just stood there with my mouth shut - at an earlier show, one of the barn kids got tossed into a jump by her heinous mare - two people went into the ring: our trainer to the rider and me to catch the horse. Mom stayed out. So, no I would not have....

    The end of it all was when Daddy showed me the video of the train wreck he managed to capture before running to his daughter's aid!!!

    So, good luck on this one. I am sure it's all your fault anyway - you should have known what was going to happen and moved.
    And nothing bad happened!

    Comment


    • #3
      Check with the steward or show manager. Try to see if you can make some sort of formal complaint.

      Find this yound girl's parents and try to have a civil discusion.

      You did the right thing by not yelling at this little girl and Thank god you've been able to manage your horse to keep the child safe but I do fully understand the frustration!
      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

      Originally posted by LauraKY
      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
      HORSING mobile training app

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      • #4
        Please speak with show management. I had an issue with a dangerously agressive horse-similar to the yellow horse in the movie Buck-that went after my horse and me in the warm up arena at a horseshow and I mentioned it later to the show management. Apparently someone else had told them since the response was "Oh, so that was you and your horse". They need to hear these things in order to resolve these kinds of issues. Unfortunately, my horse was never the same in that arena.

        Comment


        • #5
          Mine is not the socially acceptable option.
          I would have yanked her off her pony and marched her over to the management table and had her tell them how dangerous and disruptive she was, and have them page her parents.
          Children act like wreck less idiots because they think people won't do anything. When one does, the lesson sinks in.
          I did this with a child beating her horse once. Mortification is a powerful emotion.
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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          • #6
            It seems to me this is also a liability issue. If they don't heed warnings and act on information about dangerous behavior they could be sued. I know of a case where proper arena etiquette was not posted and not enforced which resulted in a brain injury to a young girl. The barn owner, manager, everyone was sued. It was continuing through the courts 15 years later, ridiculously expensive for those involved also.

            Thank god you were quick, sensible and able to prevent serious injury. Very unfair that you should have to deal with your horses' worried behavior afterward.

            Comment


            • #7
              Unfortunately this stuff happens particularly with kids. I was at a HT earlier this year when some horse got loose from the Pony Club rally running concurrently. (This seemed to be fairly common at this rally.) Anyhow, said horse comes ripping toward the dressage rings with lead rope flying where 3 horses are doing tests....leaps into all 3, tears around and then flies out and starts running after my horse. He takes off and believe me, a Fjord can haul butt when they need to. The idjit kid finally catches the horse, but he ruined 3 dressage tests and my normally steady guy, was pretty darn tense in his test. But that's life. I can only hope the kid got marked down at the rally for having a loose horse.
              Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
              http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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              • #8
                Stuff happens with horses and unless one knows all the circumstances, one needs to be careful on the blame game. Kid on too small pony: wasn't doing anything illegal, maybe dumb, but what is management going to do unless it was a chronic problem? a calm discussion with parent or trainer may make you feel better, may help it not to happen again at THAT show but unless this child is in a good learning situation, not likely to help much.
                Horse getting loose at PC/HT-horses get loose for all kinds of reasons, may not have been the handler's fault. Can't direct a runaway and those horses that were fouled should all have been allowed a re-ride
                anytime we take our horses out we run into all kinds of exciting situations that may really screw us up and mostly we need to go forth and repair!

                Comment


                • #9
                  A very scary incident indeed, but can you say that you've never had a horse misbehave away from home? When I was a teen, my greenie would bolt out of the warm up ring gate among other antics that he didn't do at home. Maybe this was this girl's first show. If she doesn't have an instructor or other knowledgeable help, she may not have even realized that she's too big for her pony. I would try helping her instead of yelling or complaining like others have suggested. It was definitely not intentional and probably ruined her day too.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by OnePerfectRide View Post
                    A very scary incident indeed, but can you say that you've never had a horse misbehave away from home? When I was a teen, my greenie would bolt out of the warm up ring gate among other antics that he didn't do at home. Maybe this was this girl's first show. If she doesn't have an instructor or other knowledgeable help, she may not have even realized that she's too big for her pony. I would try helping her instead of yelling or complaining like others have suggested. It was definitely not intentional and probably ruined her day too.
                    First, Thank you for everyone's replies. It has been VERY helpful, and I will know what to do in the future. OnePerfectRide- your point is exactly why I didn't end up yelling at her. She was very close to crying by the end of the "wreck". Who I was upset with, was her parents or whoever was in charge of her. She was out of control as soon as she entered the arena. She had the pony trotting OKAY.. but she kept whipping the pony into that uncontrollable canter. If my horse hadn't been a SAINT when he was run into, I can't imagine what would have happened.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree that it is neither a horsemanship or etiquette situation, it may be an over horsed situation but the end result was it was an accident. Nothing you can do about an accident except take steps to insure it doesn't happen again. That part is not your problem.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home

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                      • #12
                        I know many people dont think about it at the time but a simple heads up when you lose control would help alot. I was jumping over a line at a show and after the last fence the pony darted towards the rail. Although I was still trying my hardest to pull the pony up, I warned the girl on the rail, she moved, and saved us from having an accident. Said sorry to the girl, she thanked me for the heads up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jay0087 View Post
                          I know many people dont think about it at the time but a simple heads up when you lose control would help alot. I was jumping over a line at a show and after the last fence the pony darted towards the rail. Although I was still trying my hardest to pull the pony up, I warned the girl on the rail, she moved, and saved us from having an accident. Said sorry to the girl, she thanked me for the heads up.
                          I would happily share an arena with you any day of the week. Crap happens, but a heads up can make all the difference.
                          Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OP, I don't understand how the same pony could be "trotting OK" and then bolting because the rider whipped it into a frenzy? What you originally described sounded like the pony came bolting out of nowhere, not that it was "trotting OK" first.

                            Anyway... I am fairly quiet (hence the username) but I can sure holler "LOOSE HORSE!" or "HEADS UP!" at a show. Most but not all folks, when they hear that, they'll halt their horses.
                            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You know, I've had some narrow misses at horse shows before..some involving kids..some adults..

                              Because of this, I've made a point to REALLY REALLY despook my horses to all sorts of "problems". I figure I cant control everyone else..but I can control ME and MY HORSE...and thus, I beleive is the reason I can navigate a pretty hectic warm up arena or an ornery ring crew member riding up my horse's rear with a tractor..

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by quietann View Post
                                OP, I don't understand how the same pony could be "trotting OK" and then bolting because the rider whipped it into a frenzy? What you originally described sounded like the pony came bolting out of nowhere, not that it was "trotting OK" first.

                                Anyway... I am fairly quiet (hence the username) but I can sure holler "LOOSE HORSE!" or "HEADS UP!" at a show. Most but not all folks, when they hear that, they'll halt their horses.
                                I'm sorry- that did sound confusing. She was trotting okay when she was OUTSIDE the arena. Before I was riding the the arena where the accident happened, I had noticed she kept whipping to pony to try to get it to canter off. When it finally would canter off, that is where she lost control- and I think that is what happened in the arena.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                  I agree that it is neither a horsemanship or etiquette situation, it may be an over horsed situation but the end result was it was an accident. Nothing you can do about an accident except take steps to insure it doesn't happen again. That part is not your problem.
                                  Agree. This does not sound like etiquette. It is not rude to have an accident, even if it interferes with your ride.

                                  It was very poor etiquette not to apologize profusely, if she did not.

                                  Same with the loose Fjord ruining dressage tests -- sorry, but horses sometimes get loose and run around, especially at horse shows. Sometimes it distracts your horse during your class. That's unfortunate, but so is life.
                                  I've lost a horse or two at a show during my lifetime and most of them were not my "fault." A few could have been prevented, but most not, unless you count "don't fall off, stupid" as a prevention mechanism which is perhaps unrealistic.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                    Mine is not the socially acceptable option.
                                    I would have yanked her off her pony and marched her over to the management table and had her tell them how dangerous and disruptive she was, and have them page her parents.
                                    Children act like wreck less idiots because they think people won't do anything. When one does, the lesson sinks in.
                                    I did this with a child beating her horse once. Mortification is a powerful emotion.

                                    Unfortunately, it isn't just kids that act this way, adults are just as bad sometimes!! I think they should have show personnel at every warm up ring and around the grounds to stop this stuff before it gets this bad. It reminds me why I DON'T miss showing anymore!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Sometimes it's not the kids, it's the adults who think the kids shouldn't be there anyway.

                                      My DD used to ride an 11.2 Welsh pony in open dressage and eventing. She took the pony to Elementary (not sure what that is in the US but it's not beginner stuff.) DD is small and has always appeared younger than she is so adult riders have sometimes taken advantage of that. She was competing and coming down the long side of the dressage arena when an adult rider decided she needed to get her horse used to the arena and rode just outside the arena going towards my DD. Poor pony thought she was about to be run over! The lady did NOT apologise because "it's just a kid on a pony, not competitive anyway" Seriously? That pony was a superstar in her own right and won a lot, beating the flashier warmbloods on occasion.

                                      DD got screamed at by one of our local riders in the warmup. I was there and DD hadn't done anything wrong except she was there on a small pony. Local rider was VERY tense as her horse was a complete loon and she just went off on my daughter. I understand that, but targeting a young kid is too easy.

                                      Conversely, at an ODE my daughter did accidently get in the way of one of our top riders, Heath Ryan. He was lovely to her. I know he won't remember it, but those 30 seconds of his time made a HUGE impression on a little kid who is still riding and competing bigger horses now.

                                      I got yelled at by a rider for being with my DD as she was warming up. I don't warm her up or anything, but I do stay with her to help if she needs it. Some woman told me to go sit in the stands as this was the WARM UP AREA!! It's not as if I were in her way as I was leaning up against a light pole. I told her I was so sorry but I was NOT going to leave my daughter in the madness of the warmup area on her own. She got really ticked off and said she was on the COMMITTEE and that she would see that this issue was addressed at the next meeting.

                                      It was pretty funny as her horse is way beyond her abilities and was leaping around as she was yelling at me. She was in everyone's way as she didn't have a whole lot of control. Which was probably why she was yelling at me.

                                      I hate the warm-up areas. I find the collecting ring at showjumping to be terrifying. People are flying around in all directions, the newbies are too scared to ask anything or do much more than trot around the edge, the pros have their grooms putting the jumps up way higher than normal people can jump and they just take over the whole place.

                                      My dd gets mad at me because I am not assertive enough to just march into the mix. I find if I do manage to get to the jumps and put them up and down for her, I end up there longer than I intended. Kids are lucky because they have their moms to help. The adult riders who are on their own must find it impossible.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                        Mine is not the socially acceptable option.
                                        I would have yanked her off her pony and marched her over to the management table and had her tell them how dangerous and disruptive she was, and have them page her parents.
                                        Children act like wreck less idiots because they think people won't do anything. When one does, the lesson sinks in.
                                        I did this with a child beating her horse once. Mortification is a powerful emotion.
                                        I was hoping I wasn't the only one thinking this....

                                        Not sure if I would physically yank her off though...I'm sure someone would call authorities because I'd have had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I probably would have said something along the lines of "Next time warn somebody!", got her back number, and ridden directly to the show office/management and had them page the girl AND her parents. Sure it was an accident, but her parents never should have just left her alone on a pony she wasn't able to control. I was always watched like a hawk in the warm-up arena as a kid, up until I was in my late teens. Even though the show management probably would do nothing about the OP's situation, just informing the parents of the incident probably would help her out at other shows.

                                        Thankfully I've never had to deal with anything like THAT, just the typical person - adult AND child - who thinks ramming their horse/pony's nose up your horse's ass is perfectly okay, and get offended when you tell them otherwise.
                                        runnjump86 Instagram

                                        Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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