Embarrassing Mistakes all Riders Have Made

29 November 2020

Some of the bloopers that have left us rather red-faced...

Equestrians like to think that we’re as graceful as ballet dancers, as strong as and as versatile as triathletes.


Maybe we’re not high-flying business moguls or science geniuses, but put us with horses and everything falls into place. Add a horse to the mixture and suddenly we’re not just boring old us, but one half of a beautiful and harmonious partnership.

Until you punch yourself in the face doing up the girth, that is!


We bet even Charlotte Dujardin has made EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of these embarrassing mistakes.


1. Punching yourself in the face doing up the girth (obviously)

You’re tacking up to go and showjump around a 1.60m course (whether in your head or in real life doesn’t matter!) and your horse is blowing out. That buckle which normally fastens on hole 5 is now seriously looking like it won’t do up at all, and this time we can’t even blame lockdown weight gain.


So you pull a little harder, grab the very ends of the girth, stand on your tiptoes for one final effort and BAM – the girth is no longer in your hands and you’ve successfully given yourself a fat lip.


And your horse is definitely smirking.


2. Fallen off your horse’s ears

We like to think that when falls do happen, they’re at least as dramatic as they are in the movies. Your horse has bucked you into orbit, or spooked and spun so hard that you were left in the dust.


At the very least, you fell off because your horse decided that jump No.6 was a huuuuge nope despite your best efforts. Try as you might have, nobody could have sat that. You’re a hero for even attempting to stay on!


But we all remember at least one of those falls where your horse has casually stopped to munch some grass, performed a very half-hearted stop at a cross pole or new puddle on the ground, or simply decided to scratch his leg mid-ride….and we’ve gone straight over the withers and slid down the neck in slo-mo like some kind of kiddies slide, only to have to untangle ourselves from the reins and ears at the end. All while your horse continues his quest to inspect the puddle or finish that mid-morning snack, obviously.


3. Hit yourself with a lunge whip

Once you learn how to wield that lunge whip with some finesse, you might as well be the horse whisperer. There you are, almost motionless in the centre of the ring except for some gentle guidance with a flick of the whip and a slight positioning of your upper body.


At a gentle whistle your horses pop down into walk or trot, eager to receive your next command and attuned to your every move.


It’s a shame that the next move will be flicking the whip straight into your own body as you try to get that satisfying soft cracking sound that only a good lunge whip operator can get.


4. Not done up the girth tight enough

There’s an urban legend that says that some riders have always done the girth up tightly enough. I’m not sure that I believe it, having witnessed almost every horse person making this mistake at some point.


The lucky ones might realise when they shift around and the saddle ominously slides over to the left side of the back. If nobody is there to see it and you can quietly tighten the aeroplane-sized gap between the girth and your horse’s side, you’ve escaped the ultimate embarrassing moment.


The unlucky ones? They’ll find out about the importance of checking your girth when their horse decides to do an almighty entire-body shake, or when they step into one stirrup and find themselves sitting on the floor with the saddle protruding from the side of a very bemused horse.


Yes, the mounting block is prime territory for this to occur. So is the first canter of the day.


5. Had an over enthusiastic leg up….

...and missed the horse.

You all know the leg ups we’re talking about. Someone strong and/or enthusiastic offers to help and counts 1,2, 3 as usual - like you expect from a regular leg up. But it’s a trick! Because on three, this person will launch you halfway to the moon with surprising ease.


You’ll find yourself desperately clinging to the reins and trying to engage your landing sequence like the spaceship your ground helper thinks you are.


Best case scenario is that you eventually find your way onto some part of the horse though not necessarily the saddle. Worst case? You go straight over the other side and opt to find a mounting block for round two.


Share your embarrassing moments with us on Facebook! You can also check out all our fab horsey gifs on Giphy!


Words by Sophie Baker


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