Splash & Crash: Eventing FAIL

We’ve all been there… the undignified moments when our best plans, hopeful intentions, and attempts at perfection just come up a little short and we suddenly find ourselves face-to-face with Sir Isaac Newton.  This segment is designed to celebrate the humbling experience that unites all of us eventers, from Advanced to Beginner Novice… the 65 penalties embarrassing elimination we all seem to suffer at some point in our equestrian careers.  Just when you get cocky, thinking you’ve finally got it all figured out… unavoidable gravitational force will (literally) bring you back to earth.  Most of these moments result in nothing but bruises and deflated dignity, and hopefully they can be used as learning experiences.  But that doesn’t mean others cannot share a smile (or gasp) at your expense… thus, let us move on to the photographic evidence that physics does exist, and it is more powerful than you.  Note: no horses or riders were harmed in the creation of these Kodak moments, so feel free to gasp, giggle, and poke fun at them without guilt.    

**Reader submissions are encouraged!!  Please send us your “proudest” occasions via email [email protected].**


From a preliminary horse trial in 2002: Synchronized Swimming

SpringrunXC02-1.jpg picture by aljohnd

(click photo to enlarge)

Rider comment:  Actually, the horse and I did nothing wrong in this situation: our approach was good, my position is acceptable, the horse jumped well.  Unfortunately, heavy rain the night before washed out a soft hole on the right end of the landing side, and my horse’s legs buckled when he landed in it.  He literally “pancaked” on landing–knees and stifles collapsed like he was laying down. (He did not roll, so no MR for shoulder/hip hitting the ground.)  I just remember thinking, “Alright we’re perfect!” and then staring at gravel underwater stunned,”What the hell happened?!!”  We were both fine, though completely bewildered.  I immediately remounted, in the water, soaked to the bone from head to toe (so was my horse!).  We finished the course, with a stop later at another drop question (horse was perhaps apprehensive? and I don’t think I rode well with soggy breeches and squishy saddle).  Thankfully, the rest of our season was just fine… neither of us developed “water phobia” despite having a good excuse!   Lessons learned: crap happens; check landings on water jumps; and don’t  wear brand-new boots for the first time at an event, unless you want to break them in underwater!


From a preliminary horse trial in 2005:  Eventing WIN!

note:  turn your volume down viewing this video.  Apparently, Mom filming the action gets a little caught up in the moment, cheering on her “velcro-britches” daughter and the shrieking may burst your eardrums. 



I give this one a 10 for style, 8.5 for difficulty, and 9.0 for the horse, who after causing the near-accident by hanging a knee, offered helpful assistance by walking calmly uphill despite the rider’s desperate flailing. Readers, what say you?

Do you have an epic FAIL or WIN you’d like to share? Email us!

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