When a horse show weekend SUCKS: Novice nightmare

Gail Knoffloch and her cheeky mount.

Eastern Hay 770x170-March


When a horse show weekend SUCKS: Novice nightmare

On Mondays, your social media is often filled with cute statuses about how your fellow equestrians’ weekends went and of course, ribbon photos. Yes, the classic ribbon on a horse’s bridle photos with someone holding it smiling like a Cheshire cat. One quick scroll down any social media platform and you will see way too many of these victorious little photos with joyous captions. But sometimes your weekend will SUCK. To keep things real, Sable Giesler shared her sucky weekend tale and asked Eventing Connect readers to share their horrendous weekend stories. Our readers did not disappoint… Continuing the series is Gail Knoffloch with her Novice nightmare story.

I’ve been Eventing (er..trying to event) my current horse for about four years now, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. He hasn’t been the easiest to show, and we’ve dealt with our fair share of spookiness, attitude, tension, bad scores, and eliminations. In the last year, things have changed a lot and he’s been feeling better than ever, we even placed 2nd and 1st at our last two events! I came to this event excited and confident.

My plan was to use this as our last qualifying score to go to the AECs this summer, and it was really our last chance because it was the last event close enough to us that the schedule and budget would allow. After AECs I planned to move my horse up to Training level for the fall.

We had a fantastic dressage test, putting us in 1st going into stadium, which was later in the day. Again, just a great ride in stadium, until we were almost finished with the course and had a refusal at the A part of a combination. We circled around, jumped it, and finished the rest of the course nicely. Totally kicking myself for letting that happen, but 4 faults and a few time faults isn’t the worst thing ever.

Moving on to cross-country the next day. The course was pretty straightforward, but did have a “scary” trakehner midway through the course. My horse has never been a fan of ditches so I was a little nervous about it, but had a plan that I’d ridden many times in my head. My guy felt great in the warm-up, forward when I asked, but still had brakes, we were good to go. He jumped around the course beautifully, I really couldn’t ask for a better ride. We got to the trakehner and he flew over it without a care. He felt so confident and I was having a great time…until the second to last jump. It was a combination: A, up a small (but steep) hill, down to B, a small bank down. Unfortunately, my horse was not having ANY of that hill. We had a stop at A, got over it, and had a couple rear and spins trying to go up the tiny hill to B. Once I finally got him to go up the damn thing and he saw the bank he popped down it no problem. But that didn’t matter, we were already eliminated. At almost the last jump. On our perfect course. So, no AECs for us this year. Ugh, we were so close!

I didn’t really talk to anyone for a while, and then there was a lot of bad language and some tears. I cooled out my horse, packed up as quickly as I could, and we got out of there. Besides being extremely disappointed in myself, it totally sucked to see my husband upset too. He’s been our biggest supporter and was just as excited to go to Colorado as I was. I spent the drive home being pissed off and thinking about how f***ed up my summer plans are now.

But, there’s always something good to come out of the bad. There were some really great parts to our rides last weekend, we made some new friends and connections, and had a good time. We’re working on some new plans for myself and my horse now that I’m getting excited about. Sometimes things just don’t go to plan and you have to change your path a little. Gotta keep on keeping on…

Weekends that suck need to be heard about too. Share yours!!
So in honour of the riders who had weekends they want to forget, we are starting a new series.

Email me your story about your disappointing weekend, tell us how you dealt with it and we will publish it because misery loves company and you will be entered in a draw for a Shop ATTITUDE T-Shirt of your choice pictured below.
Email: sable@eventingconnect.today

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