Horse show “Oops” moments – when things don’t go as planned in your pattern, course or test

How to manage in the moment?

Learning to carry on after a mistake in the show ring is part of becoming a savvy horse show competitor. Guard against one element of your performance dominoing the remaining elements.
Wrong diagonal? Sit a beat and carry on.
Start a spin the wrong direction? Spin the right way and finish strong.

Managing in the moment is minimizing the impact to other competitors and to your longer term training goals. With experience, riders can recover and ride on.

Endeavour to end on a positive note.
Excused for refusals? Take advantage of the courtesy jump, if the judge permits – as a judge, I always do.
 Antsy in the line up? Better to walk a calm circle than forcing your horse to stand there.

There’s a time for camouflaging the mistake and showing to win. But teachable moments are investments in the training of your horse, even if they forfeit classes.
However, do so with tact. Consider your fellow exhibitors. Be gracious to the judge who is letting you finish your pattern, even if you’ve technically been disqualified.
And consider your horse, who won’t respond well to your remedial training efforts when stressed.