Hang around horses long enough, and you'll rack up some interesting stories of horses sending their riders flying (or nearly doing so). It's bound to happen at some point, and even though there are tried and true methods to minimize spooking or anxious horse behavior, if we can't laugh at ourselves once in a while, what can we do?
To celebrate the beginning of spooky season (you know, when it starts to get chilly, the horses start to get fresher, and the gremlins hang out where you least expect them), we asked the NF community to bring us their funny tales of spooking mishaps and mayhem.
"I was 15 and at my first real jumper event with a great horse, but I was a bit over mounted. She was 17h and I’m 5’2” so sitting anything big was already hard, and she was really strong.
We were cantering around the warm up arena - which was separated from an active parking lot by a hedge - and going to a 1.10m oxer. We approached fine and I got comfortable for one second, when tires screeched and she left out a stride, leaving me behind HARD and basically clearing the standards. I ended up staying on, but she galloped into the parking lot after landing (like three strides away, this event organization...smh) and I ended up basically hanging off her neck because 1) I was scared to let go over concrete and 2) I didn’t know where she’d run to and was concerned for her safety. My monkey brain said to plant my dangling feet on the ground, pull and yell “HO!” as if I was asking God herself. And it miraculously worked, she came back to me, and a golf cart full of onlookers escorted us back to the ring and congratulated me.
It’s to this day my eventful spook/crazy mare moment ever. And I’m just happy both of us were totally fine." - Cecily
"Our outdoor arena is surrounded by trees and sometimes our barn cats decide to go hunt in those trees and randomly emerge. Last time it was Swampy (the cat) who caught out my mare Keena. Keena slammed on the brakes and snorted, then Swampy fully emerged and she went, “ahh I see." To be fair, last time a cat was in those threes by our outdoor, it ran under the triple bar I was 2 strides away from so Keena and I jumped the cat. Keena landed in a bit of a huff but didn’t care much and jumped it again." - Amber
"Years ago, I was a working student for a professional rider who imported a lot of horses from Europe. One of the new imports was particularly expensive and for a very important client. I was surprised when one morning, I was assigned to take him on his FIRST hack. Our hack loop was about 4 miles long.
He was tense but managing the group hack pretty well until about half way through, when he stepped on a twig that snapped loudly under his hoof. Faster than I even knew was possible, he let out a series of bucks, rears and spins that only a horse of insane athleticism could pull off.
Next thing I knew, I'm watching a $150,000 horse galloping away from me, down a neighbor's driveway. We caught him, and he was fine, and I still had to finish the 2 mile loop back home on him with wet grass all down the back of my riding pants." - Katherine
"My pony frequently spooks at his own farts, leaping up into the air Lipizzaner-style, causing him to fart again and spook." - Bella
"I was riding a green school horse at one of his first ever off-farm appearances. He was an absolute champion in a very chaotic environment (kids running around, balloons, county fair vibes) and then a very large woman with a walker walked by. She was really really big and apparently my horse is fatphobic because he FLUNG HIMSELF across the field so fast. I was very concerned that the lady saw and was offended!" - Amber
"Riding on the trails behind the barn, both the horses had been so well behaved. Riding home at the trot, the horse in front trips on some gravel and my 6yo mare shoots off, bucks and skedaddles sideways before she stops and stands there snorting. Horses… Ridiculous."- Georgina
Got a spooky story to share? Email us an firstname.lastname@example.org