We’ve all been there — you come out of the arena or through the finish flags and things haven’t quite gone to plan. Your parents, partner or other support team are waiting — they pour thousands of pounds into this, drive hundreds of miles and never get to go on holiday. You need a reason why you won’t be lining up at prize-giving… Here are some we’ve all used (or inspiration for next time).

1. The warm-up was too small. I couldn’t get him going properly.

2. That girl cut me up at the practice jump and put me right off.

3. The ground was too wet/holding/dry/hard/hilly/flat.

4. He wasn’t really fit enough — I was trying to look after him and forgot to ride properly.

5. I had to work too late this week and didn’t have time to learn my dressage test.

6. I didn’t fall off — I was testing my air jacket.

7. He was spooking at the photographer.

8. The light made it difficult for him to see that fence.

9. The judge sneezed and scared him.

10. That judge has always hated me — it’s because my 12hh pony stood on her foot 25 years ago.

11. That judge isn’t really up to the job. I’d have got a better mark with a proper judge.

12. I’m sure it was the wind that blew down that fence. He felt miles clear of it.

13. The steward made me go early. It would all have been different if I’d had an extra five minutes.

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14. He’s always hated rain.

15. He’s always hated wind.

16. He’s always hated sun.

17. It’s because Daddy came to watch. He jinxed me.

18. I was trying out that new thing I learnt in my lesson this week. You said I needed to change something.

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