There’s a very good reason the water jump attracts photographers and spectators like bees to honey. But a proper dunking is every rider’s worst nightmare — even if for showjumpers it’s in little more than a few inches of (bright blue) water.

From Hickstead to Hamburg to Aachen, we have the utmost respect for any rider brave enough to tackle some of the world’s toughest watery obstacles, but we couldn’t resist having a little snigger at some of these spectacular water jump fails…

  1. No please, after you…

Peiter VI very kindly lets his rider James Hughes take the first dip in the Hickstead Lido, otherwise known as the middle element of the Devil’s Dyke, in the 2014 Hickstead Derby.

James Hughes riding Peiter VI during the Hickstead Derby in 2014.

  1. What do you mean this is cheating?

In 1989, German rider Hauke Luther makes clearing the vast open water in the renowned Hamburg Derby slightly more achievable by taking off well into its crystalline depths… Nobody will notice, right?

Hauke Luther in the Hamburg Derby. (Credit: Moenkebild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

  1. Fancy a dip?

Not really, says Julie Andrews, but has little choice when IV suddenly thinks twice about tackling the famous 15ft-wide Hickstead water. The resulting splash is inevitable…

Julie Andrews riding Ayrton IV in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup during the Royal International Horse Show 2016 at Hickstead.

  1. Where’s Big Star when you need him?

Even the equestrian greats get it wrong occasionally, so we can forgive a 12-year-old Nick Skelton and his pony Prince Tarquin for not quite clearing the full expanse of this open water in the junior championships at Hickstead in 1970.

Nick Skelton riding Prince Tarquin in the 1970 Junior Championships at Hickstead. (Photo by Ed Lacey/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

  1. That’s not even trying!

Bling Bling doesn’t really take this water jumping lark seriously for Tim Stockdale, preferring the lovely, refreshing, splash-straight-in method at Hickstead in 2015.

Tim Stockdale and Bling Bling at Hickstead 2015

  1. Making waves

It’s not just the open water that can cause problems, sometimes the Liverpool water trays are simply far too frightening for our equine friends — Ramiro Quintana’s Appy Cara certainly thought so at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Argentina’s Ramiro Quintana, riding Appy Cara, at the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Credit: AP Photo/John Locher)

  1. ‘No no no…!’

Sissi Van Schuttershof makes her feelings known about being expected to clear an obviously piranha-infested water tray to Dutchman Jur Vrieling in Aachen in 2011.

Jur Vrieling with his horse Sissi van Schuttershof at Aachen CHIO . (Credit: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

  1. Splashdown!

Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Desteny Van Het Dennehof end up surfing back to shore during the Nations Cup in Aachen in 2013.

Gregory Wathelet and Desteny van het Dennehof at CHIO Aachen 2013.

  1. When all else fails… paddle madly!

Tim Stockdale is back again, this time on Miss Fritz at Suffolk Show in June 2017. The gallant mare throws every limb in a different direction in a heroic attempt to clear the watery expanse.

Tim Stockdale riding Miss Fritz in the international trial at Suffolk Show 2017.

 

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