7 childhood show day faux-pas (that we’d rather forget)

There are some early show memories that we’d rather forget — whether it was chasing your pony around the car park before you’d even got near the ring, or hopelessly waiting while your not-so-trusty steed stopped for an ill-timed pee mid-showjumping round.

But it turns out we’re not alone. Olympic dressage gold-medallist Laura Tomlinson (pictured above) admits that she was disqualified from her first ever show.

“I was so excited to be going to a show that I bought my 12.2hh pony Neppy a browband in our stable colours, red and green,” she remembers.

“I was promptly disqualified and my mother was told off for not having read the Pony Club rule book which prohibited coloured tack.”

And at her first ever one-day event Laura’s pony “stopped at pretty much every fence, but I finished the course having eventually got him over everything — I thought I’d done brilliantly.”

Top showjumper Tim Stockdale had a similarly shaky start.

“I remember being eliminated as a child at the first fence at a show,” he says. “It was a long hack home and I cried all the way — but it certainly strengthened my resolve.”

7 childhood show day faux-pas

1. “Loose horse” — the words you never want to hear in conjunction with seeing your pony going hell-for-leather across the car park, tack and rug hopelessly trailing.

2. Trying to plait your pony’s mane having doused it in Mane & Tail conditioner. How else were you meant to get a comb through it?

3. Sneaking your whip into the bending race — it seemed like the obvious solution to get the brute to move.

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4. Being overly liberal with your saddle soap — and wondering why your stickability is suffering.

5. Forgetting your jodhpur-clips — is there anything more agonisingly irritating than jodhpurs crawling up your legs?

6. Your horse stopping at the first fence at a hunter trials — and proceeding to eat it. Why did you always have the greediest pony?

7. Taking to your pony’s mane with scissors in a panic on the eve of a show — pulling was taking too long. Not an easy look to get rid of…

Don’t miss this week’s special show issue of Horse & Hound magazine (26 February), packed with features — including our pick of the under-25s to watch this season — as well as over 8,000 event listings

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