From Clydesdales to Snapping Turtles: Memorable Horse Show Adventures – Part 1
Equestrians don’t bat an eye when we have to endure a two, four, six, up to 20-hour drive for a horse show because we are accustomed to jumping from state to state every weekend. Although we are used to the long hours in a car or truck, time can drag on.
Every so often, something happens that makes the drive more exciting and memorable. Some of these comical recollections can be from an unfortunate event of a car breakdown or while weaving down a backroad.
Check out some amusing and nightmarish experiences that some avid equestrians have encountered during their trek to a horse show.
Meghan Tierney – One of the most memorable moments had to be last summer when Cameron VanSickle and I were traveling from The Tom Powers Futurity in Michigan to The Big A in Georgia. We switched driving so he could take a nap, and along our route, my GPS put me on a windy backroad with plenty of blind spots – not the ideal road while driving a truck and trailer. Suddenly, I had to stop because in the middle of the road was the biggest Snapping Turtle I had ever seen. I woke Cameron up, and we both rummaged around the back of the trailer to find something to move the turtle onto the side of the road. In the meantime, the turtle was charging at us, trying to bite me as I’m picking it up, and we’re standing in the middle of the road around a blind turn. Not the smartest decision to get out and move the turtle, but I’m crazy for animals and couldn’t help myself, even though it was trying to bite my fingers off every two seconds. I distinctly remember Cameron yelling at me to be careful, and I replied, “Maybe I should just let him bite a finger off, then, no one would ever ask me to braid again!” We eventually coaxed it into a small storage crate, and Cameron ran it across the road. Many girlish squeals and laughs were had at that moment.
Lauren Harrington – My funniest horse show traveling experience was while I was staying at a hotel for the PQHA Mid-Summer Madness. The third night there, I was walking in after a long, hot day at the show, so naturally, I wanted to make it to my room without any human interaction as I was covered in dust and my hair had gone flat. I heard three employees whispering until finally, one says, “Excuse me, miss?” Another girl blurted out, “I love your bedazzled skirt suit.” Before I could even respond, she asked, “So are you the Amish queen?” The blank stare on my face must have scared them because they started asking countless questions and all I could do was laugh for a few moments until I explained to them what the Congress Queen was. There are plenty of other traveling stories that include being chased down in the mountains of Virginia by two guys in a pickup truck to ask if I wanted a boyfriend, people taking pictures of my car, and some small talk in the airport.
Chris Jeter– Last year, I was flying from Dallas to a paint show in Grand Junction, Colorado. We were supposed to depart right before noon. The weather was clear in Dallas, but there were some problems all over, so we had a gate change. After 11 gate changes, we had become friends with most everyone on the flight, and we met two people who were willing to drive with us and rotate so we could be there by morning. It wasn’t until 8 p.m. when we were allowed to board, but then they gave the plane to a group going to Galveston. The show manager had to replace the three of us, so in the end, we had to give up.
Sarah Lebsock – Whenever we are at shows, I am always the one who drives to dinner for some reason. While I argue that I am an extremely efficient driver, everyone at Team MilMax would tell you I mistake myself for a Nascar driver. While we were at the Congress, we decided to go to Easton for dinner, and I had to drive because we had to stop at Ohio State, where I attended college, to pick up my friend. Everyone quickly learned that when I yell “Tokyo Drift,” they better hold on to something. They were complaining about my driving, and I said, “But did you die?” We then enjoyed a lovely dinner.
Ellexxah Maxwell – When we were driving to a horse show, my dad and our assistant trainer were driving the truck and trailer while my mom, grandma and I were following behind them. We had been driving for a while when I saw something unusual going up the exit ramp that was not a car. My mom thought it was a little black dog until we looked closer and realized it was a tire. During our guessing game, the tire rolled all the way up the ramp and sat at the top before falling over. I feared it was a tire of ours, and sure enough, after we called my dad and told him to pull over, we saw our trailer was missing a tire. Someone got a pretty nice tire because we never went back to get it.
Kamiah McGrath – Last year, my mom and I were driving to Conyers, Georgia for the Big A. When we got there, we started unloading horses and noticed that another truck’s mirror was wedged between the ladder on the side of the trailer. We still have no idea how it happened because we never felt or saw anything unusual during our trip.
Emma Brown – One of my most memorable moments while traveling was a few years ago when we were on our way home from the Youth World Show. The power steering went out in our truck so, while it was getting fixed, we went to the Budweiser Farm. We got to see the famous Clydesdales and see different animals at the petting zoo.
Lisa Mazurka – Some years ago, my husband and I had a freak accident traveling to Lexington, Virginia where a turkey (a big one!) flew right into the windshield and smashed the glass directly into the body of the bus. (See main image above). Thankfully, we were not hurt. Our bus is fondly named “The Turkenator.” After we hit the turkey, we had no choice but to continue driving. I didn’t want to miss the show, and it was Easter Sunday, so there was nothing open to try and fix it. About an hour away from the show, we got pulled over by a cop. He let us go but told us we better not drive back home until it was fixed. So, we ordered the windshield and had it delivered to an RV shop in Manassas, VA. Unfortunately, those large windshields are hard to come by. It took six days to come in. This was after the horse show ended and my husband and I lived in a Walmart parking lot for almost a week.
Rebekah Kazakevicius – Beth, Theresa and I did the Little Futurity/Tom Powers haul one year. We left North Carolina headed to Michigan and just went on our merry way. Beth said put the address in your phone, so I just typed in the Tom Powers address that it had on the website. I’ve made the drive before, but somewhere along the way I thought to myself, this doesn’t seem right. It looked like it was taking longer than usual, even though it said we were close and took us down a road that I knew was not right. All of a sudden the phone said you’ve arrived at your destination. We all looked at each other, and it finally clicked. We were at Tom Powers’ house. I realized I had typed in the entry mailing address, not the address to the fairgrounds. We were three hours away from the showgrounds. Between that, Theresa learning to drive the truck and trailer, coupled with Beth’s singing, it made for a pretty exciting trip.
Micah Hansen – Last year while heading back from the Level 1 Central Championships, there was a significant storm in Salina, Kansas, so we stopped and looked at the radar. After seeing there were two storms with one headed right at us, we thought we could split the storms. We were going well over the speed limit, and once we got through the danger zones, I slowed down. One of my customers was following me and decided to keep the speed we were going, so I let him hunt out the cops. Well, that’s precisely what he did. Two hours later, we passed him being pulled over. After, they called me and told me that he informed the cop the reason he was speeding was because he was trying to outrun the storm. The police proceeded to say to him there aren’t any storms within two hours of where he was. He didn’t get out of the ticket.
Of course, sharing moments in the arena with your trainer and close friends are crucial, but sometimes the most memorable recollections are on the road. There are countless stories equestrians could think of while traveling that they will always remember aside from the ones in the show pen. There is never a dull moment in our lives with these beautiful animals.
Do you have any funny or nightmare road trip stories to horse shows you’d like to share? Please share them in the comments section or on our Facebook Page.
About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Emily Ambrose of Chardon, Ohio is a freshman at Kent State University. She trains under the guidance of Seth and Amber Clark from Pierpont, Ohio. Emily avidly shows her horses, Play for A Minute, known as Ralphie, who is a 12-year-old all arounder, and Super Yellow Doc, known as Doc, who is a 22-year-old ranch horse. Her love of showing has been strengthened with the support of all of her friends in the Quarter Horse community and will continue her passion through and following the completion of her college career.