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We Ask Exhibitors: What is Your Funniest Horse Show Memory?

There are bound to be a few funny moments that stick out in your horse show career. Possums with their babies attached running right into the middle of your western riding pattern, wardrobe and equipment malfunctions, weather-related disasters, almost missing classes, forgetting important show equipment, going in the wrong classes, and funny birthday “guests” to name a few. The list goes on and on. GoHorseShow talked to multiple competitors about some of their most memorable moments.

Beckie Peskin – I was comparing notes with one of my friends and we ended up laughing about several funny horse show moments, an alarming number of which involved pants. Bulges in inappropriate places in pants under chaps…multiple issues with pants splitting in warm-up arenas. I’m not sure why pants seem to be such a problem for my friends and me, but we have surely had some laughs.

The other one that the various pant stories made me think of was that I was showing in Tunica years ago and sadly made a wrong move and ended up doing a very “slow-mo” feeling near-fall IN my pattern. I didn’t bite the dust (or lose my horse), but it was pretty bad.  Because I’m a klutz (and somewhat self-deprecating), I immediately started laughing and kept laughing as I finished my pattern.  I remember clear as day that John and Betsy Tuckey were judging.  When they realized I was laughing, John said he considered writing a ten on his notepad and holding it up for me. Meanwhile, Robin’s (Frid) comment was, “I’m not even going to pretend that wasn’t funny.”

Julie Petonak – During my youth, the white showmanship outfits were having their moment. After one of my classes, I was pretty happy with my pattern and wondering what was going on when a judge approached my trainer dying laughing, pointing out something on me. I was worried I must have forgotten something, so I checked if my hat was on straight, and if my pants were untucked from my boots, but I couldn’t find anything wrong. Since we warmed up with those snap up gym pants to protect the white outfit, no one thought about my bright yellow huge smiley face underwear until I was in the sunlight in the show pen for the world to see my smiley backside. Everyone got a good laugh, and I earned the nickname “Smiley”. So glad the white pants phase is over, though.

Ashley Dunbar-Clock – I think my funniest horse show moment was back when I first started showing as an open trainer. I was showing RL Tune Up in the Senior Western Riding, and my bridle broke, and the bit fell out of his mouth and just hung there…I didn’t know if I should stop or keep showing. Someone yelled, “keep showing” and I did. The whole time laughing as he was a great horse and showed perfect, and I literally couldn’t believe what had happened.

Nicole Robosson – A few years ago at the Congress, one of my youth kids was showing in the Novice Youth Equitation. In her pattern for her split, she cantered off the first step of her pattern when she was supposed to trot off, it was only a stride, but it happened. So after her pattern, we went back to the barn, and we untacked, she got undressed, and I even started taking braids out. They gave the callback numbers, and hers was one of them. We all just stopped what we were doing and looked at each other. I had my mom and her dad go up to make sure we heard it right. Well, when my mom asked the lady at the check-in, she said she didn’t have her number on the list. My mom asked her to double-check since we all heard her number. Well, she wrote the number down wrong when they called them out, and she was called back for the finals. So, I had to get her, rebraid her, and my youth kid had to get dressed in record time. She went in the finals and nailed her patten and ended up 8th. We still laugh about that to this day.

Vanessa Froman – Back in my youth days, we didn’t have a lot of “indoor” shows. We had to make the best of the shows in all elements. One year, we were at Cassopolis, MI showing, and of course, it had poured rain. So all us youth kids decided to use the show pen for a mud football field. We were all covered from head to toe in mud and had the best time. I did, however, find a nail with my foot during the game and had to get a tetanus shot. Made showing showmanship a little tougher. Haha!

Kyle Defreece – In 2012, I went to a show in Des Moines, IA. Heather Van Hooser and Shannon Hensley were stalled across the aisle from us. I had just met Heather the previous weekend at a show in Carthage, MO, but had yet to meet Shannon. They both rode with Berryhill’s at the time. Somehow they forgot to bring ANY grooming supplies, and it was a colossal joke all weekend. “Hey, can we borrow some fly spray?… Can we borrow a tail brush?… and so on.” So, I eventually just gave them the combination to my tack room lock so that they were never without something they needed. We are all now friends and still laugh about it to this day.

Johne Dobbs – On my 30th bday, we were at a horse show in Springfield IL… it was the end of March, and it was cold. Our barn got a cake and a male stripper who was a little bitty guy with a bit of cowboy hat. My kids said, “Don’t you think he was cold?” Fortunately, it was pretty much rated PG in the stripping act.

Jan Shepherd Pittman – I had a perfect pattern in Showmanship. I was so proud, only to have Judge Rusty Green tell me, “Jan, that was great, but it was the wrong pattern.” We both laughed.






Joetta Bell – My funniest show moment was at the Redbud one year, and I was getting on Jeannie (the Queen), and my pants ripped…yep…they ripped. So, I showed her in the western riding…and I rode her back to the stall…for obvious reasons.




Claira Bingaman
– Funniest horse show memory would be when we were trying to get my English helmet on my head, and my trainer said, “How long have you had this?” And I replied, “It’s brand new, my mom bought it two years ago.”




Allison Hinson – My funniest horse show memory took place at the Palomino World Show in 2017. It was my first time attending the world show, and I was practicing showmanship. I had my spurs on, and as I went to trot off, tripped over them and face planted into the dirt. Now have in mind that this is in Tunica, MS, in the middle of July. I was covered in sweat, so the sand stuck all over me. The only person that saw was Steve Reams, and to this day, every time (and I mean every time) he introduces me to someone new, he tells them this story.

Kimberly Lloyd Wright – I showed a horse called Alvin (Stellar Deduction). He tended to squeal like a pig when loping off to the right too quickly.  One day, in a class at Westworld, I asked Alvin to canter, I must have jabbed him too fast, he squealed, kicked the wall, I yelled “Holy S***” and continued down the rail. As I came into the line-up, the class steward called out “Ride um cowgirl!” I was cracking up.

Teresa Sullivan
– Funniest horse show memory would have to be approximately 17-18 years ago at the APHA World Show when it was held in June in Fort Worth. Last day showing and we’re packing up, and the tack rooms were all cleaned up. I told all my youth that they need to make sure there was nothing left in this one tack stall. Well, they were dumb enough to fall for it, and they all went in and I locked the door and got the hose and took the hose to them for approx 2-3 minutes. Best laugh ever.

Ginger Baxter – Funniest memory was Peyton crashing into a puddle of manure while driving her small moped down a slippery hill in North Carolina at the Novice Championship show. She was wearing her showmanship outfit.



Do you have some funny moments you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.