11 Reasons Why I Forgot My Course


I recently competed in a show, and after I had proudly proclaimed to my friends that I’d never forgotten my course at a show, I forgot my course.

Why? We took a turn tighter than I had planned and actually made that jump. We didn’t knock a rail! I was so surprised at our success that I forgot where I was going, went over the wrong line and was promptly buzzed out of the ring.

I know why I forgot my course that time. I stand by my excuse. But I’ve forgotten many other times in lessons as well. And despite my honest efforts and strong academic performance in college, it keeps happening. I keep forgetting my course.

Maybe I need to do more mind exercises – like crossword puzzles.

As my friend told me in response to my Facebook post detailing my excitement and anticipation before a weekend show, “Stay on my horse and stay on course.”

Here are some of the reasons why I forgot my course.

  1. I was distracted by the flowers at jump 6.
  2. Forgot My Course
  3. I was distracted by the thought of my horse spooking and refusing jump 6 – because of the flowers.
  4. Forgot My Course
  5. I heard a dog bark.
  6. Forgot My Course
  7. Mid-course I remembered the next course I’m doing – not this one.
  8. Forgot My Course
  9. I literally blacked out and had no idea where to go next. Even if someone yelled out a fence color, I was a lost cause. I just picked a distance to the fence next to me and knew I blew it.
  10. Forgot My Course
  11. My horse was fighting me the entire class. I thought I needed to do a hard rollback to the left. But if I was wrong, my horse would have been mad and we’d have had an ugly fence. We nicely cantered through the line. Off course? Yes. Happy horse? Yes. Happy trainer? Not as much.
  12. Forgot My Course
  13. They announced the winners of a class in the other ring. And I heard a ‘7’ … wait … which one was jump 7?
  14. Forgot My Course
  15. I had a good distance to the first fence, and a great distance to the second. Then I had an option to approach fence 3 from a tighter angle. Yes! Solid fence. Wait … where was jump 4?
  16. Forgot My Course
  17. I heard thunder. I was distracted. My horse seemed fine. I went off course. The worst part? I had no idea what I thought I heard, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for as far as the eye can see.
  18. Forgot My Course
  19. Jump 5 was going toward the judge’s stand. Jump 8 was the same jump but away from the judges stand … right?
  20. Forgot My Course
  21. What was the jump off again? Oh … I just did that in the first part of the class?
  22. Forgot My Course

Have you ever forgotten a fence? Or maybe forgotten a transition in a horsemanship pattern? Why? Maybe we can solve our dilemma together!

Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter: @allisongriest.



  1. I have reason number twelve! this particularly involves youths, but can apply to adults!
    12: You are coming to a tough jump, and if the course isn’t already tricky enough, you see that one family member or friend in the stands smiling, waving, and cheering you on; right in the corner of your eye and then… BOOM!!! you lose all focus, you get confused and nervous, then you confuse your hose by frantically pulling the reigns side to side, finally, after the jump you slow down, whip your head back and forth, and then feel embarrassed because you’ve been disqualified. It’s a crazy turn of events that all happen within about five seconds, and all of that just because someone waved and smiled at you! First you feel embarrassed and ashamed, then a bit angry, and finally you’ll end up smiling and at yourself! Those emotions can go by fast or they can take a really really long time depending on how badly you messed up! 🙂

  2. Pleeeease get rid of the obnoxious gif trend!! I avoid Buzzfeed articles for this exact reason and now they’re here, too! If you’re going to use images at least use ones that make sense, not spur-of-the-moment cat pictures.


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