You know what’s scarier to greenie event horse than a ditch? Nothing. Not even trainer/rider/Olympian Boyd Martin.
To help rider Jill keep her horse from running out at the ditch, Martin does what a lot of trainers do. He stood next to the ditch so that the horse, a young mare named Zoe, wouldn’t be able to avoid it without running into him. In general, horses prefer not to run into humans, so this is usually a safe method to help a horse learn that going over the obstacle in front of him isn’t really that bad. But this horse? She’s no dummy. Boyd Martin might be a formidable trainer, but at least he’s not a pit filled with monsters. Zoe chose the safer route.
So the horse avoids the monsters and crashes into Martin. It could have been a disaster, and at first it looks pretty bad, but then Martin immediately starts laughing and gets back to his feet. And then he gets back to work, directing Jill and Zoe to approach the ditch again. And they do. And they clear it. And hopefully someone had a spare asprin for Martin.
Thanks to JETeventing for sharing the video of this moment, and to everyone involved for being a good sport. And thanks to Zoe for reminding us that no matter how many hours you spend in the barn or in the saddle, horses are always going to find new ways to keep you on your toes. Stay safe out there.
If your horse has some cross-country issues, check out this article for Boyd Martin’s advice on ditches, banks and water.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com