Welcome to the real world of Mounted Drill Team!  The stories on this page have been submitted by teams from around the country and are true stories of their experiences riding drill.  Some may make you laugh out loud, bring a tear to your eye or even send a chill down your spine; they will all give you food for thought and a 'riders eye view' of this wonderful sport !

Submitted by Equestrian Ministries Drill Team of South Carolina

Our team went to the South Carolina's horseman's Council this past April. It was held in conjuncture with a Pet expo. All kind of animals. DOGS mostly! To say the least, I'm terrified of dogs, been bitten more than once!  So when I pulled up the first thing I see is dogs everywhere. NOT a good start! They were having some kind of dog races.

To give you a setting: Their arena was next to ours, and they put tarps over
their cages. And when the dogs start to race the people scream at them to "COME On", "Run, Run Run", all kind of things. Get the idea? Dog folks are a lot louder than horse folks! To top it off it was as windy as I've ever seen it! The tarps were flapping........and we're a flag team.

We had some members that had to drive down early the morning of the
performance. Since 3 were unable to make it. So they didn't get a chance to get accustom to all the noise or the animals, as there were camels in the same barn as us.  We also had been told that the arena would be 80 x 100. We had changed our music/ routine to this size. Well the arena was 100 x 150. Big difference.
We thought no big deal we'll just cut off 1/4 of the arena. We had only a few minutes to practice without music
Well right before we went in I decided to change the side we were cutting
off because of the dog races ( that were in full steam at this point) BAD idea! Our first rider starts toward the opposite end of the arena a Fire truck turns on his lights. YIKES! "Ms Fickles" starts to buck.  Just about the time everyone gets in the arena a mule wagon team comes and parks at the end to
watch. Well some of our horses started to spook at it. THEN I notice we're running
out of music. So I tell my partner to cut off one circle. She thinks I say go another one so we really get off. Everyone is starting to fan out.
So I say "GET BEHIND ME! " At one time I look behind me and I have part of
her team behind me.  Then I Say "Follow your leader" . Thinking we'll pull it back together. Then I stop in the wrong place because of the last minute change.  After several trips around the arena looking totally disarranged we pulled it together and ended on a go note.

Words of wisdom to future teams. Don't make last minute changes EVER! If there are dogs around run, run, run! Then run so more!!! If it's windy consider not using the flags, horses tend to remember months later. Ask fire trucks not to turn on their lights at the same time you start your drill and get all your horses accustom to wagons. If you give a morning devotion on "Attitude" you should have a good one even when things go a wire! And most Important, the biggie, if the camels break out the night before,( to breed
each other) things most likely aren't going to be good the next day......

Our team motto now is "Follow your leader!" ( some may say it's "Get behind me" ;o)

Wanda  Wood

I was on an older horse because my usual one was lame that day, and we have thin saddle pads. I was concentrating so hard on the drill and never noticed that my thin pad was working its way backward....I kept right on riding, and as I circled to exit, it came all the way out from under the saddle,  over the horses behind and onto the ground.  I never even knew it.
The crowd was entertained....I got all the way outside and then noticed I no longer had a saddle pad under my saddle.  The horse never did a thing as it flew out they said.

We were performing in Craig, Colorado couple years ago and on entering, one line went to the right and the other to the
left. I was on the left.  At the same time the fair managers decided to do
the greased pig contest in the track next to the arena. As we were turning toward the right side the pig contest had started and suddenly all the right side horse panicked and they all were headed for the middle of the arena. Our line only had the option to join them and see what was the deal.
Our drill master (who also rides) said there is nothing we can do to save
this and we left the arena, red faced and confused.
Our announcer covered for us and said we were not there to do our own rodeo
and said we would start over when the pig contest was over. We did and it went pretty well. Then this past year (I was not there) the horses remembered the scary thing last year
and were a little spooky and from what they said the drill went off badly from start to finish.
Guess there was a llama in a trailer next to the fence.  We probably won't get invited to perform there next year.


Well, one year we decided to go and spy on a practice held by another team to see what they were doing for the championship. We meet at there arena and parked out down the road. Here we were 8 girls in black attire just like mission impossible. We snuck out into the pasture on our hands and knees trying so hard not to laugh. We watched their practice from about 50 yards out in this pasture,  the horses sensed that we were there. Some kinda spooked alittle so we decided to sneak back out. We went into shifts but the funny thing was when we got to our cars, there was a police officer shining
his flash light into our cars. He turned his light on us and here was 8
women dressed in black with mouths wide open. What are you ladies doing out here? Just watching the drill team practice. Well this happened about 3 years ago and just recently told that team what we had done. we all laughed about it, but we have never spied on a team since. We learned our lesson, can you
picture us calling our husbands to bail us out of JAIL!!!
Riding on drill is NEVER a DULL moment

We have had some 'interesting' experiences performing in different arenas.  If we had to enter from the center, we would have to go to the usual place that we start in our rectangular practice arena and then start the routine from there.
Our routine includes a Chevy Blazer - we escort the Blazer in via wedge formation (to demonstrate how to move a vehicle through a crowd) and so we need to get it (and us) lined up before we start our routine (and the Blazer goes in and turns around while we are doing the first patterns around the arena).
One of our 'interesting' experiences was where the announcers booth was at the opposite end from where it is in our practice arena.  You wouldn't think that would make any difference since our performance is pretty much centered around the Blazer.  But.... somehow we all looked up near the end of the routine when we were getting in wedge formation to escort the Blazer out and we were looking at the HEADLIGHTS instead of the TAILLIGHTS!!!!   We very quickly decided that we would just go up, make
a U-turn to form the wedge so it would look okay.  But then, one of our leaders got turned around AGAIN and we were on a free-for-all trying to get back together just to get out of the arena!!!!  That is the worst performance we have done and the leader has since resigned.  We have had many laughs about it, but we were also very embarrassed.

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