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This is a discussion on Games! within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    10-30-2011, 02:18 PM

So being with my new riding coach has already taught me a ton, and she said she's realized that I almost never smile when I ride, I'm too focused on the work at hand and when I'm done I just untack brush and leave.

She told me my old coach was trying to move me up into the higher group's level of riding so much that she never really let me have fun with Des, or give her a break when she did something right.

Sooooo! Since my lessons are half the price and twice as long as they used to be I'm taking two a week, she designated one as flat/jumping/work whatever and the other as barels/vaulting/games fun type rides.

The problem is, we have no idea what to play! We're going to play tag today and maybe put the vaulting surcingle on Des after she's all crazied-out and try that but other than that all we've come up with is to try polo, barrels/poles/gymkhana in general and that's about it.

Any ideas what we could do? There's only the two of us on our horses, and we have a huge arena with almost any equipment you could imagine in it, so give us your game ideas!

Thanks in advance!
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    11-01-2011, 05:26 PM
Play!! Horseback riding should be FUN, not just work! If you think it's all business, what does your horse think??
Do a boot race. Each take off 1 boot & leave it at one end of the arena. Ride to the far end. On "go", run (ride) horses down to boots, jump off, grab your boot, put it on, get back on & race back.
Set up a trail/obstacle course. Set up barrels, cones, poles in a pattern & walk, trot, lope, back through them.
Practice unlatching, opening, walking through, closing & latching a gate while mounted.
If your horses are safe enough, do marco polo, chasing each other with eyes shut.
Place a barrel at the far end of the arena. Set something on top of a barrel (a cone or something). Race down, retrieve it, race back.
Set up the barrel pattern (cloverleaf). Get a pair of pantyhose, a jacket or whatever & each of you hold an end of it & ride the barrel pattern together, each on your own horse.
Practice bareback riding.
Magazine race/game: hold a magazine under your arm (like with your arm pressed against your body while riding bareback. Walk, trot, lope, back. Hold the magazine as long as you can WITHOUT touching it with a hand. The last one still holding the magazine wins.
Learn how to properly show at halter.
Can you go on a trail ride or ride in an area where you normally don't?
Broom Race-- run down to other end of arena, dismount, someone holds your horse, place forehead on broom, turn 3 circles as fast as you can, then attempt to lead your horse back to the finish line.
Practice using only voice commands to get "walk", "trot", "back", "stop".
Drop your reins & only control speed. Let your horse choose direction.
Braid your horse's mane & tail.
Do you know all parts of a horse? Write different parts on paper, attach a piece of tape to the back & label your horse!
Work on desensitizing: plastic bag on the end of a stick, tarps on the ground,
Have your horse walk over a "bridge" (a very sturdy pallet with slats very close together)--do this unmounted & mounted, flapping raincoats, etc. Get one of those huge exercise balls & bounce it around the horse. See if you can dribble it while mounted.

Please learn to enjoy yourself!! Horses should be a release, not all work & business. Learning can be fun! And remember to give your horse lots of praise & release when she does something right! She earns it.
    11-01-2011, 05:52 PM
Thanks so much for the suggestions, I'm going to have so much to try now
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    11-01-2011, 06:14 PM
You're welcome. And you might want to write some down on an index card or something to keep in your pocket, rather than try to remember them once you're at the barn.

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