Teaching nervous 12y/o to ride
I've got all the basics worked out. All I need is different ideas on games and confidence building excersizes.
We use to play "trot in the sun, walk in the shade" pretty self explanatory, "Round the world" at the end of the lesson, she would hold the horse (calm lesson horse) and we would go around the saddle. How can I explain? Sitting straight, right leg over, sitting in saddle sideways, left leg over rump sitting backwards, right leg over rump sitting opposite sideways, left leg over front sitting straight.
"Walk races", "Slowest trot races" "Stopping on a mark" "Simon says"... I may think of more.
Polo. (well, swinging a mallet about at a ball anyway)
Find out what his favourite sport/hobby/interest is and build a game around that.
Edited to say - sorry! Don't know why I assumed it was a boy! If girl:
Follow my leader round course of poles on the ground
Netball/Volleyball on horseback
Red light, green light
Walk/trot with water cups
Egg in spoon races
Simple patterns like poles and barrels
You should google games on horseback or something
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Well, I can't do a whole lot of racing, as it will be just me and him. If we do well, I might start actually teaching, but for now, I'm doing this for a friend. I do know about "Around the World." I used to do it before rides next to jumps, since having jumps in an arena scared me when I was younger.
Thank you all for these great ideas though. I'll probably use them later on with my sisters, even if I don't teach.
Especially with a nervous little guy, after warmups and one or two activities you select, ask him to suggest what he wants to do next. That gives him a sense of control over the process- and for the future, it will help you know what to go back to if you need something to help him rebuild confidence, especially after something a little "scarier." I would do this every lesson, even as he progresses.
All the suggestions you've gotten for games are good. I would also add one of those little nerf basketball hoops that stands 3-4 feet off the ground (obviously desensitize your horse to the hoop and the ball being thrown first :-))- you can use it to practice steering and halting (position the horse so you're shooting at the basket from the right vs. left, halt, and shoot) as well as balance (stand up in your stirrups and shoot; you throw the ball to him, he catches, then shoots; shoot with just your right hand/left hand, etc.). Also good for stretching (roll the ball up the horse's neck to his ears; roll it back across his bum to his tail).
You lead the horse and the kid touches their head, reaches up for the sky, infront, each for the horse's ears, reach for their tail, touch their toes, hands on hips, hands on ears, airplane arms, etc.
Then put them on the lunge line and have them do everything (touch toes is the hardest.. so maybe at a walk only)
Doing that gave our clients huge confidence. (I worked with autistic children, teenagers, even adults including my mom.)
Obstacle courses where they stop in the box (poles made into a square) go around the barrel, weave the cones, etc. be creative.
How much support and trust and encouragement YOU bring to the table affects their confidence too. The more light heart-ed you are, the easier it is for them to relax.
Agree with shooting hoops, holding a ball while you lead, riding with knees meeting at the pommel (tougher with a horn.. so maybe bareback) while you lead. Red light green light games are always fun.
The more fun they have, also, the less they worry. It's ALL about the focus! Works for humans, works for horses :wink:
Right now, I have plans to use a mule for his riding lessons. For now I've got time to figure out what to do because I'm teaching him basic horse knowledge first, using calm, people-loving Butterscotch as my ground-tool so he can learn to feel comfortable around horses without having to worry about being kicked, bit, or chased.
All of these are wonderful ideas, and after I get Scotch worked back into good behavior, we'll be able to play some of these games together.
Luckily, I got a good sign from him yesterday. At first he wasn't into learning at all because it reminded him of lame school work. Next thing I know, as I'm teaching him about blind spots and how to approach a new horse, he's excited to learn more. When we started he was leaning and stretching to touch the horse.
At the end, we managed to get him to approach the should, put his hand on the shoulder, and stand straight rather than leaning and stretching. I'm excited guys. I hope he's riding comfortably by the end of this summer. :)
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