Any other Instructors or Riders out there with cool lesson exercises?
First of all, Hello! I've been a riding instructor for beginners, mostly young riders 5-12 or adults just starting out, since november of last year and love it. I work in a riding school with a few other instructors and while we've all shared our ideas for fun lessons, I'd love to talk to other instructors or riders with ideas for lessons.
My challenge is coming up with ways to get some of the younger riders to work on fundamentals without boring them. Kids can be so picky! They're all great with
We play games like "Boot in the Bucket" which requires riders to retrieve a bell boot from the arena rail and take it to a bucket in the middle of the arena. It's a great tool for steering, looking where you're going and making your horse/pony stop to deal with the boot. I even upgrade riders to playing this game at the trot. I also like to do work on the lunge line either with or without reins to work on balance and small obstacle courses, the kids seem to love this but doing anything every week can get boring I'm sure.
Keeping in mind that I teach no more then two at a time usually and the riders are 6-12, what are some creative things you guys have seen done in lessons? Obviously the older riders aren't fans of boot in the bucket and simon says anymore haha, so we work on other things like horsemanship patterns and breaking down gaits and such but any ideas for those riders as well would be great!
We play a fun game at our barn for beginners called the Alphabet game. It is where the riders uses their horse like a pen and actually spell out letters of the alphabet to form words. It really lets the student be creative, work on steering, stops and overall control of the horse. It can be played with multiple players where they come up with a word to spell and take turns spelling a letter, the instructor and parents try to guess what word they are spelling. We usually have them tell us when they are starting and stopping. We usually use all capital letters for this game since it makes it easier for the student.
Another game that we play is called Onesies. For this game you need to get a big foam die or just number cards 1 thru 6. Each card has a different task.
Onesies: The student rides with one hand.
Twosies: The student rides with 1 hand and 1
Threesies: The student rides with 1 hand and no
Foursies: The student rides with 1 hand, no
stirrups, and other hand behind her back.
Fivesies: The student rides with no hands and no
Sixies: Student makes up her own stunt.
The winner is the person who can complete all 6 stunts with the best style. This game really helps kids build up confidence and works on their balance.
Thanks sweet whispers!
The letter game sounds great and like a fun way to get parents involved when they stay to watch (total side note, from day one, most of the parents of my students don't hang out to watch...considering their kid is so young, you'd think they'd be even a little worried about possible safety? No sliver of interest? That's another topic for another time however) and does sound like a very good way to nail down some steering. I will for sure borrow onesies from you too, I'm already brainstorming other actions to add to it!
On thing my instructor had us do was play musical boxes. What she would do is make boxes out of the poles for the jumps and sing a random song while the students are riding on the outside of the ring. (not outside outside, just on the rail) (songs like happy birthday, jingle bells, rouldolph the red nose reigndeer, simple songs everyone knows and how you sound doesn't matter.) then she would stop singing and we would try get to the boxes first. Each round a box was taken. Each time someone got out and they helped choose a song and sing. We were allowed to go any speed slower then a slow canter, but all of us were between 9-12 and were at same riding level.
Fake shows are always fun since little kids LOVE to get a ribbon. (at least kids like I was) and the person who listens best, best form, best steering, etc "win".
As we got older we would do serpinteens (Going from the rail on one side to the other side in a straight line) and circles and figure eights, so maybe with younger kids you could have them them "draw" a shape with their horses hoof prints as they ride.
For games at camp we would play egg and spoon
Bob for apples. (get on ride to bin get off get apple get back on ride back to team. The little girls loved it but they do need alot of assistance getting on and off.) we always let the horses bob for the apples to, which the girls thought was funny/cute.
I'm trying to think of more games we played, I'll have to look at my photo album.
Oh! And red light green light! How could I forget that one?
Musical chairs sounds fun but my lessons are really no more then two at a time and that makes the game go really fast haha. You guys never had collisions? I've never played on horseback, I'm only imagining here.
We play red light green light too, I forgot like you almost did! It's a great game to practice stopping and really working on being light on the reins while stopping.
Great ideas everyone! I think I will use the letter game with my little ones tonight!
My youngest students LOVE to play "Mummify your instructor" I give them a roll of toilet paper and stand holding the end. The goal is to wrap me up without breaking the tp. It's great for teaching control and making perfect circles.
Egg & Spoon is always good. I use colored golf balls (easier to find and no mess!)
Pool noodle jousting - I have hula hoops tacked on the sides of old jump standards and the goal is to ride past and put your noodle through the hoop.
Water gun cowboy mounted shooting - disposable aluminum pie tins tacked on standards or fence posts.
Water race - 2 barrels, 2-5 gallon buckets, one full, one empty. See how much water they can transfer via cup within an allotted time.
Ride a buck - bareback tuck a dollar bill under their thigh. Rider who lasts the longest without losing their buck keeps it.
Alright, as silly as I will feel being "mummified" I think I will definitely have to steal that one! I've been trying to work on even circles with the younger ones and just haven't found a FUN way (who knew figure 8's could get boring haha). Thanks MH! You're ideas all sound like so much fun!
We do lots of little things like riding bareback for a bit, riding backwards, walking the property, going "around the world" in the saddle, and even riding through the sprinklers on hot days as fun ways to end our lessons. It'll be nice to have a new game to introduce every week for the next month or two though!
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