Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.
How to Get Your Students Excited About Lessons
Using games in your lessons from time to time is something your students can get excited about. You can even reward them after a hard lesson with a games lesson the following week. It will give them something to look forward to in their lessons that is different. They will get excited about it and tell their parents about how fun the lesson was. It will be good for business, too.
Any Level Rider Can Play
The other good thing about mounted games is that you can modify them for all different levels of riders. Riders at different levels can even play mounted games without it being unfair. For example, if you are doing an egg on a spoon relay race, your advanced students will try and go faster and drop their eggs sooner. The newer riders will be going slower, which gives them a better chance of keeping their egg on the spoon!
4 Fun Mounted Game Ideas
1. Musical Cones
You can play musical cones in lessons. This is good practice for steering and controlling your horse's speed. Play just like musical chairs:
- Spread out your cones a safe distance from each other.
- Riders have to ride the rail until the music stops.
- When it stops, everyone has to try to get to a cone.
- Each round you take out a cone until there are only two.
- The first person to get to that last one left is the winner.
2. Water Relays
Water relays are fun too:
- Give your students cups and each team has a water bucket.
- Set up on a barrel so they can reach it easily.
- Each rider will dip their cup in the bucket and then make their way to the other end of the ring where there is an empty bucket.
- Have them pour their water out and head back to their teammates; then the next rider can go.
There can be two winners really. The first is the first team to send all their riders through the relay. The second winner is the team that has the most water in their bucket at the end of the game.
3. Mount and Dismount Games
If you have older students who are able to mount and dismount on their own, you can play games that require that; it is good practice for them to get on and off their horses:
- Have them put on a goofy costume.
- Then, once they get the costume on they remount, they ride to the other end of the ring.
- The teammate will wait for them to jump off and give them the costume to put on.
- The teammate will hop on and ride back to the next rider waiting for the costume.
The first team to get all riders to the other end is the winner.
4. Bareback on a Buck
Bareback on a buck is another fun one:
- Put your riders on bareback.
- Put a piece of paper or dollar bill under their thigh.
- Have them ride and obey the commands you call out without losing their dollar.
The last rider to still have their dollar is the winner.
The End Goal: Have Fun and Learn at the Same Time
We all know our students need to learn important technical stuff about riding. Proper position, aids, etc. . . . that doesn't mean that they have to learn it while going around in circles every week! Mounted games are a way students can improve their skills and have a blast at the same time.
Mounted Games Competition
We are planning a mounted games competition on our farm this summer. During this competition, two teams will practice once a week for five weeks and then compete in a "team mounted games" competition.
Planning a whole event is a big task. Maybe you don't have enough students or enough time to plan something like that, but you can still use mounted games in your lessons.