May. 10, 2010, 02:28 PM
I am organizing a bi-weekly "Ladies Night" at our barn for all of my student's mothers, the barn owner, the barn manager, and any other middle aged type lady who would enjoy some laid back lessons and horsey fun.

The plan is to have some mounted fun, followed by wine, cheese, and snacks. What I'm stuck on is some ideas for the "mounted" part. These ladies skill level ranges from never ridden, to walk/trot, to years of trail riding but never riding english. I myself am a hunter/jumper/Equitation coach who coaches mostly "A" and "B" circuit young riders.

I'm looking for some ideas for fun games, and activities that ladies might enjoy. Exercises that are beneficial without being to challenging, and some other fun ideas. These ladies have all expressed that they don't want to be challenged TO much, just want to have some fun and learn a little...

Any ideas?

May. 10, 2010, 04:11 PM
A follow the leader type exercise where one person leads in a walk or trot - depends on your group - then first person stops and second person becomes leader and first person goes to the end of the line. They can work on turning, going around jumps, walking over poles, etc. Depending on the skill level you can make it as challenging as you want.
Maybe if they get that accomplished have first and third person be a pair, seond and fourth, etc. and they do the exercises as a pair.
Or they have a partner and have to stay exactly half a ring apart - could be challenging depending on the horses.
Or you could have two groups riding in mirror image like a drill team. Call it something special for them and if the continue get more and more advanced in their drills.
Sounds like fun.

May. 10, 2010, 04:17 PM
Ooh I'm jealous! Sounds like a lot of fun! :)

May. 10, 2010, 04:27 PM
Try some Centered Riding/Connected Riding techniques -- They can work well with riders of all levels --

Ground poles -- Set up exercises that can be done at the w/t/c and let the ladies choose the gait they're comfortable with -- Work on adjustability by challenging them to add or leave out strides -- Adjustability exercises can progress from 2 poles on a straight line, to 3 poles (i.e., set 3-to-3, and ridden 3-to-4 or 4-to-3) to 2 or 4 poles on a circle, etc --

back through a dog's leg -- lateral work -- trail riding lessons -- w/t quadrille --

May. 10, 2010, 04:38 PM
For "serious" stuff I definitely think lateral work. It doesn't have to be super fancy, but getting someone who has never done it before to learn how to use their body to get their horse to move sideways can be such a huge lightbulb moment.

If it's toasty out, anything involving holding liquid in a cup and trying not to spill can help with learning to keep hands still. Perhaps start off with amount of water left = amount of wine to start off, first pick of random desserts/cheese/whatever to make it more adult.

Discipline rail and simon says are always great for learning to have a horse attentive and ready for your cues, whatever you ask for.

This sounds like a great idea - have fun!

May. 10, 2010, 06:09 PM
Set up a trail course, with a gate, a bridge, poles to walk over/trot over/canter over (depending on their level of riding), sidepass pole, mailbox, rain slicker to carry, cones to back around, etc. I rode in an eventing barn in California and after every lesson we went out to the trail course to let our horses think about life in a different way. It was a blast.

May. 10, 2010, 06:18 PM
it's so funny that you are doing this, because we have been talking about this in our barn too!

May. 10, 2010, 08:18 PM
Can you incorpoate a smattering of what their kids are doing, on a much more elementary level of course. Things like no stirrup work at a walk, and if the kids are showing in classes with eq tests, have the course be all poles, but tell the moms to do fences 4, 7, 5 and 2 (or whatever course you make up.) To make it more interesting, have a different course for each person, so they can't copy the person in front of them. If some of them can canter, have that person canter a line of poles on the ground, and have the others count strides. Whatever you do, it should be loads of fun!

May. 10, 2010, 08:31 PM
I have an idea. Let them lead it, or at least give suggestions. Maybe break them into groups (each group with multiple different levels in it) and have each group either run a lesson or give you a theme that you can work with.

If not, the most fun I had in a lesson was when we got to make our own course, like pony4me suggested. Had square oxers, verticals, crossrails etc set with ground poles on either side, everyone had to make up their own course, then I think we switched to someone else's. You could also do it with poles or trail obstacles. Do a bareback lesson every few weeks, more advanced riders can do more regular lesson stuff, less advanced can do exercises to improve balance. We've done them at my barn-alternate holding one leg off the horse, pull your knees up to the withers or behind you, "bicycle legs" where you alternate picking your knees up high, dollar bareback contest. And no matter the format, horse switches!

May. 11, 2010, 12:32 AM
When I was younger, worked with a trainer that often did a hunter pass exercise. Group in single file line( on horses) on the rail, starting at walk. Then person at rear of line moves out and passes on the inside at a walk. This continues until everyone can do this without an issue. Then continue walking and rear horse moves over and trots past till in front. Continue on up as skill levels allow-trotting with extended trot past etc. Obstacle exercises are fun and allow not so skilled riders to learn how to do basic steering and control of their horse. Another thing past trainer did was "rides". She would tell you a ride course, like walk to gate, halt, back three steps, trot to green jump, etc. Sort of like a dressage test, but also helps with basic steering/ control. Sounds like a fun lesson night.

May. 11, 2010, 02:10 AM
Thanks everyone!!! Keep the ideas coming!