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Games to play with your horse to change things up

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  • Games to play with your horse to change things up

    I am looking for some ideas. I have my horses on a very small piece of property and would like some ideas of things I could do with them other than riding that could keep them entertained for the winter. They get turned out in my little ring every day to play together. But I am trying to think of some fun things I could do just to interact with them other than grooming them feeding them and picking up their many many poop presents lol. I want it to be fun for them though....not work. So far their idea of fun is eating hay, eating hay and eating more hay. I do not eat hay so..........I am feeling a little left out of the party lol. I do not have a trailer, so I am really looking for something I could do in my little ring. Maybe some games??

  • #2
    If you have some other friends with horses you could always play tag. I'll admit I've played tag a few times, and it's quite addicting. You use a long dressage whip and you must touch another rider or another horse in order for them to be "it".

    Perhaps you can also buy some pool noodles/beach balls and work on desensitizing them by bouncing it all along their body.

    Comment


    • #3
      First you will have to explain the difference between work and play to your horse. Some people make play in to work and others the converse. Whatever you decide to call your activity, you will inevitably be teaching your horse. Be careful what he learns.
      ... _. ._ .._. .._

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
        First you will have to explain the difference between work and play to your horse. Some people make play in to work and others the converse. Whatever you decide to call your activity, you will inevitably be teaching your horse. Be careful what he learns.
        Agreed! I am looking for more skill building "games" that I could play with them....not things that will teach them to rear or chase people lol
        When I said not "work" I just meant not lunging in a circle. I was thinking maybe something I could do with cones??? Or poles or something. It could be mounted stuff too I guess. But maybe some fun stuff at the walk or things I could do bareback??

        Comment


        • #5
          On my horse's day off, I usually take time to teach her practical "tricks". So far she has learned:

          1) How to line herself up to the mounting block on command
          2) How to fetch objects and drop them either in my hand or in a bucket
          3) How to pick up an individual leg on command
          4) How to play soccer
          5) How to line herself up to one side of the stall or the other (making it easier to clean the stall)

          I'm now working on extended #2 above to being able to pick up whips that I have dropped on the ground and hand them to me while I'm in the saddle.

          Comment


          • #6
            Soccer is fun. Especially if you've got a brave/pushy horse. They can learn to push around a big 'police' ball pretty easily. Also, look into horse agility training. I know there's at least on book on it.

            http://www.amazon.com/The-Horse-Agil...e+agility+book


            http://www.thehorseagilityclub.com/y...great-britain/
            "Friend" me !

            http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

            Comment


            • #7
              I like to walk mine around and let them check things out. Is interesting what they like to inspect and mess with. Sometimes I can tell something has been on their mind because they make a beeline for it!
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              ---
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
                On my horse's day off, I usually take time to teach her practical "tricks". So far she has learned:

                1) How to line herself up to the mounting block on command
                2) How to fetch objects and drop them either in my hand or in a bucket
                3) How to pick up an individual leg on command
                4) How to play soccer
                5) How to line herself up to one side of the stall or the other (making it easier to clean the stall)

                I'm now working on extended #2 above to being able to pick up whips that I have dropped on the ground and hand them to me while I'm in the saddle.
                Wow! That is super impressive

                Comment


                • #9
                  @houdini: send me a PM if you'd like more detailed info on how to do any of the above. #2 and #4 are a multi-step process but are a lot of fun once the horse in confirmed in those things.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    we worked with them on trail obstacles... backing L patterns, ground tying, voice commands and the such

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's something to be said for just letting them hang out and be horses without constant stimulation. If they are in regular work and have one day off a week- let it be a true day off!

                      I leave mine be unless/until they show signs of 'needing' work. I don't feel a compelling need to entertain them. If they are showing signs of boredom or mischief due to insufficient work, then sure, some good ideas have already been posted, but personally I take care to not teach 'games' or 'tricks' that could run afoul of good behavior/good manners. I would not teach mine to 'fetch' things if that leads to 'swiping' (and chewing up) things like brushes, gloves, lead ropes, etc. I would for sure not play games like tag with a horse that tends to push the envelope on respecting space.

                      It's not dissimilar to training a puppy. You don't give a puppy an old shoe to chew on and then get after the puppy for chewing up your best shoes- he/she can't be expected to know the difference between shoes.

                      And don't underestimate the value of good old boring grooming. Maybe boring for us at times, but always a pleasure for the horse. On blizzardy days, if all I can do is put mine on crossties or hard tie them for an hour, outside their stall/run combos, and spend part of that time grooming them, that's good quality 'something different' time for them. Both of mine, the mare in particular, would happily stand All Day Long for grooming.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        @Beverly: While I understand your interest in not teaching what you feel are "tricks" or "games", there are many useful reasons to do so. Not every horse is going to turn a game or a trick into a negative.

                        Used wisely, horses can take things that others might view as a "trick" and turn it into something practical with the handler's help. Mine is learning how to build on "fetch", to pick up a whip that I've dropped on the ground so I don't have to dismount to get it. Very useful out in the field...and if my horse only does that on command instead of indiscriminantly, so much the better.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
                          On my horse's day off, I usually take time to teach her practical "tricks". So far she has learned:

                          1) How to line herself up to the mounting block on command
                          2) How to fetch objects and drop them either in my hand or in a bucket
                          3) How to pick up an individual leg on command
                          4) How to play soccer
                          5) How to line herself up to one side of the stall or the other (making it easier to clean the stall)

                          I'm now working on extended #2 above to being able to pick up whips that I have dropped on the ground and hand them to me while I'm in the saddle.
                          These sound like fun. My guys are vegging it so much due to weather (14 inches of snow so far) that I almost feel like we're de-connecting, if that makes sense. Then again, how to do anything with them in deep snow. Still could make for fun times in better weather.

                          Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                          Soccer is fun. Especially if you've got a brave/pushy horse. They can learn to push around a big 'police' ball pretty easily. Also, look into horse agility training. I know there's at least on book on it.

                          http://www.amazon.com/The-Horse-Agil...e+agility+book


                          http://www.thehorseagilityclub.com/y...great-britain/
                          My Sammy is a brave horse. After I first rescued him, I thought he might not have a full load in his wheelbarrow and have come to realize, nothing but nothing scares him. He doesn't spook but will jerk straight up with his head then go AT whatever is scaring him. He seems to think it through and advances on it, little by little, but he won't turn tail and run from it. The first ball I got for him, he killed it within a day. So, I need some sort of muthaofallhorseballs for him.
                          GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
                            @Beverly: While I understand your interest in not teaching what you feel are "tricks" or "games", there are many useful reasons to do so. Not every horse is going to turn a game or a trick into a negative.

                            Used wisely, horses can take things that others might view as a "trick" and turn it into something practical with the handler's help. Mine is learning how to build on "fetch", to pick up a whip that I've dropped on the ground so I don't have to dismount to get it. Very useful out in the field...and if my horse only does that on command instead of indiscriminantly, so much the better.

                            Snicklefritz: My post is not at all contradictory to what you have stated here, merely 1) cautionary (having seen horses taught to count who might then start 'randomly' counting when lined up in a class at a horse show, for example) and 2) what I do with my own horses, and why.

                            Your private message to me is a good bit over the top and uncalled for. My post was not directed at you, nor was it rude to you or anyone else. There were, when I posted, several who had posted 'what they do' and my post was not directed to you, or anyone else, just a general observation. You might have perceived that was the case, since I did not address you in my post, nor did I quote you or any other poster who listed 'what they do.' And in the holiday spirit to which you referred in your private message wrongly accusing me of being rude, might I suggest that you be a little less quick to take offense at posts that are not even directed at you!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @Beverly: See post #12.

                              @Goneriding: I started some of these other activities for similar reasons, namely to give me something fun to do with my horse when the weather was really bad.


                              Regarding horse toys, have you tried the dog sized jolly balls? Those are pretty sturdy. If you need something that rolls (ie without a handle) and isn't easy to destroy, there is a rolling feed dispensing ball that is tough and that I think would be hard to ruin. Another option might be to go to a Salvation Army store or a Goodwill and buy a cheap used soccer ball or basketball. For a few dollars you can't lose. I bought a lot of my stuff on sale from the grocery store when they were selling dog toys for $1. I found some big fat braided rope that is useful for teaching some of this stuff. Horse can't swallow it and if my horse destroys it, I'm not out much.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have use a big 'horse soccer' ball with my horse and tried for a while to get him to play with it on the ground which he's not too into, hah. He will, however, humor me by trotting after it and pushing it around when we're riding.

                                Grooming was also a good idea or getting one of those people massagers (like this. I also used a vibrating one to get him used to buzzing and vibration for clipping) and using that.

                                Most of the "games" I've played though have been mounted. Like going over trail obstacles and picking up things off barrels and carrying them around and then bringing them back and opening gates and that sort of thing.
                                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Carole Fletcher has a book of trick training - she trains all sorts of horses to do tricks: http://www.trickhorse.com/

                                  visit http://www.workingequitationusa.com/ and look at some of the "ease of handling" obstacles they use - easy to build, and all of them should be done using dressage principles. Many can be done in hand, as well.

                                  A friend taught her horse to line up against the fender of her trailer, so she can mount when she goes trailriding - without leaving a mounting block laying around while she is gone.

                                  L

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