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Need Ideas for mounted games for teeny child riders

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  • Need Ideas for mounted games for teeny child riders

    My little riding program is having its's first Pony Day next Sunday. I have eight girls coming ranging in ages from five to thirteen. I also have two saintly ponies. I need non competitive ideas for a few fun games appropriate to the rider's ages and skills. I want every one to have fun, and no one to feel like they were not "good enough". This is the first time that all of the program's kids and moms will meet so it's really a socially focused day to start some relationships between the children.
    My current plans are:
    *One Plus hour of simple mounted games
    *One hour of pony bath time (plus braid manes with ribbons)
    * One hour of snack time and name pony parts while ponies dry
    Then: Portraits with the clean and dry ponies (one of the moms is a photographer)

    I plan on the older girls doing an egg and spoon game moving eggs from one basket on top of a barrel to another, but could use more ideas. Walking will be fine as long as its a little challenging. Only one girl is advanced enough to do bareback or trotting independently.

    What i really need help with is the teeny girls:
    All of the five year olds can do around the worlds, some while walking. Some of them can trot while holding on to the pommel, some are wild things and can trot while doing creative things with their limbs. Some can steer at a walk, some are just getting the idea of steering.
    What can I do with these guys that's a little "different" than what we do I lessons? (we do lots of fun seat developing gymnastics on the lead line and lounge line)

    So: ideas?????
    Last edited by arlosmine; Mar. 16, 2013, 10:33 PM.

  • #2
    Sounds delightful!

    You could do cup of water (I don't know a name for it) traditionally a game on the rail, you could change it up a little to make it like a relay. Fill Solo or other cups to a certain line and have the girls ride a pattern or hand the cups off to each other. Object is to keep the water in the cup of course.

    Toilet paper 'race'. Two ponies, two girls, one (long) piece of toilet paper between them. Have them do bending poles - at a walk - holding the paper between them without breaking the toilet paper. Or barrels, or just walk down turn around and come back if that's what they can handle. If you need a 'winner' whoever goes the farthest wins.

    Kids usually like spear 'races' too, if you can figure out how to rig them up. We use a crop as the spear, and pool rings as the targets. Cut out a piece of cardboard and tape it onto the crop to form block to prevent the rings from going down the kids hands and up their arms. Then if you can get the rings to hang form jump standards or off the sides of the arena OR stand on top of them (this is the trickiest part, depending on what you have) the kids go around and 'spear' them.

    With the teeny ones, can someone just help out by leading the ponies?


    • Original Poster

      YAY!!!! Thank you, this is what I needed! I looove the T.P. race! More ideas please! And yes, I have some horse savy moms who can lead the ponies for the five year olds...


      • #4
        I agree, the TP race sounds awesome! I'm an adult and I'd love to try that one myself.


        • #5
          Going to a fun show myself tomorrow! We have some interesting games for the lesser skilled riders at the farm.

          One is a turtle race. The riders "race" from a start to a finish line keeping their horses at a walk in a straight line (not allowed to break gait) and the last one to cross the finish line wins.

          We also have a "bribe your horse" where you lead your horse through any means other than touching (generally treat bribes) through a course. those who do the most obstacles/complete in the fastest time wins.

          Red light/green light even at a walk is fun. And there is a "pick up" race where we go to each spot and "grab" items and then cross a finish line. To make it easier/harder make the items within reach so they only have to get the pony "close" to the item.

          Can do a mounted "simon says" as well.
          Telling a worrier to relax is counterproductive. Then we worry about relaxing.


          • #6
            Walking games:
            - Red light/green light
            - Egg and spoon (with two-point, moving other parts of the body, etc)
            - Simon Says
            - Obstacle course- include a halt, some easy turns and maybe walking over a pole
            - Around the World races (at walk or halt)

            Maybe you can pair some of the older girls with the wee ones to help lead the ponies while they play. I really like games that involve teamwork, like passing off objects to each other. Since you are limited to two ponies, maybe make little teams- child one bobs for an apple and passes it to child two (mounted) who rides to a bucket and drops it in. For the older girls, you can combine a bunch of these for a fun obstacle course (ride to the barrel, pick up a ball, ride over to the bucket and drop it in, ride in an S shape, do around the world, walk over a pole, etc). You can also do carrot races and other things that can be done without any riding.


            • #7
              Mom's v. Kids...

              Pin the Pony

              2 sets of post-it notes. Write one word on each post-it from the following list: Poll, muzzle, forearm, cannon bone, pastern, fetlock, withers, croup, stifle, elbow, coronet band, hock, gaskin, dock, etc...

              To Play: break people up into 2 teams (for a lot of laughs try Moms v Kids). Give each team astack of post-it notes to put on the horse. They have to work in teams to put the post-its in the correct place on the horse.

              Variations... Set a time limit (fastest& most correct win)
              Add in parts of the saddle, bridle, brushes, etc...


              • #8
                Flag Race - Put a bucket with little flags in it at one end of the arena (set up on a barrel so it can be reached from horseback). Put an empty bucket at the other end (also set up within reach). Walk or trot down, pick up a flag, walk or trot back and put the flag in the empty bucket.
                "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                that's even remotely true."

                Homer Simpson


                • #9
                  Ride-a-buck: place a one dollar bill between calf and horse, riders asked to walk trot reverse etc.-- increasing difficulty until only one rider still has her buck in place (winner rider wins all bucks)

                  Costume race (make sure equines have been fully tested with all costume items!!!): Rider will "dress" his/her mom/friend/helper standing at the other side of the arena. Set up barrels along one side of arena, with a basket full of funny wigs, hats, giant sunglasses, hula skirts, loud ties, Santa hats, etc. Look at the cheapo halloween websites and raid the nearest Goodwill store for ideas. Rider must pick one costume item from their basket, carry it down to their partner who has to put it on. It can be a judged class-- who has the silliest-looking partner? Or an objective goal, like who can make most # of trips across the arena in 3 minutes, etc.

                  Musical poles/cones -- riders walk and trot on the rail while music plays, then when it stops they race to the nearest cone (and of course there's one less cone per horse). Remove one cone as each rider is retried

                  One really important thing we learned the hard way: for a fun show with beginners, focus on GROUP classes and a quick-moving pace. Lots of individual stuff (like riding a trail pattern one at a time) is mind-numbing for beginners and their families.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                    One really important thing we learned the hard way: for a fun show with beginners, focus on GROUP classes and a quick-moving pace. Lots of individual stuff (like riding a trail pattern one at a time) is mind-numbing for beginners and their families.
                    ^^ This ^^
                    Whatever you do, since you've only got two ponies to work with, modify the games to make them into relays or shorten the time each kid rides so the next kid can get on. If you'll only be doing an hour mounted you will be surprised how FEW games you will actually accomplish, which is fine! As long as they have fun!

                    I love the Simon Says idea for the little ones! I think we will do that on our next games day too.

                    IF the little ones know their letters and how to spell and steer (you suggested they might not) you can do 'secret word'. Give them a word to spell, they go out and "spell" it by riding the word in the ring. The other kids try to guess the word they are spelling. You can make the rules the first one to guess the word gets to ride the next word, or just have an order of go. Stick to short 3-letter words. Have an 'order of go' in case no one guesses it. Have some adult on the side who knows the word 'coaching' if the kids have trouble ("hmmmm... she's making a big loop, looks kind of like a what, a P? or wait, now she's making another loop, maybe not a P" and then a kid will say "A B!") But I like that one because that keeps everyone 100% involved.


                    • Original Poster

                      Oh I LOVE the spelling game! We could start this time with one letter at a time, then switch kids. (the really little ones could have their helper assist in guiding the pony)
                      This is also giving me GREAT ideas for the lessons, we can practice some of the games this week so every one understands them for the party.
                      THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, COTHers!!!!


                      • #12
                        Simon says
                        Red Light Green Light
                        A VERY simple obstacle course
                        "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                        • #13
                          I once did a version of "catch the brass ring" with a class
                          of beginners. I stood on a ladder and held Tootsie Rolls
                          out as each rider passed. They had to reach out and grab
                          the candy (which I did admonish them not to eat until
                          dismounted). Vary difficulty by holding higher or further
                          depending on skill of rider.
                          Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                          Elmwood, Wisconsin