Fun Activities To Do With Your Horse

Fun Activities To Do With Your Horse – When finances are a factor – let’s face it, isn’t it always the case? – Everything we do with our horses needs to be wallet friendly.

With that in mind, we’ve brainstormed a bunch of entertaining pursuits that pack a punch without breaking the bank. They emphasize positive interaction with your horse, connecting with like-minded friends, and in many cases excellent learning opportunities.

Fun Activities To Do With Your Horse

You, too, will smile when you try some of our low-cost activities, including playing and learning with your horse and your riding buddies.

Fun Activities To Do With Your Horse

Try this: You’ve heard of “play dates” for kids; this would be a “riding date” with one or more of your own horse-loving friends. Let them drag over to share your arena or other ride space for fun rides and conversations.

Think about it: where your friends will park their trailers; liability issues. (For any event where you invite friends and their horses to your place, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure your coverage is current and adequate.

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Benefits: Gets your horse used to being around other horses; informal learning by watching other people ride and work with their mounts.

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Variation: Make it an informal game day with one of you judging (or taking turns). Alternatively, pool your resources to hire a local trainer for an hour or so to judge and provide impromptu feedback.

Try this: Plan a horse makeover extravaganza where friends and their horses get together to help each other with bathing, trimming, mane pulling, grooming and tail grooming, and other “grooming” chores. Those with long-haired horses can also experiment with fancy mane and tail braiding techniques.

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Think about it: Who in your group would be best suited to host this event? Plan to have everyone bring some needed supplies.

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Variation: Get the kids involved; before the bathing portion of Spa Day, let them paint their own mounts with their fingers using washable, non-toxic paint. (Come to think of it, it’s fun for adults too!)

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Try this: Use your imagination to come up with a great excuse for a great barn party. For example, a birthday party for a special horse; a big (or not so big!) victory party for a show horse; or a foal wash for an expecting mare. Have everyone bring a snack and an inexpensive gift of jokes.

Try this: Get friends and their horses together at a friend’s barn party. Video each other’s rides, then watch the videos over a light lunch or dinner.

You can also review how-to articles or educational videos together (example topics: emergency stop technique, pole-jumping, equestrian sports massage) and try them out on your horse. Or join in on H&R’s The Ride Podcast.

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Or, simply share a problem-solving tip that some members of your group already have (for example, perhaps, trailer-loading problem horses).

Think about it: who has the best video recording equipment? What new knowledge will appeal to everyone and be useful to everyone? What is feasible and manageable in the time and space allotted?

Variation: Rather than meeting at someone’s stable, keep the horses at home and review education/training clinics as a group. An audit is much cheaper than an engagement; your team can then try the hands-on portion at another Do-It-Yourself clinic later.

Also, consider taking a field trip to a local veterinary college, feed distributor, or saddle manufacturer for a lecture/demonstration, or attending a symposium held by a pharmaceutical company on a health topic such as horse ulcer prevention. Symposia are usually free and sometimes include refreshments.

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, plus this site that offers endless how-to articles (on western horse training, confidence-building exercises, and more), The Ride Podcast. Also check area publications at your local feed store or tack store for information on upcoming clinics, seminars and symposia.

Think about it: Is your horse damaged enough for you to try it; if you’re in doubt, see expert advice.

Variation: Help your friend learn to ride bareback too (see “Do-It-Yourself Clinic”), then plan a dollar bill showdown (see “Game Time”).

Try this: Form a trail riding group that meets regularly—say, once a month. Have participants schedule it on their calendars—just like any other important “to-do list.”

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Pick a favorite local destination that everyone can reach within an hour. Pack a lunch and have a picnic, or plan to get together for lunch or early dinner after lunch.

Think about it: whether everyone’s horse is already “trail ready”. If not, plan a study session (see Do-It-Yourself Clinic) in advance to practice riding and riding skills.

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Benefits: Trail riding is great for improving equestrian skills and strengthening the bond between riders, and riding with one or more buddies is safer than riding alone. Over time, your group can explore other trail riding locations to expand your riding options.

Variation: If your friends all live in rural areas and have access to trails within riding distance, start your ride from a different person’s hometown each time. That person can then host an informal (outdoor?) lunch for the team when they return.

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Try this: Teach your horse a trick or two. There are straightforward, time-tested basic tricks like shaking the head “no,” nodding “yes,” and yawning, as well as more complex stunts like bowing and sitting. It’s a lot of fun, and with the right technique, it’s easier than you might think.

Think about it: which techniques might be especially useful to you. For example, if you ride bareback, a bow allows you to get on the horse easily.

New enhances his ability to learn and your ability to teach, and strengthens the bond of trust between the two of you. Also, tricks like bowing and arrowing can improve a horse’s flexibility by stretching muscles and mobilizing joints.

Variations: Keep it simple, and instead of teaching a real trick, just do some “carrot stretches” — great for your horse’s agility.

Fun (cheap!) Things To Do With Your Horse

Try this: Teach yourself and your horse to “do” a show (or other activity) even if you never intend to show it in it.

Think about it: what activity or sport have you always wanted to try? It’s a low-cost, stress-free way to dip your toe in the water and see if you like it.

Bonus: It will create a teaching/learning bond; plus, if showmanship is your choice, you’ll end up with a horse that behaves impeccably.

Variations: endless. For example, rent feed buckets from your local feed store and try bucket racing. Or, bring a friend over (see Do-It-Yourself Clinic) and learn a new sport together.

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Try this: Host a game day where you and your friends can explore various installed games. Try an old standard: informal cowboy polo, played with a broom and a large rubber playground ball. Or something newer: jockey football, which uses an oversized, very soft ball that the horse kicks forward with its front legs.

Think about it: Which game best suits the existing skills and abilities of the horses and riders on your team?

Benefits: Focusing on the race (rather than obsessing over the ride) can help you become a bolder, smoother rider.

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, Betty Bennett-Talbot and Steve Bennett; equestrian soccer intro video; and, search online for “gymkhana” for more game ideas. Also, find this horse soccer ball on Amazon.

Fun Winter Activities With Your Horse

Try this: Create all sorts of unusual challenges for you and your horse to overcome, using whatever you have on hand or can get for cheap at the lumberyard: utility poles, railroad ties, gates, etc. Make it like a low-level trail class, only more creative—for example, add large stuffed animals from a thrift store to the sides of a standard L-back wear (created with poles or railroad ties).

Think about it: of course it is safe. Be careful not to overdo yourself or your horse. If you’re not sure if a particular “challenge” is right for you, seek expert advice before proceeding.

Benefits: Approaching any other training opportunity in a sane manner, this activity can provide excellent desensitization for your horse.

Variation: Have a friend drag you over and make it a real competition. Plan it so that all obstacles can be done in hand rather than (or as well as) mounted.

Mounted & Unmounted Activities For Kids

Try this: Form an informal exercise group. Show riding is fun and doesn’t require special equipment or specialized training.

Benefits: Working with a training team hone your equestrian skills and your horse’s reflexes. Just like in the horse riding game, synchronized riding can help you become a more natural and fluid rider. As a bonus, it allows your group to enjoy another fun, inexpensive activity: horseback riding parades. Don’t you just love your horse? But sometimes in winter, you tend to forget that the horse is alive. Why? Because you don’t want to venture out in the cold anymore.

Well, don’t do that! Just feeding them is not enough. Keep them on your mind and you on theirs. They’ll love that you come to see them, and even better, share the event with them.

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Fun Activities To Do With Your Horse This Winter

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