Summertime means summer camp. That means that I have to come up with fun things for my campers to do—horse-related activities that are safe, educational and fun!
This one is something that you could even use at a pony party, or just for fun!
Part of learning about horses is learning what they eat—about their nutrition and the different types of feed, hay forage, and, of course, horse treats. We talked all about the things that horses like to eat. You'd be surprised that some kids don't know much about what treats horses like. They buy them from the tack store. It is fun for them to learn the things horses like and then make their own horse treats.
After talking about all the treats that horses like, we tell the kids that we are going to make a treat buffet. They will use the ingredients on the treat buffet to make what they think will be a gourmet horse treat.
Sounds messy right? It is, but the kids love it (and so do the horses). We give the kids plates to work on their treats. Then we also give them rice cakes or ice cream cones. That way they have something to build the treat on. Since these particular treats are not baked, the rice cake or ice cream cone holds all the ingredients together.
We put out the other ingredients for the treat buffet, which includes shredded carrots, apple slices, molasses, peppermints, and sugar cubes. Some of the kids even picked some grass to put on theirs. Horses love grass too!
Not only is this a fun way to let them learn about what horses eat but it is fun for them to make the treats. Then it provides us with the opportunity to teach them safety in the barn. It is also a good chance to teach the proper way to feed a horse by hand. We don't want any campers losing fingers!
You can use the treat buffet as a fun learning activity. It can be as simple as just making and feeding the treats. If you want to get a little more involved, they can do taste tests with the horses to see what they like best. Then see if they can make a custom treat at the treat buffet for that horse.
The taste test provides a good opportunity for us to discuss the horse's body language. Besides the obvious basics of whether he ate it or spit it out, you can have them record their reactions. What do they do to show us they like a treat? How do they show us that they don't like it?
This activity provides a lot of different opportunities to teach about horses. The kids have fun and learn at the same time! The camp horses will be happy too!