Last week I wrote about the mounted games competition that we are holding at our farm this summer. Two teams will practice once a week for five weeks then compete in a team mounted games competition.
Planning a whole event is a big task. Maybe you don't have enough students or enough time to plan something like that. You can still use mounted games in your lessons.
Using games in your lessons from time to time is something your students can get excited about. You can even reward them after a hard lesson with a games lesson the following week. It will give them something to look forward to in their lessons that is different. They will get excited about it and tell their parents about how fun the lesson was. It will be good for business.
The other good thing about mounted games is that you can modify them for all different levels of riders. Riders at different levels can even play mounted games without it being unfair. For example, if you are doing an egg on a spoon relay race, your advanced students will try and go faster and drop their eggs sooner, whereas the newer riders will be going slower which gives them a better chance of keeping their egg on the spoon.
You can play musical cones in lessons. This is good practice for steering and controlling your horse's speed. Play just like musical chairs. Spread out your cones a safe distance from each other. Riders have to ride the rail until the music stops. When it stops, everyone has to try to get to a cone. Each round you take out a cone until there are only two. The first person to get to that last one left is the winner.
Water relays are fun too. Give your students cups and each team has a water bucket. Set up on a barrel so they can reach it easily. Each rider will dip their cup in the bucket. Then they make their way to the other end of the ring where there is an empty bucket. They pour their water out and head back to their teammates. Then the next rider can go. There can be two winners really. The first being the first team to send all their riders through the relay. The second winner being the team who has the most water in their bucket at the end of the game.
If you have older students, that are able to mount and dismount on their own you can play games that require that. It is good practice for them to get on and off their horses. Not to mention, fun when you are getting off to put on a goofy costume. Then once you get the costume on you remount, and ride to the other end of the ring. There your teammate will be waiting for you to jump off and give them the costume to put on. Then they hop on and ride back to the next rider waiting for the costume. The first team to get all riders to the other end is the winner.
Bareback on a buck is another fun one! Put your riders on bareback, put a piece of paper or dollar bill under their thigh. Have them ride and obey the commands you call out without losing their dollar. The last rider to still have their dollar is the winner.
We all know our students need to learn important technical stuff about riding. Proper position, aids, etc...That doesn't mean that they have to learn it while going around in circles every week! Mounted games are a way students can improve their skills and have a blast at the same time.