While polo may be the best known game to be played on horseback, there are many simpler games which can be played to keep riding more exciting and creative. Especially good for children who easily become bored doing the same thing every time they ride, the following horseback games also offer benefits to the horse itself since they need to have a change in order to minimise bad behaviour. Here are some suggestions for games to play on horseback with your equine friend.
This game is an amusing way of putting old bras to good use. Simply put as many of them as possible into a bucket and place the bucket next to a bucket which has been filled up with water balloons in different sizes. Put both of the buckets at one end of the pasture. Every player chooses a bra, puts in on and then puts 2 water balloons into it. They then mount their horse and canter to the finish line. The player which reaches it in the shortest time without losing either of their water balloons is the winner. Perfect for hot days, this is a hilarious game for several riders.
Everyone has played schoolyard tag, and now you can capture the same experience on horseback. Just choose one of the riders to be “it and play in exactly the same way as you did at school. Remember to only tag the rider though and not the horse. The last person to get tagged is the winner.
Another schoolyard classic, this game can be played by diving up the riders into 2 teams and placing each one at the opposite end of the arena. The teams discuss who they will call first and then yell “red rover, red rover, send (insert name here) over.” The rider named then rides to the other side, tries to get through the team to touch a market at the other side. If they manage to get through the opposing team, they go back to their original team, however if they are caught, they join the opposing team and try to catch their old team members.
If you've ever played musical chairs, you won't have any difficulty in understanding the rules of Musical Buckets. In this game, riders will around a circle of barrels or overturned buckets to a musical accompaniment. Of course, there should be one bucket too few for the number of riders. The riders will circle the buckets, riding to the music and when it stops, each rider must put a foot on the closest bucket. The rider who has no bucket left is out of the game. At each round, another bucket is removed and the game continues until only the winner is left. This game can be made more challenging by increasing the speed to a trot or lope or by switching to tyres instead, making the horse put their foot onto or into the tyre.
Of course, before you begin any of these games, it's important to ensure that your horse is well trained, in good health and is capable of handling these kinds of activities without being frightened or stressed. Every rider should also wear a helmet and be at an appropriate ability level before playing as safety is paramount.
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