Here are some ideas I got from classroom Valentine’s Day games. Each can be modified in many ways.
HEART PUZZLES GAME
Cut out of paper hearts of different colors and sizes. Cut each heart into 4 pieces and scatter them around the arena. You could hide them on obstacles so kids have to reach, put them on the ground so kids have to woah precisely and ask for help, or however you want to do it. Then let the kids hunt for the pieces. When all the pieces have been collected, have each kid put theirs together and see how many whole hearts of the same color each collected. The one with the most whole hearts wins.
Write instructions on the hearts for the kid to do when they finds the heart, such as “two point one wall” or “trot from A to C”, depending on what your students are working on and their capabilities.
Give each color of heart a certain number of points, so the kid with the most points wins. You can verbally tell them the points for each color at the beginning or end of the game, or write the points on the heart pieces and have them count.
Instead of small hearts make one big huge heart so all the students must work together to complete it, and everyone wins. Complete the puzzle on a block or barrel in the arena, or on the ground.
Cut out a bunch of hearts and write riding instructions on them, such as “two point one wall” or “trot from A to C”, depending on what your students are working on and their capabilities. Have the rider pick a heart (from the bucket, off a barrel, find it somewhere in the arena, etc.), then perform the instruction, and lastly deliver the heart (to you, the other bucket, another barrel, etc.).
Put the hearts face down in rows on a block in the middle of the arena. To get their task the student must describe the heart they want, for example, “the blue heart in the third row”.
HEART SCAVENGER HUNT 1
Cut out a lot of different hearts. The goal is to find as many hearts as possible.
Write a task on each heart for the kid to perform. These can be things they’re working on (2 point one long wall), valentines themes (woah at K and give your horse a hug) or silly (deliver this heart to your classmate).
HEART SCAVENGER HUNT 2
Cut out a lot of different hearts. The goal is to follow a scavenger hunt trail. They are given a heart to start with, which tells them where to go for the next heart along with a riding skill. Each heart sends them on their way to the next one. For example, the first heart says “two point over the poles to K”, and at K they find a heart taped to it that says “post the long wall to M,” and so on, until the last heart says “Go tell your instructor “Happy Valentine’s Day!”” – when they do, you can give them a Valentine!
Instead of directions, make each heart tell a clue about where the next heart is, so they have to search. For example, “I am near the brown horse poster” or “I am on the first letter of the word hat”.
ST. VALENTINE SAYS
This is just like Simon Says, but use “St. Valentine Says” instead!
BROKEN HEART RIDDLES
Make large hearts cut in two. Put the riddle on one piece and the answer on the other. Make their “cuts” different so it’s obvious when they fit, and helps the kid find the match even if they don’t know the right answer. You can make this like a scavenger hunt, or let them pick from riddles on one barrel then go find its answer on another, or so on. Riddles can be Valentines day themed (cupid, etc) or horse themed (colors, etc) or whatever else you want.
If it is a large group lesson, give some kids riddles and some kids answers. They must go around and ask each other what they have until they find their partner.
Like musical chairs but with big hearts the students must get their horse to stop by, or even step in! I’m not sure what you’d use for the hearts – maybe you can convert hoola hoops into hearts, or put white powder of some sort on the dirt in a heart shape.
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!