This is a game that teaches the grooming tools while incorporating riding skills.
- 2 barrels
- grooming supplies – several matching sets
- 1 bucket
- barrel 1 is at one end of the arena, on top put 1 bucket filled with 1 set of grooming supplies
- barrel 2 is at the other end of the arena, on top put the rest of the sets of grooming supplies
- Have your students gather around barrel 1 with the bucket. Explain that in this bucket are grooming supplies, or tools you use to clean your horse. They will pull an item out of the bucket, you’ll tell them what it is and what it’s used for, then send them to find its match or partner at the other barrel and bring it back to you.
- As each student picks out an item, tell them its name and what it’s used for. The article “Horse Grooming” by Cheryl Sutor on Equusite.com has a great list and description. Show the students how the brushes and combs work on their horse, and let the students try it themselves on their horses’ shoulders and manes while sitting on the horse.
- When the students ride to the barrel and back, they work on steering, stopping, 2 point, whatever you choose. When riding back I like to let the sidewalker hold onto the item so the student doesn’t have to worry about holding it and the reins.
- When retrieving the matching grooming tool from barrel 2, you can have the students (a) work on stopping close and picking it up themselves, or (b) work on using their words with their volunteers to politely ask for the tool by describing it with its name, color, shape, etc.
- When the student gets back to barrel 1, have them put the item on the barrel, or in an extra bucket. Review the item’s name and what it’s used for.
- direct/open rein steering between the barrels
- 2 point between the barrels
- add obstacles between the barrels for steering
- trot between the barrels
- social skills when asking volunteers for help, or explaining their tool to their classmate, or taking turns
- anything you can think of!
- For the last 5-10 minutes have the student groom their horse, reviewing the tools and showing how to use them.
- And/or for the next lesson start with grooming, to review the tools.
- Send the students home with a grooming tools coloring sheet! A very simple one is below (ignore the fact the horse has cow hooves), or find/make one with all the grooming tools on it.
Horse Grooming Coloring Page from Activity Village (click to download the big version).
Clipart from Arthur’s Clipart.
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!