The Pony Express

A while ago someone I met at a conference mentioned this activity she heard of to me. She couldn’t remember the specifics, so I’m going to throw out some thoughts. I think it’s a cute idea!

The Pony Express

The Pony Express was a horseback relay mail delivery service in 1860. With the Gold Rush, so many people moved to California they needed a way to get mail from back home, so the Pony Express was started between Missouri and California.

Activity: deliver mail in mail bag through various obstacles

  • Start at Missouri, pick up mail bag or “mochila” (Spanish for knapsack)
    • pick up saddle bag with mail off of barrel and attach to saddle
    • perhaps include the only other items pony express riders carried: water and a gun
  • Obstacle course (ideas based on hazards the riders met)
    • Cross the Platte River (blue tarp, two poles, etc.)
    • Cross the Great Plains (trot to end of arena)
    • Cross the Rocky Mountains (several crossrails, if outside use a hill)
    • Outlaw ambush (trot away very quickly)
    • Widlife – bear, buffalo (throw balls at them to scare them away)
    • Weather – snowstorm, lightening, flood (ideas?)
    • Go off course (ride through ground poles shaped like L then back up)
    • Injury (steer one handed through weaving cones)
    • Mochila exchange (hand off mochila to the next rider without dropping it)
  • End in California, drop off the mail bag
    • take saddle bag off saddle and put on barrel
    • perhaps include taking out letters and delivering them to the appropriate beanie babies
    • for payment receive a gold coin!
  • Make it a relay
    • place riders around the ring between obstacles and have them take turns riding over their obstacle and passing the bag to the next rider like a real relay race
    • or, have one rider carry the bag from Missouri to California, then the other rider take it back from California to Missouri

I haven’t tried this yet, just wanted to pass on the ideas. How would you do this activity?


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 judgment!

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