Here are some of the usual activities I’ve seen done recently with an extra twist!
Setup: several pairs of matching rings, one of each color is hung on a T pole, the others are put on other T poles or cone or around the arena
Activity: choose a colored ring from the T pole, then find its matching partner, practicing steering to get there and halting at the T pole or cone, using hand/eye coordination to put the ring with its partner, and using alternate hands each time
Activity: ride around the arena at the walk, use “Simon says” for skills such as halt, walk on, reverse, steer a circle, etc. When Simon doesn’t say, the riders should not obey. This really works on listening skills! I had seen this used before for warm ups (Simon says hands on helmet) but not for skills, and it worked great.
Horse Parts Add on
Activity: ride at a walk around the arena, ask riders to halt (either halt, halt on the count of 3, or halt by letters), ask them to identify 2 horse parts, then walk on for half a lap, halt again, identify the same 2 horse parts then add 2 more, walk on, halt again, review the 4 horse parts then add 2 more, and so on. We got up to 6 or 8. This is a great way to teach horse parts because at every halt you review before adding another. This works as a great cool down because it is at the walk. At the end of class when you line up to dismount, do one last review of the parts.
Red Light Green Light Listening
Activity: ride at a walk around the arena, you will call out instructions and the riders will obey, “red light” means halt, “green light” means go, “yellow light” means slow down. Usually I’ve seen this played with an actual stop/go sign down the centerline, but this time the cues were verbal, and with incorrect ones thrown in. “Purple light!” “Blue light!” The riders have to think about whether it means to do anything or not!
People Parts Warmups
As opposed to horse parts, use people parts to warm up! “Touch your head! Touch your shoulders! Touch your hips! Touch your knees! Touch your toes!” This activity would be helpful with riders learning body parts, and riders with Autism who may have trouble creating and integrated whole or differentiating between body parts.
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!