6 Step Pattern

The last week of sessions has come and gone for us already and I forgot to make a holiday-themed activity! I think I made up for it though with a long pattern, enjoyable lessons, and that for client appreciation each rider got to give their horse a treat from a bucket after their lesson. (Some programs do this every time, but this was somewhat new for our kids!)

The holidays are also an easy opener for talking to your riders. I have posted about Sharing Laughs, but for some kids it may be hard to get a laugh, so the first step is finding anything to connect about – which means taking time in your lesson to chat. I like to do this right after mounting when we walk around the arena to let the horse see everything, as it also offers time to warm up to relating to the instructor. Ask if they like the cold or warm weather, if they are excited about the snow, if they have ever built a snowman, what they want for Christmas. Listen and follow where they take the conversation and if there’s some topic they like that you can connect about.

Anyway, I wanted to share the long pattern I did because it was pretty fun and flexible. Enjoy!

6 Step Pattern

Arena Setup:

  • 5 cones for weaving, that get closer together at the end
  • 2 barrels for figure 8
  • 2 buckets, 1 on each barrel
  • many tactile objects (balls, rings, beanie babies) – fill first bucket with them
  • 4 ground poles in a square
  • 4 cones, 2 at one end of the quarterline and 2 at the other end

The Pattern:

  1. weave the cones
  2. figure 8 around the barrels
  3. halt in the box for 3 seconds, turn and exit the side of the box
  4. ride a straight line from one pair of cones to the other (can walk or trot)
  5. halt at the first barrel, get an item from the bucket, and deliver it to the second bucket/barrel (can practice both reins in one hand)
  6. walk over the poles (can 2 point)

The pattern is easily modified:

ex) Rider A is working on balance through turns progressing to small circles, and needs high input from the movement of the horse. So we:

  1. weave the cones
  2. figure 8 the barrels
  3. walk over the poles
  4. extended walk between the cone pairs
  5. figure 8 the barrels
  6. walk over the poles

ex) Rider B is working on memory and the leg yield, so we:

  1. weave the cones, use leg to help yield horse back and forth through turns
  2. figure 8 the barrels, use leg to bend
  3. halt in the box, turn out the side
  4. leg yield from the first pair of cones to the wall, looking ahead at the second pair of cones
  5. stay on the rail, ride to the weaving cones, leg yield from the first cone to the wall

Hope you like it!

What special activities have you been doing this holiday season?


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! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!

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