I LOVE sensory trails, and when I visited Xenophon Therapeutic Riding last week, I was so excited to see their sensory trail with many obstacles I hadn’t seen before! I made a barn tour post about their property and program (if you missed it, click here!) but decided the sensory trail deserved a post of its own. So here we go!
Xenophon’s Sensory Trail
Xenophon is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center located on 3 acres, which is not much space, but their sensory trails weaves from the front where the arenas are, to one side behind some turnout pens, down the center of the property, then to the back and around a big beautiful tree.
They have lots of great signs throughout the trail. First you start with the horse barn sign, going up a slight uphill:
Then there is a train crossing sign – a real one! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently it was an Eagle Scout project.
Then there is a pool noodle doodle (I forget what they’re called…), with a road sign.
Then there is a latches board for fine motor skills, using barn doors with different animals behind each:
Then there is a water sensory tub – they put water in it with different scoops and tools:
More signs – deer crossing, keep right:
After turning right there is a rail on the side of the road to prevent anyone from going further downhill. Looking back this is what you see, more signs – horse crossing (look both ways and don’t run into one!) and a stop sign.
I like how at every sign post there was a little statue animal:
Then there were some wind chimes. The other hand of the rope used to have plastic covered chains hanging down for another type of noise (the kind seen handing from this post) but they had fallen down.
They had a lovely sensory footing trail – starting with gravel, then sand, then wood, then rubber shavings. The purpose is that it feels and sounds different to the rider as the horse walks on different footing, and perhaps changes the movement of the horse.
This is a bean bag toss, while teaching the different shape names! I like how there is a net to catch the bean bags behind it.
There was a lone table on which a “toy of the month” is placed – the instructors take turns bringing something new.
The trail leads to the back of the property and around this “magic” tree from which they sometimes hand things. It’s so beautiful and I imagine very calming and peaceful for the riders to move around.
Not shown are two more items, as they were not set up.
First was a T shaped stand from which hung bird cages, and they had stuffed animals of the different birds of the area that made noises. The riders could put the birds in the cages.
Second was post with a sensory box on it, which had a hole in it the riders could reach into and feel what was inside. Lindsay said she though it would be nice to remake the post into a measuring stick so the riders could stand next to it and “measure” how many hands high the horse was.
I hope you had fun on our tour and got good ideas for your own sensory trail!
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!
It was our pleasure having you here at XENOPHON and thank you for the great write up and explanations of our sensory trail. We surely welcome all PATH centers and TR centers to inquire, if not visit us anytime!
Our sensory trail in NZ also has water to ride through, basketball hoop with a mint bush underneath giving a nice smell, skittles, large 20cm high stepping over poles, a giant abacas, and little work stations. We will be putting in a tractor tire to step up on, activity board and hopefully a science type experiment station this year. We also have rosemary and lavender plants for smelling