I know it’s past Halloween, but it’s not past Thanksgiving yet so you still have time for pumpkin activities! Especially since right now everything pumpkin is on sale, as stores bring in the Christmas stuff. I was inspired to share some pumpkin activity ideas after my daughter’s gymnastics class, when they used little faux pumpkins for things – some plastic, some velvet, all cute. So here are they are, may you receive a spark of inspiration for the rest of the month!
Two quick reminders! First, these are activities, not skills, so make sure you are using theses to do warm ups that support a specific skill your rider will be working on, or that you use these to practice a specific skill that the rider has already learned and practiced on its own before adding in the activity. Second, always make sure your horses are ok with pumpkins and these activities before using them in a lesson.
Let the rider pick a pumpkin. Incorporate it into warm ups, such as holding it above their head or up high, to the right, to the left, pass it behind their back, put it on their belly button, etc. (Above: my daughter held it on her head while walking down the balance beam.)
Pass The Pumpkin
Another warm up: while walking, pass the pumpkin back and forth from one volunteer to another on the other side. (Remind the volunteers that if the pumpkin drops, do not leave your rider to get it, someone else will get it for them).
Set up two barrels each with a cone on top. Place a little pumpkin on the top of the first cone. The ride must halt, pick up the pumpkin off the cone, ride to the second barrel, and place the pumpkin on the second cone. It may be helpful to have a little pumpkin pouch on the saddle for holding it while riding. (Above: my daughter was to move the pumpkin from one cone to another, which you could try with two barrels side by side but I think it would be too tight or far apart for most riders with adaptations.)
Toss The Pumpkin
Halt and toss the pumpkin through a hula hoop or ring on a pole, or into a bucket. To make it harder, do while walking or trotting.
Hide little pumpkins around the arena. The rider must find them all.
To incorporate numbers, number the pumpkins and put them around the arena, then have the rider draw a number for which pumpkin to go find.
Draw silly faces on the pumpkins and put them around the arena. Set up a little party spot on a barrel. Have the rider find all the pumpkins and bring them to the party. You might add that the rider must go over an obstacle on their way back to the party.
Pick A Pumpkin
Write (or tape a card with) an obstacle/activity on the bottom of several pumpkins, then put them in a pumpkin “patch” on a barrel. Have the rider pick a pumpkin then do what it says (then put it in a bucket after so they don’t pick the same one again).
Ring The Pumpkin
Set up a big pumpkin on the ground and have the rider try to “ring” it with hula hoops.
Or, set up a big pumpkin with a tall stem on a barrel and have the rider try to toss rings on it.
(Idea from this youtube video).
Set up a big pumpkin on a barrel. Place paper eyes, noses, and mouths on another barrel. Have the riders pick which face items to take to the pumpkin and stick on it. (I will let you figure out how to make the face parts and attach them…)
Hope you like them! What pumpkin activities have you done? Please share in the comments!
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!