“ARENA ESSENTIALS”- My Top Used Games, Toys, and Props for Lessons!

Below is a list of the items in my tote box that has all my core games, props, and supporting tools for my adaptive** and traditional groundwork and riding lessons. These are items that I have pulled together after taking note of what I have usually gone to the past ten years of teaching. Even though there are only a few items as compared to some very large toy/activity cabinets I’ve seen at some barns, each can be used in multiple ways.

I’m all about simplicity and affordability while keeping lessons fun, engaging, and enhancing the riding skills being taught.

I will sometimes buy activities that are holiday specific and try to get those items while they are on sale at craft stores, target, etc. The holiday specific or any other specialty game items are not included in this list.

Instructors are highly encouraged to customize their own Arena Essentials box based off the items they regularly use! Do you have an item you can’t live without when it comes to teaching? I’d love to hear so send over an email!

Watch the replay with a live look at my "Arena Essentials" box and get ideas for how each item can be used.

Click Here to Download a PDF of the Arena Essentials list!


If you purchase items (these or any other online shopping you may do on Amazon), it is greatly appreciated if you click through these links first. Hoof Falls & Footfalls is part of the Amazon Affiliate program and I get a small portion back from each purchase made through my business links.

The Amazon Affiliate link revenue helps to offset my time, effort, and resources used to create free content (like this topic’s list, blog, and video) and keep other paid content affordable for fellow instructors. Thank you in advanced for using my affiliate link!


  • Colored Buckets– I chose ones that had handles so I could hang them from the fence)
  • Colored Pet Food Bowls– I use the pet food bowls because they are a little heavier and have a large base that helps to prevent them from tipping over or flying away if it gets a little windy.
  • Small Foam Balls


  • Tote Box- Walmart, target, frys, etc. I got a heavier weight, made for long term storage box so it would hold up longer.
  • Analog Clock– Walmart, Target, or any other store that has home décor.
  • Alphabet Letters Pouch Hanging Activity– I found this at Target in the little $1, $3 $5 section. Something similar may be available at a teaching store.
  • Small White Board – These do not seem to hold up as long as the ones that are a little more money. They are great for the arena though since they often get dirty, wet, etc.


  • Portable Voice AmplifierThis amplifier that clips onto your belt can save your voice! Several instructors and centers recommend investing in one of these. I do not personally own one so I would recommend looking at different brands and the customer feedback before purchasing. 
  • Ring Toss Game
  • Counting/Sorting Bears This super fun set has different colored bears and cups so students can work on color recognition, counting, sorting, patterns, fine motor skills, grip strength, etc.

Want more ideas beyond games and props?

Check out the following links on my website!

  • Tack & Equipment Recommendations- My top picks for tack and equipment I frequently uses in my adaptive riding lessons
  • Book & Article Recommendations Books and articles I have personally read and learned from! Up your instructor game by building your brain and growing your knowledge and understanding of disability, teaching, and equine related topics
  • Arena Friendly Games and Activities– A growing list of games and activities that have been adapted to be used in the arena for groundwork and riding lessons

Watch the replay with a live look at my "Arena Essentials" box!

Click Here to Download a PDF of the Arena Essentials list!

Saebra Pipoly
Hoof Falls & Footfalls Owner/Founder

** I personally chose to use the term Adaptive Riding vs. Therapeutic Riding and avoid ‘horse therapy’ at all costs. Why? CLICK HEREThe thoughts shared in the  post above apply to not only Adaptive riding but also to other mounted equine activities and therapies offered at an EAAT (Equine Assisted Activity and Therapy) Program/Center/Barn.

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