Flower/Veggie Garden Game
This game could be played with a flower bed, veggie garden toy, pizza making kit, sandwich making kit...pretty much any fun game that has a flower/veggie/food theme (see below for links).
Reinforce basic riding skills like transitions and reining while also working on life skills such as fine motor skills, identifying vegetables, identifying flower colors, spelling vegetable names, etc.
Reinforce more advanced skills such as transitioning reins from two to one hand, neckreining (alternating hand used), etc.
Suggested Arena Setup:
- For 3-4 riders, Set up a total of 4 barrels. One barrel should be in each corner of your arena and set far enough away from the rail so a horse can park on each side.
- Place the flowers/veggies/food in a small bucket and put them on two barrels on one end of your arena. Place the planting boxes/food tray/flower beds on the barrels on the opposite end of the arena.
- Remember to incorporate your riding skills and give specific places to practice them (example: whoa at the barrel and transfer reins from two to one hand before choosing your item). Depending on the level of your rider and what riding skills you are working on, incorporate arena figures and patterns such as weaving, circles, change of rein, serpentine, etc to get the flowers/veggies/food to the the boxes/food tray/flower bed
- Remind your volunteers to encourage independence of your riders by allowing them to choose the veggie/flower/food item and then letting them plant the flower/build the sandwich, label the veggie, etc. Sometimes the volunteers see the riders struggling with something and instead of allowing them to try or give verbal guidance they jump in and do the task for them.
- Remind your volunteers that it is ok if a piece of the game drops and to just leave it and call the instructor or an extra volunteer help over to pick up the dropped toy. Often times a piece will drop while the horse is moving, the volunteer will stop to get the piece, then they jog to catch up (which can cue a horse to move faster).
One of our instructors bought the flower bed/veggie sets at a local store but here are some similar games:
Game Idea- Dinosaur/ Animal Rescue
A HUGE thank you Courtney Mellor (PATH Advanced Instructor/Mentor
firstname.lastname@example.org) for submitting this super fun game idea!
Horsesinharmony@gmail.com) for submitting this super fun game idea!
The plan- During warm up exercises (reach up and tickle the clouds/wiggle fingers, arm reaches to opposite knee, helicopter etc.) the student will identify the location of his targets and use his/her left and right reins both independently and together to guide and stop his horse next to each barrel or spot on the rail to collect the desired dinosaur/animal.
Once the dinosaur has been retrieved it now must be tied safely to the saddle so that the rider can use both hands on the reins to take the item to the desired location where the rider then must untie the dinosaur to put it down. Your rider will determine if you keep it simple, or if you make it harder. Do you have a leader or does the rider need to keep control of the reins? Do you have a side-walker the rider needs to ask politely for help or does the rider need to get the horse close enough to reach on their own? Reinforce riding skills (walk-halt-walk transitions, circle the barrel; weave the cones, 2 point etc.) on your way around the arena.
This game has the potential to ask the rider to use or learn fine motor skills (tying/untying knots) and gross motor skills (effectively using rein aids), motor planning (How will we tie the animal? When will the riders ask the horse to stop?), crossing midline (reaching for the toy or tying the toy to the left or right), identifying left, right, colors, counting and sorting.
Arena Set Up- With the dinosaurs spaced around the arena onto several different barrels or at specific letters/shapes on the rail (be sure to keep at least 1 barrel vacant for all the dinosaurs to come to), the objective is to return all the dinosaurs/animals safely back to the herd together.
Adaptation- You can make a variety of theme lessons by having additional items or animals on hand. We found that our female participants were not always as excited about dinosaurs and their male counterparts so we incorporated barn yard animal toys as needed. Additionally, If you have both sets of barn yard and Dinosaur toys out, you can discuss predator vs. prey and make choices to keep certain animals separated (we probably shouldn’t put the T-Rex with the horse).
Saddle Tips: Be sure the saddles have leather (or other breakaway) ties readily available. Most western saddles are already outfitted but English saddles can be fitted with ribbon attached to the front “D rings” on each side. We like to be able to remove them if possible just in case a rider can’t stop playing with them and loses focus on the reins.
Toy Tips: Do yourself a favor and label the bottom of each dinosaur with sharpie so you can remember what its name is…
We love the colors and textures of these dinosaurs! They allow us to describe them in many ways. The body shapes all vary which promotes motor planning and decision making about how to safely secure each dinosaur.
Have fun and- GO PLAY!
Game Idea- Sringing Chunky Beads
Looking to add a little fun to your adaptive riding class? Try incorporating some chunky bead stringing!
Reinforce basic riding skills like transitions and reining while also working on fine motor skills, colors, animals, letters, etc.
Suggested Arena Setup:
1. For 3-4 riders, Set up a total of 4 barrels. One barrel should be in each corner of your arena and set far enough away from the rail so a horse can park on each side.
2. Take the chunky beads in the box and place on the barrels on one end of the arena. Place the strings on the barrels on the opposite end.
3. Remember to incorporate your riding skills and give specific places to practice them (example: whoa at the barrel, reining through the cones to get to your string, etc)
The Alex Toys products have held up well through many uses....just don't leave it out while the sprinklers are running!