Christina and I came up with the idea of the games competition when we were laying on my parent’s pier enjoying the river one day. We got a good start that day and it didn’t take us long to have all the details ironed out.
In the practices, they worked on riding together as a team and staying together. Keeping horses of different sizes and stride length together is hard. It was impressive to see them do it so well on the day of the competition.
Each practice we reviewed the game from the previous week and introduced a new one. Normally each practice would also leave time for them to chose one game they think they need extra practice on and work on that. Most of the time, they even squeezed in a quick trail ride to cool out.
We realized that since the teams had been practicing separately, we wanted to have one practice with all of them in the ring together. It had its hectic moments, but they figured it out. Learning how to stay on their side of the arena and keeping enough space between horses while waiting their turn.
Part of the enticement I used to get my students to try the games thing since it was a new thing for our barn, was to offer “really cool prizes”. Those “really cool prizes” were ribbons that went around the riders’ necks like medals. Also, we had special saddle pads embroidered for them to use on the day of the competition, which they all loved.
Making It A Big Deal!
We have normal schooling shows three times a year for our students to practice their skills and get feedback on their progress. Those are fun too! We wanted this to be different though, something that the kids and also the parents could really get into and enjoy.
Each Team Had An Intro Song
Each team had an intro song they rode around to and showed off their skill at staying together as a team.
National Anthem Of Course!
Our competition would not have been complete with the playing of the National Anthem! One of my students carried a flag on her white horse as we all stood for the playing of the anthem.
Then, just for fun, since her horse’s name is Ice, she did a little demo riding around to the song “ice, ice, baby”. Which was pretty amusing!
The Competition Went On Without A Glitch
We couldn’t have asked for our competition to go any better than it did! It went great and everyone, including the spectators, had fun.
Why Was This A Great Day With Horses For Me? Lots of Reasons!
Our hard work had paid off, we planned a cool event that everyone enjoyed just as much as we had hoped. Christina, Aleta and I make a good team and it was fun spending time together at the practices. As well as seeing the kids progress throughout the weeks.
The kids practicing as teams and cheering for each other was a nice change compared to the “drama” that sometimes goes with running a lesson barn.
Sitting back and watching all my horses at the competition is what made it so great. Good horses for kids are hard to come by. When you find a kid-safe horse no matter what it looks like, it is worth its weight in gold.
With the bunch of horses I have, I’m sitting on a gold mine! They all were so well behaved and tried their hardest to do what their riders were telling them even when they were giving them conflicting signals.
I felt a great sense of gratitude and sort of watched in awe. I know that sounds dramatic, but I was so proud of all my horses, and the way that the whole event helped bring the farm together.
I’m so lucky to have Christina and Aleta to help me plan and run things at the barn. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I think we really gave the kids an experience they will remember for a long time!
Never in a million years would I would have thought I would have a barn full of fabulous horses, and this many great people supporting our farm. That is why this was one of my best days with horses!