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Playing With Your Horse

By Carole Herder

I blogged recently about playing with your horse, and very importantly, about how your relationship can improve when being with your horse at liberty and allowing them to do different things. While horses definitely like routine, they also like variety – it keeps them interested and alert which is hugely beneficial to them mentally and emotionally.

Groups like the American Competitive Trail Riding Association (ACTHA)  are fantastic for offering a wide variety of equestrian pursuits to entertain both yourself and your horse. Sometimes we can get tied into the same old routine of doing circles and cavalettis in the arena or plodding out on the same old hack. I have heard of some really inventive ways to keep things interesting for you and your horse. The big soccer balls I mentioned in my previous blog is one. I know a friend who sets up her kids trikes and play equipment outside and then long-lines her horse around them – a free obstacle course! Using cones, buckets, small logs, tarpaulin or anything you can find lying around the place can help you with bending, leg yielding and reining back in a straight line. It will also gives your horse a chance to see new things and build up his trust in you.

If that isn’t enough excitement, why not try out some of these options: The epitome of obstacle riding, and some of which you can do at home! I’d love to build the ‘car wash’ – the ultimate in finding out of your horse trusts you or not – maybe try leading them first!

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