Getting your equine away from the daily grind

| Fun day ideas for you and your horse |

THE UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP between horse and rider is a bond that grows over time through rigorous training sessions and the companionable daily routines. There’s a season for everything under the sun, as the saying goes; a time for work and a time for play. This holds true even when it comes to your show horse and your relationship. Between those seasons of showing and competitions, you might consider planning a fun social event. Partaking in this kind of event should enable the horse and rider to simply enjoy each other’s company and get out of the daily routine.

When planning a recreational equine social event, there are two points you should take into account:

1. Invite people who are at the same skill level as you and your horse so that everyone can participate; and

2. Consider having a waiver form for friends to sign in case of an accident. Although no one ever wishes for an accident, unfortunately they occasionally occur. It would be wise to have a waiver signed prior to the situation. Remind everyone to wear properly fitted riding and safety gear.

The most popular and common sport meet when organizing a fun day is gymkhana. These types of equestrian games are the perfect way to show off you and your horse’s hard-earned skills through friendly competitiveness and various races, obstacle courses, and relays. In the western United States, these types of events are called “Omoksee” (“games on horseback”). This terminology is thought to be from the Native American Blackfeet tribe. You might want to consider planning the event through the 4-H club or a pony or horse club if you’re a member. Otherwise, if you have the open space and you want a small gathering, anyone can plan a gymkhana.

Fun extras for your fun day would be to have a family member or neighbor be the announcer and have small prizes to hand out for the winner of each event. Enjoyable games include the egg and spoon race, and if you have plenty of wide-open space, you could have barrel racing and pole bending. Add slight variations to your fun day by including a fashion show or costume themes. Be sure that everyone wears costumes that are safe for horse and rider.
Always remember to be safe and responsible around horses. Never play a game that potentially could spook your horse, or play games that require you to crawl on the ground under horse or hoof.

Overall, this is your fun day! It’s a time when you’re not living your dreams of winning the blue ribbon but enjoying the strength, beauty, and friendship of your horse.


story by J.P. SMITH

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