This could also be two separate posts, but it’s time for me to wrap up the Off Horse Activities Series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts and have learned something new! If you have been able to apply any of this in your own work, leave a comment! I would love to know.
But alas, it is time to turn toward our final post of the series: Markings & Attitudes of the Horse.
I love bringing the horse into every activity at the barn because they are the whole reason we do what we do! As with the colors and breeds of the horse, this is a good opportunity to use the horses of your own herd to teach students about markings on a horse. You can teach them about blazes, stripes, diamonds, and snips on the face and about socks and stockings on the legs. You can build off the color lesson by discussing bays and how their markings help make them a bay instead of a brown or black horse.
Pictures of your herd, or using live horses, can also teach students about horse attitudes. Show them what the horses’ ears mean and how a horse stands at attention vs. at rest. Empowering your students to understand horse behavior can help them become more attentive to their own horse and to those around them by paying attention to body cues.
In addition to teaching my students about horse behavior, markings, breeds and colors, I also teach it to volunteers! I find that most people in the therapeutic riding industry like to learn about the horse so don’t forget about volunteers, parents, siblings, and staff. There is so much to learn about horses and so many ways to teach, but I hope this series sparked your creative side and encouraged you to look at some of your lesson plans.
Not every program has an off-horse lesson, so think about how to incorporate some of these ideas in to your mounted lessons. Hang pictures around the arena of different colors or markings and have riders ride to that picture. This incorporates horseback riding skills (steering) into a mental lesson. There are numerous studies on the increased learning capacity when something is tied to movement so this is just another great excuse to get your students to think while on the horse!
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this series. Thanks for following along and stay tuned for our next series!