What You Need:
-Various animals (toys or stuffed animals)
-Animal signs or cards
-Animal noise sounds or animal fur/hair (optional)
Here’s another fun game to play with riders that can be adjusted for any level of rider and can be played multiple weeks in a row with a few tweaks. First, pick your animals. I usually do a theme like “farm animals” or “forest animals.”
Farm animals would be horses, cows, pigs, sheep, cats, etc. and forest animals are foxes, bears, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, etc. This game is more fun for children, but hiding animals in difficult to find places or playing it on the trail can make it fun for adult riders as well.
- Get cheap animal toys. Walmart, Target, Amazong, or toy stores usually have good deals on packaged animals, and they are often in a themed pack. Finding farm or forest animals is usually pretty easy.
- Create a card or sign for each animal. I usually laminate the cards for ease of use in the arena or on the trail.
- Place cards around the arena or on the trail. You can also hold on to the cards and have the animal toys spaced out around the arena.
- Have the riders match animal toy to animal card. If the cards are around the arena, then I keep the toys in the center. Riders need to come pick up an animal toy then bring it to the correct card. The game can also be played in reverse where the riders need to bring the toy to the card in the center.
This helps riders work on steering, whoaing, matching, pattern recognition, and active listening skills. It can be more difficult by asking riders to match a sound to an animal, for example, play a sound of a dog barking and the rider needs to identify that it is a dog then find the dog card. It can be easier by bringing the animals and cards closer together, using less animals, and/or slowing down the game.
This game is a lot of fun on the trail because riders need to really look for the cards and they may even see a real animal on the trail! In that case, you could do a “trail animal” theme and have birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. as your animals.
Let me know if you use this in a lesson or have done something similar before!