Mother May I?

Hello friends! I skipped last week because I was out in Yellowstone National Park celebrating the Fourth of July in the wilderness. I could have pre-planned a post but I thought everyone should take a little break to celebrate the holiday, especially in the summertime! Is it just me or is this summer absolutely flying by?

Anyway, that’s not what you came here for. On to today’s game suggestion: “Mother May I?”

What You Need:
-A Loud Instructor Voice
-Communicative Students

This is a great game to play with students who are learning independence, who like to choose the task for the day, who struggle to pay attention, and any student working on new skills. I recommend playing this game with students who have been riding with your center for at least a few months so they are familiar with the types of activities or games you play in lessons. If they are non-verbal, they need to be communicative to ask for what they want.

The original version of this game is typically played with a group and one leader. Someone in the group will ask ‘Mother, may I take three giant steps forward?’ and the leader (mother) responds ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I play a version of this game where the goal changes. Sometimes the goal is to get to me (the instructor) at one end of the arena, but sometimes the goal is to go through obstacles or come up with five different skills to try. I have played this in a group and with individual riders.

I’ll use the example of skills. Riders need to get around the arena, demonstrating some of the horsemanship skills they know so they will ask “Miss Lena, may I weave three cones?” I tell them yes, we move on to the next obstacle. They ask “Miss Lena, may I take five steps forward?” I say no, you may take seven steps forward. And the game continues.

It allows riders to think outside the normal game, put their skills to use, pick the activity, and communicate with their instructor, volunteers, and horse. It also asks riders to count, consider shapes, repeat patterns, and think independently.

If riders struggle to think of something, I give them options such as “you can weave cones or circle a barrel” and the next time “you can walk forward five steps or you can back up three steps.” Sometimes having a choice between two obstacles is much easier than creating their own.

Let me know your thoughts on this game and if you’ve ever played something siilar in your lessons!

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