Red Rover, Red Rover

What You Need:
-A Loud Instructor Voice

Since it’s summertime, I thought this might be a timely post if anyone is holding camps or large groups this summer. This game is great for big groups and it’s easy to play with almost any level of riding abilities.

You can play this game one of two ways: riders against each other or riders against instructor. Red Rover, Red Rover was (is?) a popular playground game that includes a large group of people. It requires two groups of people to line up facing each other. One team chants “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (name) over!” The person who gets called from Team B runs to the other line and attempts to break up the chain of Team A. If they succeed, they take a player back to their original team. If they fail, they stay with Team A. The goal is for everyone to end up on one side.

Now, I make some adjustments to this game to keep it safe and keep it entertaining while on horseback. As I mentioned, there are two options.

Option A: Have riders play with each other. Works best for big groups of independent riders, like camps or adults.

In this version, riders create the lines to have an equal number on both sides. You need a minimum of four riders and a maximum of ten for teams of 2-5 people. Instead of breaking a line, I have riders complete a task on the first try. This can be something like shooting a basketball, ringing a cone, or playing catch. If the rider completes the task on the first try, they win and get to go back to their team with another rider. If they do not complete it on the first try, they stay with their new team.

Option B: Have the instructor be on one side and the riders in a line on the other side.

This is similar to the version above, except the instructor starts the game by calling the rider over. The goal this time is for the riders to all join the instructor. If they don’t complete the task the first time, they go back to their team and wait for their name to be called again.

This game requires patience, focus, attention to others, and learning names, faces, and social cues. It also requires horsemanship skills to whoa, steer, ride independently, and stand still.

I hope you find this useful! Let me know in the comments if you are hosting a camp this year or if this is helpful for you.

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