What You Need:
I love games that have a real world takeaway. This is a fun, easy game to play for any rider. As always, scale the game appropriately for the rider’s skill level.
This game makes the most sense with an actual mailbox and “letters” but can be played with different toys if you do not have a mailbox. I know many programs have mailboxes that sit on their arena fence, stand alone, or are part of a sensory trail. Repurposed buckets or cardboard boxes work too.
The game is a little self explanatory… the objective is to get the rider to mail a letter. The rider needs to pick up a letter, ride to the mailbox, open the mailbox, put the letter in, close the mailbox, and lift the mailbox flag. If using a cardboard box or bucket, cut a slit in the top that will fit a letter and have riders slide the letter in. I recommend making a ‘flag’ for this as well so the riders need to lift up the flag if there’s a letter in it.
If there is an off-horse portion to your program, riders can create their own letters to mail when they play the game on horseback. Riders can also act as the mailman and deliver the letters. Have riders create letters for a parent, caregiver, friend, sibling, teacher and after they mail the letter, they go back and get the letter out of the mailbox then deliver that letter. This works really well if riders deliver to the person who is at the barn with them. If mom is watching, rider goes to get the letter and then rides over and hands the letter to mom.
This game is a fun way to introduce your riders to all the jobs horses have. Tell them about the Pony Express and how horses used to help deliver mail all over the country.
Mailing a letter works on fine and gross motor skills, balance, stretching, cross body reaching, standing in stirrups, steering the horse, following directions, sequential events, and pattern recognition. It also provides a life skill in mailing a letter.
Have you played this game before? What variations have you used?