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.
The greatest lesson horses have taught me is to meet people where they are in that moment. Because horses are prey animals, they only live in the present. They need to be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to adapt to a situation on a moment’s notice; this does not allow them to dwell on the past or future.
The last of our off-horse activities will be a 2-part post since there’s so much to cover! We’ve discussed lots of ideas for off-horse activities, but today I want to bring the horse back into the activity. Colors are one of the first things our students will notice about the horse so it’s a great place to start teaching students about horses.
What You Need:
Anything your heart desires!
I love obstacle courses. They are so versatile and help keep riders engaged. I usually do obstacle courses every 8-10 weeks with my riders, if not more often. You can adjust a course to be whatever you want, which is why I like them so much. My center doesn’t have as many toys and goodies as some other centers and we are still able to put together a great obstacle course.
Today we’re shifting gears slightly. Most of the off-horse activities we have been talking about have all been related to the horse. This week, I want to talk about gardening. How is this related to horses? Let me tell you.
Hello cowboys and cowgirls! I have some exciting news to share with you! Recently, I went to a workshop to start the process for my ESMHL Certification. ESMHL stands for Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Once I finish my certification, it gives me the ability to run EAAT (equine-assisted activities and therapy) sessions in partnership with an educator and/or mental health professional.
Tacking rounds out the fifth pillar of riding: groom, tack, ride, untack, groom. Teaching riders to tack gives them the complete picture of riding their horse, helps them learn a new skill, and puts their physical body to work.
Tacking can include actually tacking up a horse or it can be used to teach riders about different types of tack. In therapeutic riding activities, we typically see English and Western saddles, bareback pads, surcingles, and possibly Australian saddles, side saddles, or adaptive equipment.
There are also different types of pads and girths, halters and bridles, and accessories like a martingale. You can adapt the lesson to your individual riders based on how in-depth you want the lesson to be. The beauty of tacking is that it can be taught over a few weeks to cover all the basic tack and also teach parts of the tack.
I typically use tacking to teach riders how to tack up their horse correctly and to learn the parts of tack. Sometimes we clean tack and learn each piece of tack and other times we will tack up the horse. I find tack lessons usually help engage the rider mentally and it is easy to bring them back to the task at hand if they get distracted.
Do you teach tacking in your lessons? What’s something you’ve noticed when your riders learn about tack? Let me know in the comments below!