Why are Shapes Important?

Throughout this month, we’ve been talking about colors and shapes. I’ve mentioned several times how much I like playing with colors and shapes in my lessons. I use and re-use colors and shapes in tons of ways in my lessons. I’ve been teaching for thirteen years and haven’t been bored with colors and shapes yet! You know who else loves playing with colors and shapes without getting bored? Kids!

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Why Are Colors Important?

Our whole world is made up of colors and shapes. They are often the first ways we learn to interact with the world around us: a red square, a yellow ball, etc. Colors and shapes are extremely noticeable. We see them and recognize them and categorize them every day; much more than we do with numbers or letters. This is a big reason why children learn colors and shapes first.

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Meet Where You Are

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.

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Obstacle Courses

What You Need:
Poles

Cones
Barrels
Cavaletti
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.

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ESMHL Workshop

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.

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Off Horse Activities: Tacking

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!