Got My Horse

10 Games and Obstacle Courses for Safe and Fun Horse Riding Lessons

Horse riding is a beautiful sport that requires a lot of skill and practice. When learning to ride, it’s important to mix up the exercises to keep riders engaged and enthusiastic about their practice.

One way to make horse riding lessons or camps more exciting is by incorporating games and obstacle courses. In this article, we will be discussing various games and obstacle courses that can be used to enhance horse riding lessons.

Mounting Games for Horse Riding Lessons and Camps

1. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is a classic game that can be adapted for horse riders.

To play the game, one rider is designated as the leader, and stands at one end of the arena while the other riders stand at the other end. When the leader says ‘Green Light,’ the other riders can begin to trot or canter towards them.

When the leader says ‘Red Light,’ the riders must stop their horse. The first rider to halt their horse closest to the leader is declared the winner.

2. Follow the Leader

In Follow the Leader, one rider is designated as the leader and starts moving around the arena.

The other riders must follow the leader’s movements and use the same gait as the leader. The leader should add obstacles and gait changes to make the game more challenging.

3. Simon Says

Simon Says is another classic game that can be adapted for horse riders.

The leader gives commands, but only the riders who hear the words ‘Simon says’ should obey the command. The riders who don’t follow the correct action are eliminated.

4. Riding a Pattern

In this game, the riders must complete an exercise pattern that is predetermined.

It can be a figure eight, a dressage test, a reining pattern, or any other maneuver. The first rider to complete the pattern correctly is declared the winner.

5. Egg and Spoon Race

In this game, riders compete in teams to carry an egg on a spoon while riding their horse.

The team that crosses the finish line first with the egg still on the spoon wins.

6. Ride-a-Buck

Ride-a-Buck is a game where riders place a dollar bill under their thigh, and must perform various exercises, such as a jumping course or a bareback ride. The rider who manages to keep the dollar bill in place for the longest time is declared the winner.

7. Timed Races

Timed races are all about speed.

The riders compete to see who can complete a specific race or gait in the shortest amount of time. The different types of races can include a horse race, gait race, relay race, slow race, or any other type of race that involves speed.

8. Agility Aces or Stepping Stones

In this game, riders must navigate through a course using stepping stones or other obstacles.

Riders must dismount their horses, lead their horse to the next obstacle, and then mount their horse again. The winner is the rider who completes the course in the shortest time.

9. Bucket Race

The Bucket Race is a relay race where riders must place a flag, bottle, or other item into a bucket before crossing the finish line.

Each rider must complete the task and then pass the baton to the next rider.

10. Bottle Exchange

In this game, riders must ride up to a table where a reusable bottle, a tennis ball, and a cone are placed. The rider must dismount, grab the bottle, place it on the cone, drop the tennis ball into the bottle, then remount their horse and ride back to the starting line.

The first rider to complete all of the steps is declared the winner.

Horse Race Games and Obstacle Courses

1. Cone Bending

In Cone Bending, riders must weave their horse through a series of cones or bending poles while maintaining a specific gait.

The rider who completes the pattern correctly in the shortest time is declared the winner.

2. Barrel Race

The Barrel Race involves riding in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels or cones in the shortest amount of time.

3. Keyhole Race

This game is similar to the Barrel Race, but instead of completing a cloverleaf pattern, the horse and rider must navigate through a marked area, turn around, and then return to the starting line.

4. Ribbon Race

In Ribbon Race, two riders are paired together, and each rider must hold one end of a ribbon. The objective is to take the ribbon from the opposing rider while riding in opposite directions.

The first rider to make it to the finish line with the ribbon in their possession wins.

5. High Jump aka Chase Me, Charlie

In High Jump, riders jump over a standard jump that begins at a lower height, with the height gradually increasing as the game continues. The riders who fail to clear the jump are eliminated, and the last rider standing is declared the winner.

6. Obstacle Courses

Obstacle courses consist of various obstacles, jumps, and ground poles.

The riders must navigate through the course while maintaining a certain gait. The course can be adjusted to suit the riders’ skill level.

7. Fill the Pitcher

Fill the Pitcher involves soaking a sponge in a bucket of water, then racing to fill an empty bucket with the water using the sponge.

The team that fills the bucket first wins.


Incorporating games and obstacle courses into horse riding lessons and camps can make learning to ride more exciting and engaging. The challenges presented in these games help riders develop their skills, and the competitive aspect provides an incentive to improve.

The games and obstacle courses discussed here require minimal preparation and can be adapted to suit riders of various levels. They offer an enjoyable way to keep riders motivated, improve their skills, and strengthen bonds between riders.

3) Importance of Safety and Fun for Riders and Horses

When engaging in equestrian activities, safety should always be paramount. Riders of all skill levels need to take great care when working with horses.

It is critical to ensure that the games and activities are adapted to the riders’ abilities and their horse’s temperament.

1. Safety First

Safety is critical in equestrian activities. The games and activities that riders engage in must be adapted to their skill levels, ensuring that the safety of both the rider and the horse is not jeopardized.

Beginners should stick to simpler games and exercises, while more advanced riders can participate in more challenging activities. The emphasis should always be on safety, and the riders should never be asked to perform beyond their comfort level.

In addition to adjusting the games to suit the rider’s skill level, it is crucial to ensure that the riders wear appropriate safety gear. Riders must wear an approved helmet at all times when riding, and properly fitting boots.

2. Adapting the Games

While many of these games are well-known and established, it is important to be able to adapt them for each rider’s skill level.

The instructor should have the discretion to modify the games and exercises to better suit individual riders, providing more or less of a challenge as needed.

Beginners might need to avoid high-intensity games and activities such as Races and timed events as they may be too difficult for less experienced riders to complete.

Hence, it is wise to have these games and activities for advanced level riders only. As the riders become more confident, and get accustomed to the different exercises, the games can be modified to create more challenging variants of the same games.

Games such as Simon Says, for instance, can have simpler commands for amateur riders, and when it comes to experienced riders, instructors can always demand to execute more complex instructions. Instructors need to direct the games in a way that brings fun to the activity, but also provides ample opportunities for riders to increase their skillset.

The key is to encourage riders to push themselves, but at the same time ensure that the game it not too easy or too hard for them.

3. Horse’s Fun

An essential part of playing games is that not only should the rider have some fun, but the horse should also enjoy itself. An unhappy horse will quickly become challenging to control, and it will make the lesson harder for the rider.

Horses experience fun differently to humans. However, it is important to recognize that horses enjoy the variety.

Interestingly, horses get bored doing the same thing repeatedly, so keep things mixed up!

One of the critical things to consider is not to pull on the horse’s mouth or kick them while riding. Such acts can cause discomfort, and the horse may not want to continue to play the game.

Riders should always be gentle and never get too aggressive while riding.

Overall, the instructor must ensure that the horse is enjoying itself.

If the horse is having a good time, the rider will find it easier to communicate with them, and the entire game becomes more enjoyable.

4) Conclusion

The importance of safety and fun in riding cannot be understated. Equestrian activities can be an enjoyable way to develop a rider’s skills and improve their relationship with their horse.

But at the same time, safety must be paramount, and the games and activities geared towards the skill level of the riders. Modifying the games to suit the rider’s abilities is crucial to ensure that the rider can push themselves while remaining safe.

Even if their skill set is not as comprehensive as other horse riders, there should be enough challenges that maintain the excitement while keeping a secure environment. The horse’s enjoyment is also critical.

It is the responsibility of the rider and the instructor to provide an atmosphere in which the horse can feel the fun and stay engaged. When the activity is enjoyable for both horse and rider, it’s a success, making it possible to maintain excellent relationships with the ponies while having a good time however it is done.

Incorporating games and obstacle courses can make horse riding lessons fun and engaging, but safety should always be a top priority. Games should be adapted to the riders’ skill levels, and the rider must wear appropriate safety gear.

The horse should also enjoy the game, and riders must never pull on the horse’s mouth or kick them. The importance of safety and fun in horse riding cannot be understated, as it can help maintain excellent relationships between horse and rider while having fun.


– What safety gear should a rider wear?

Riders must wear an approved helmet at all times, and properly fitting boots.

– Should games be adapted to the rider’s skill level?

Yes, games should be modified to better suit the individual rider, and provide more or less of a challenge as needed.

– Is it essential for the horse to enjoy the game too?

Yes, the horse’s enjoyment is critical, and riders must ensure that they are having fun.

– Should riders pull on the horse’s mouth or kick them while riding?

No, riders should never get too aggressive while riding and must be gentle with the horse.

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