I wanted to make today’s lesson fun, so, instead of drilling the riders in their posture and hand positions, I decided to make today game day and devised a barn version of streets and alleys.  On the playground, this is a game of tag, but in the arena, it’s a fun way to teach the young riders how to steer quickly and be aware of where the other horses are in the arena.

I set up three rows of cones, the long way in the arena.  Two rows were near the rail, where we usually have cones, the third row, which was really barrels since I didn’t have enough cones, ran down the center.  Between the rows of cones, I placed poles.  The cones going the long way were the streets; the poles going the short way were the alleys.  The riders had to weave when they were on a street, but not when they were in the alley. 

When I called “streets” or “alleys” the riders had to turn as soon as they could.  There was no correct way to turn.  Left or right, whichever way they chose, just as long as they didn’t run into another horse!

Everyone…the riders, volunteers, and parents thought it was a great experience.  Most of the time the riders are single file, keeping proper spacing between themselves and the other horses.  Never passing each other, and never going in opposite directions toward each other.  Today they learned how to navigate around the barrel with one horse on each side.  They learned how to ride along side each other when they both turned into the same alley.  They learned how to be aware of the other riders and stop their horse if another horse was crossing in front of their path.

But, most important, they learned they could have a lot of fun riding their horses!