Obstacles And Games

Plywood "Bridge", teeter-totter, gate, mailbox, slicker, broomstick, "polo", tarp, tunnel, squeeze chute, labyrinth, L backing shoot, cross-rail.

Add a square to side pass around. This teaches total control of both ends of the horses. This also can be used as a 360 turn around. Try a water hazard, ground tie where the rider dismounts, then ground tie and walk a large circle around the horse, without touching the horse. The horse needs to stand still.

Play polo. By yourself is just fine. I can be done with a kitchen broom and a blow-up beach ball or a child's ball. Soccer and basketballs might be a little too heavy for a broom, but can be used with a mallet or hockey stick. This can be done on the ground with your horse, with your horse saddled and being lead, or under saddle. There is a focus for you and the horse (horses sometimes get into this one!). Added benefits are: horse becomes desensitized to things swishing in and out of his vision and things rolling on the ground, you get more practice on your independent seat.

Cloverleaf pattern~imaging the arena set up as a cloverleaf; start from the center point, walk down the middle to the rain, make a right turn and walk to the center point of this rail, make another right turn and walk straight towards the same point on the opposite rail (crossing over your starting point), make another right turn, etc. You will eventually walk the cloverleaf pattern and end up at your starting point. Reverse and make turns to the left. This can also be done by leading the horse or riding.

Serpentine cones or standing poles set up in a line down the center of the arena.

Penny pitch from the saddle or standing at the mounting position. Gets your horse used to movement in the saddle, helps with your balance and focus.

Put a hoola hoop in the middle of the arena. Walk the arena, return to the hoola hoop and put the horse's front feet in the hoop (or at first, see how close you can get!).

Off Horse Games
  1. Hold carrot stick balanced on open palm…I call out the 'gaits'.
  2. Person who is horse 'acts up'...how / what do?
  3. One with bit the other uses reins.
  4. BG movements.
  5. Toss various sized balls back and forth while in different 'gaits'.
  6. Blindfolded ..one leads the other over obstacles.
  7. Mounting from fence panel.
  8. Around the world holding hands sitting on fence.
On Horse Exercises
  1. Around the world
  2. Arms straight out to each side…walk and canter=the arms move in small circles in movement with the horse's momentum…feel him, don't make arms move. Trot = arms straight out in front of you, move each arm up and down alternately with horse's movement. Best to start bareback, if in saddle, work up to do without stirrups.
  3. 10 steps forward, prepare on the 7th to stop on the 10th.
  4. Hindquarters stay, walk front end around. Front stays, walk hind end around.
  5. Move hindquarters ¼ of a turn to the right and then bring front end across.
  6. Stop and back 5 steps
  7. Pick up a soft feel, swing ½ circle to left, release when back on rail.
  8. Cavaletti…2'-2'6" = walk 3'-3'6" = trot. Closer causes horse to round up, more engagement of hocks and shorter stride. Farther apart cause to lengthen stride. Raise no more than 6" and make them closer together. EXERCISE… which foot is going over pole when.
  9. Bring out weird stuff…umbrellas, trampoline, old stuffed toys, remote control cars, backpacks…spook in place. Tests emotional fitness of both!
  10. Liberty load
  11. Find the human
  12. Games require moving one foot at a time

Building A Drum

~By Dr. Deb Bennett

So here's a verbal description. Go to the local junkyard and obtain an aluminum wheel from a semi truck. Try to get one in which the webbing with the lug-holes, that would have been oriented to the outside when the wheel was on the truck, is flush with or sunken into the rim rather than above it.

Now go to the lumberyard and get a 4' X 8' sheet of 3/4" plywood. Saw the sheet in half so that you have two 4' X 4' pieces.

Set the wheel down in the center of one of the pieces and trace around the rim with a pen. Then take a saber saw and cut out the circle. This will be the "mounting surface" of your drum.

Put the circle on the ground and set the wheel on it so that the webbing with the lug-holes is setting down on the circle. Take a pen and trace the position of the lug-holes.

Remove the wheel and with a drill, make about a 3/8" hole in the center of each circle that marked a lug-hole.

Now bolt the circle to the wheel. Use carriage bolts that have a shank about 3/8" -- i.e., same size as the holes you just drilled. Do NOT use bolts with square or hex heads; get the kind with the heads that are half-round in shape. To bolt them on, you'll need nuts to fit and also some real big washers. The washers should have center holes just big enough to pass over the shanks of your bolts, but their outside rim diameter needs to be so big that they are bigger than the lug holes in the wheels, so as not to pull through. When you have all these parts, stack the plywood circle on top of the wheel so that the holes you drilled in the plywood line up with the lug holes. Drop a bolt through each hole so that the head of the bolt is on the side of the plywood. Reaching into the wheel, thread on one of the big washers, and then a nut, and tighten the nut. To do the very best job, you'll also want to countersink the heads of the bolts, either by tightening the nut very firmly with a socket wrench so as to crush it down into the substance of the wood, or by using a broad drill-bit to make a proper countersink in the plywood before you put the bolt through. Either way, the object is to totally prevent ANY chance of the head of the bolt loosening up and rising, so that if your horse shuffles up there in shod feet, it could never catch in his shoe (what a wreck that would be, and completely destroy his confidence in the drum too).

OK, now you've assembled the wheel with the plywood mounting surface. Now, take a 1/2" or 3/4" bit and drill holes at intervals around the rim of the wheel. You're drilling the "lower" rim now, the one opposite the lug hole webbing, which would originally have been the inner rim of the wheel as mounted on the truck. Drill the holes at as "vertical" an angle as possible, going in just above the little rounded beading that once held the tire on. The beading will force you to drill somewhat obliquely...just wing it and do your best. You'll need to make a minimum of four holes.

Now take the wheel and center it on the other 4' X 4' piece of plywood. This is going to be your anti-tipping base. Poke your drill bit through one of the holes you just made just above the lower rim, and "extend" the hole down into the plywood. You might need an extra-long drill bit to do this, especially if you had to drill a fairly oblique hole. "Extend" the holes for all the oblique holes you drilled.

Now you'll need some fairly long bolts...they have to go through the rim and also down through the plywood. Have a helper hold the wheel and tip the whole assembly up on edge so you can put the bolts through and thread on the nuts. You can use washers too if you like but for this they don't have to be any bigger than ordinary. Tighten the nuts firmly, again with the object of seeking to remove any chance of the horse catching his shoes on anything projecting from the drum.

As a last step you can take bolt cutters and cut off the ends of the lower bolts, if they're sticking out...short bolts makes for easier dragging, especially through grass.

You can also paint it if you like. This drum is fairly heavy and cumbersome, but it has the advantages of cheapness (under $20 to make), durability, and it's hard to tip over, especially if you bury the plywood base. If you live in a rainy climate, a coat of good enamel paint will make it last at least several years before the plywood parts need replacement.

After you make one of these and your horses get to enjoying it, you'll never want to be without a drum again. At that point you may start getting creative on other ways to build drums...I made one this summer without using a wheel, of 2X4's with a round top just big enough that I could put a large-sized "Fortex" rubber feeder on top of it like a cap. Now I don't have to worry about rain rotting this one, and it gives Paint a non-skid rubber surface to work on too. Bet the "Fortex" people never thought their feeder would find such a use!

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