Friday, November 16, 2012

Play Time

I don't know about you, but I love playing horseback games with my horses.

My trainer at home used to have game nights where you'd bring your horse and pay $20 that would later be put into a jackpot and play things like trotting races (definitely a favorite of mine), simon says, soccer, relay races, dollar bill races, egg and spoon, and a personal favorite: tag.

I have some really fun memories from those game nights. I think the best night was playing freeze tag. Two people got carrot sticks (the Parelli lunge whips minus the string) and they had to tag the humans (this is all mounted) and once tagged you had to stand still. I was the last person that didn't get tagged so Jazz and I were cantering all around the arena, weaving in and out of horses and trying to stay un-tagged for as long as possible. I narrowly squeaked by one of the "it" people and she was so over-acheiving that when I ran past she hit me as hard as she could with the carrot stick on my thigh because in the past she had been too slow to hit me. We all had a good laugh over that, especially since it didn't really hurt. I still tease her though, "Remember that one time when you hauled off and whacked me with a carrot stick?"

Soccer is another favorite and Jazz and I were champs at it. We were only beat by one girl and her horse who bit other people's horses so of course she did well because every other horse wanted to stay as far away from that horse as possible, lol. In any case, I love teaching my horses to kick the big bouncy balls around because it's entertaining, some of them have fun doing it, and it's a great way of desensitizing them.

I hadn't introduced Tux to one yet and the ball at the barn had rolled into the middle of the arena when I went to go ride so I figured I'd see what he thought. He was completely interested in it - ears glued forward. I led him around for a bit while I pushed the ball so he could see that he could chase it, then let him push it with his nose, then his legs. He was pretty much completely fine with it so I got on and let him play with it undersaddle, trying to teach him that pushing it with his nose and kicking it was good, but stomping on it or pinning it with his nose then stepping on it was bad. He had a blast! New favorite toy of his I think.

I got a video of him playing with it while I'm riding him so it is a pretty odd perspective, but I think it's adorable. Jetta also likes playing with the ball, but Tux is even more enthusiastic about it. Have I mentioned I love training babies? They're so much fun!

Our ride was fantastic and pretty hilarious. We played with the ball for a bit and Tux learned an important lesson about how stepping on the ball is bad and we almost went down. Silly boy. I relegated the ball to the far end of the arena and got to work. He was pretty much a rockstar. But, whenever we passed the ball hanging out on the wall, he'd prick his ears toward it and drift closer. We were cantering and I hadn't been paying attention to how close we were to the ball and lo and behold he was locked onto the bouncy ball and was running it down! Steering is still sometimes optional in the canter and he was so focused on his ball that I knew he wasn't going to turn. I just had visions of both of his front feet landing on the ball, him falling on his side and me flying off. Luckily, he hit just right with his front feet so that he kicked it instead of stepping on it (all during the canter mind you) and it bounced away in the opposite direction so that I could rein him in and take a deep breath before I fell off of him because I was laughing so hard. My life almost flashed before my eyes! He is such a funny horse.


  1. That is SO cute! I have tried so hard to get my youngsters interested in playing ball.
    Apparently grass is much more interesting :P

  2. I used to play pony tag all the time! Made even more exciting by the fact that the pony I rode was a little spit-fire who loved bucking people off.

  3. Haha, Jessica, what's a game of tag without a bit of danger on the side? That's pretty cute :) Wish I knew people in my area that would join me for game nights like I used to go to... So much fun!