Playing with a hula hoop helps build Quest’s confidence and encourage his curiosity. We played with it moving toward him and away from him, as well as touching him, at rest and while walking around.
The hoop can be very interesting for horses, in part because it brings up our own sense of play — we respond to the hula hoop as a toy rather than as a serious tool. When we feel relaxed and playful, our horses can feel more free to relax and play with us.
You and your horse can do all kinds of things with a hula hoop. Here are some ideas. (Make sure you have done enough preparation for your horse on the ground before you attempt the riding games!)
- Lay the hoop on the ground and ask your horse to place just one or two feet inside the circle. If that is too easy, have him do a turn on the forehand in the circle.
- Rub your horse with the hoop.
- Teach your horse to put his nose or head through the hoop while you hold the hoop up for him.
- Put out some cones or barrels, get a few hoops, and mount up. Ride a pattern, tossing the hoops over the cones or barrels as you ride by.
- Ride a pattern with a friend, tossing the hoop back and forth to each other. Alternatively, try this one with one or both of you on the ground with the horses on-line.