Why We Play Games With Horses

Did you know that horses love to play games? They do! Horses are very playful animals.

Rocky gives baby Centella a cone

Horse games are a lot like people games.

These are just a few of the games that horses play with each other:

  • Keep Away
  • Splashing
  • Racing
  • Tug-o’-War
  • Tag
  • Wrestling
  • Follow the Leader
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do

Horses play games for the same reasons you do.

Horses play games to have fun with their friends, just like you do, and horses will play different games with the different horses in their herd. Some horses love any game with running, like Tag. Other horses just want to stand in the shade and play Tug-o’-War with a stick.

Here are some other reasons why horses play games:

  • Build trust with other horses so that the herd knows who is the leader.
  • Practice important skills like running, jumping, turning, and walking backwards.
  • Compete to see who is fastest, strongest, or smartest that day.
  • Exercise their bodies and their minds.
  • Explore a new object and see how much fun they can have with it.

Horses also play games to teach younger horses how to communicate and how to have good manners.

Playing from the ground helps you learn to ride.

Everything you do in the saddle can be learned and practiced from the ground. Here are just a few reasons your lessons include playing from the ground before you ride:

Most importantly, playing with horses from the ground teaches you the language of horses. Understanding how horses “speak” will help you stay safe and have fun with horses whether you are riding, playing, or just hanging out.


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