“Oh, what fun it is to ride on a one horse open sleigh!” Oh, what fun it is to ride and sing sleighing songs from horseback this time of year! A group of kids enjoyed doing just that, and shared their Christmas Spirit with some lucky neighbors, at a 4-H “Riding Horse Christmas Party”. The party was planned, organized and run by Beverly Poorman, the Huasna Valley 4-H Horse Leader.
The carolers brought their own Christmas wear for themselves and their trusty mounts. Beverly had some Santa Hats available. On top of Christmas caroling, the horse group also played “Reindeer Games”, and experienced a Survivor Food Scavenger Hunt. Activities like these build lasting connections between friends and horses, turning kids into life-long horse enthusiasts.
Connecting Horses and Kids
Connecting horses and kids brings joy to both parties. Party activities are engaging to kids, teens and adults alike. People with different horse skill levels enjoy and participate together. Beverly gives us this example: “Angel just turned 13, his first year in 4H and in a horse group with his best friend Kenny. He has not had much experience around horses and was nervous at first getting on the horse, but by the end of the day he said, “I love horses and they are so much fun!” Creating the fun horse games with the kids creates an environment that gives them handling experience and they forget their fears discovering how wonderful it is to be with these beautiful animals.
10 Steps to Rocking Your Horses and Kids Holiday Party
Step 1. Set the date time and location – The best option works for you and the majority of your invitees.
Step 2. Write out the guest list – Gather contact info for all guests.
Step 3. Choose invitation format – simple e-mail | e-vite | handwritten cards.
Step 4. Design invitation – Include: What/Why (of party), When (date and time), Where, What to Bring, What is Provided and Request RSVP.
Step 5. Send Invitations – Consider the lead time invitees will need to be available to attend the party; 2 weeks to 10 days before the party usually works.
Step 6. Plan Activities –
Horse Christmas Caroling – Decide which songs your group will enjoy singing. Beverly pre-printed the words to the songs they sang and included the song sheet as an attachment in her e-mail invite. Get your own FREE Horse Caroling Song sheet here <.
Mounted riders and dismounted helpers traveled as a group stopping at the neighbor’s homes and bringing Christmas Cheer. Beverly pre-contacted the neighbors to be sure they would be home and OK with the horse carolers stopping by. Every neighbor was very excited to be included.
Reindeer Games – Horse relay games were the main focus of the party fun time. Here are a few fun ideas!
- Horse Bran Eating Contest – Buckets of bran mash are made up by the kids: one bucket per participating horse each with an equal amount of bran, add water, kids stir and mix bran mash by hand. At the “go” signal the horses are brought to the buckets to eat the bran mash freely. Spacing of the horses and consideration of horses which are protective of their food should be planned for in advance. The kids cheer for their horse to finish the bran mash first. The winner is the kid whose horse is first to completely finish the bran mash.
- Tennis Racket Relay – Needed for two teams: Two Tennis rackets and two golf balls, two lines of kids and two horses. Objective: Kids “run” a relay while leading the horse and holding the tennis racket face-up and balancing a golf ball on the netting. The course goes down the arena and around a barrel and back to the line. The kid transfers the horse, tennis racket and ball to the next kid in line until all kids have completed the race. The team to complete the relay first is declared the winner. If the golf ball falls off the racket the kid must stop, retrieve and replace the golf ball before continuing on.
- Lead a Horse to Water Bucket Challenge – Needed for two teams: 4 buckets, and 2 large sponges and water for two of the buckets. Objective: Fill the empty bucket with water from first bucket via the sponge while leading the horse. Place empty bucket down the arena from the filled bucket, which is placed with the team. Place sponge in full bucket. Each kid on his turn dunks the sponge and leads the horse to the empty second bucket and squeezes the water out into the second bucket. The first team to fill their second bucket wins the Water Bucket Challenge.
Horse Craft Ideas: Make horse Christmas ornaments, decorate horse shoes, etc. Look on Pinterest for crafty horse ideas.
Step 7. Get R.S.V.P’s – Contact people who have not responded.
Step 8. Plan the timing of each party event. Allow enough time for everything to be accomplished. Suggested timing is 30 mins per game and an hour for Horse Christmas Caroling. Plan the craft. Plan the snacks, meal or dessert.
Step 9. Gather materials – Get the food, drinks, party goods, game materials, craft materials.
Step 10. Prepare for the Party – Set up games, let the neighbors know the group will be caroling and about what time. Decorate, set out food and party supplies.
Enjoy the day!
Need a checklist to get rocking on planning your Horses and Kids Party? Get our FREE 10 Steps to Rocking Your Horses and Kids Holiday Party here <
Pictures and game ideas by Beverly Poorman