As you go over safety rules with campers, have the campers act out the rules. Instructors may need to assist in the skits to break the ice! The campers really enjoy this activity once you get them going - its a lot of laughs! This is also a nice activity to play in the shade in the afternoon when its too hot to do anything that requires a lot of moving around.
Assign a camper as the horse and another kid as a camper of course! Let the kids know that they will act out the rules as they are read, right on the spot! For example, the one camper acts as the horse that spooks while the other camper runs past the horse - they are acting out what not to do. You can have each camper get a chance to act or just the ones that volunteer.
Game Two - Charades
Print or write out the safety rules. Pick one/two kids to act out the safety rule and the other campers have to guess what rule it is!
Here are examples of safety rules you can use for your skits:
- No running in the barn/around the horses.
- No screaming as it can startle the horses.
- Always speak to your horse before approaching or touching him. Some horses are likely to jump and may kick when startled.
- Always approach your horse from the front. If he’s turned away from you, call to him or entice him with a treat to get him to come to you. Never approach your horse directly from the rear. Even in a tie stall, it is possible to approach from an angle at the rear.
- Pet a horse by first placing a hand on its shoulder or neck. The touch should be a rubbing action.
- If he is tied, get him to look at you. Always notice a horse’s expression before advancing.
- When working around your horse, wear boots or hard-toed shoes to protect your feet. Never wear tennis shoes, moccasins or go barefoot.
- When working around your horse, tie him securely with a quick-release knot, or have someone hold him with a lead rope. Use cross-ties when possible, but be sure they have panic snaps or are secured with a breakable tie, such as baling twine.
- Always work close to your horse. If you are near his shoulder, you won’t be struck with the full force of his feet. Nor will you receive the full force of a kick if you stay close to the body when you work about the haunches or pass behind your horse.
- Never stand directly behind a horse or directly in front of him.
- Be calm, confident, and collected around horses. A nervous handler can make a nervous horse.
- Do not drop grooming tools under foot while grooming. Place them where you will not trip on them and the horse will not step on them.
- If the halter is too loose, the horse may catch a foot in it, especially if he is trying to scratch his head with a hind foot. A loose halter may catch on fence posts or other pasture objects. Some halter materials will shrink if they get wet, so be sure to check the fit.
- When leading your horse, walk beside him—not ahead or behind. A position even with the horse’s head or halfway between the horse’s head and its shoulder is considered safest.
- Always turn the horse away from you when releasing to turn-out
- It is customary to lead from the left (near side), using the right hand to hold the lead, near the halter. The excess portion of the lead should be folded, figure-eight style. When leading, extend your right elbow slightly toward the horse. If the horse makes contact with you, its shoulder will hit your elbow first and move you away from it. Your elbow can also be used in the horse’s neck to keep the head and neck straight as well as to prevent the horse from crowding you. A horse should be workable from both sides, even for mounting and dismounting.
- Never wrap the lead shank or reins around your hand, wrist, or body. A knot at the end of the lead shank aids in maintaining a secure grip when needed for control. Never drape a lead shank or reins across your shoulders or neck.
- Don’t wear jewelry around horses. Rings can cut deeply into fingers, and bracelets can get caught in reins or lead lines. Dangling earrings are particularly dangerous.
- Be extremely cautious when leading a horse through a narrow opening, such as a door. Be certain you have firm control and step through first. Step through quickly and get to one side to avoid being crowded.
- At any time you are dismounted or leading the horse, the stirrup irons on an English saddle should be run up or dressed. Be cautious of the stirrups of a Western saddle, which can catch on objects.
- Never tie your horse by the reins as he may pull back and break the reins or injure his mouth. Always use a halter.
- When riding, wear boots with proper heels to prevent your feet from slipping through the stirrups.
- Always wear protective headgear, properly fitted and fastened.
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