Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In-hand gymkhana

Need another idea for a saddle-free performance entry

All of the gymkhana games at our recent Halloween barn party were conducted in-hand.  Although a few horses wore saddles, bridles and Halloween costumes, the majority were outfitted in a plain stable halter and lead rope.
All of the games followed the same basic pattern.  Each contestant led his or her horse through a row of cones, turned the horse around a barrel and then led him back through the cones.  For safety reasons, cantering was not allowed. 
 The first game was egg and spoon
Handlers balanced an egg on a spoon while negotiating their way through the cones.  Since this was a race rather than an elimination class, every handler who dropped her egg needed to return to the starting line and try again. 
Next up was the back up race.  Instead of simply leading their horses around the barrel, each contestant had to turn it around and back it up. 
 This sounds simple in theory...
but in practice... 
it was surprisingly difficult! 
The last race was the bubble gum race.   
After weaving their way through the cones, handlers had to unwrap a piece of gum (which had been placed atop the barrel), chew it and blow a bubble.  
Once again, this proved to be easier said than done...
although most of the horses tried to help!  
If you're looking to give performance a try, these are some easy ways to do it without spending a lot on tack or props.  As always, feel free to use my photos and class descriptions for your live show performance documentation.  And don't forget--I'd love to see a picture of your entry!


  1. Fun ideas! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Haha, I've not seen completely unmounted gymkhana games before! I remember vividly doing ones at my old riding school at Halloween. You raced to the top of the school, leapt off, then 'dooked' for an apple while someone held your pony. Apple in mouth, you ran back to the start with them, fed your pony the apple, then plunged your face into a plate of icing sugar to find the hidden polo mint. The first to find it was the winner! Of course everyone ended up sopping wet and covered in icing sugar but that was half the fun I suppose. XD

  3. Such fun/ cool in- hand horse games! Btw, i have four non realated coments/ questions:
    - has Pixie ever had a saddle rat photoshoot before?
    - how is the model rev portrait coming along?
    - what happen between you, Cheif, and Snickers? ( you never posted the second half of that story and I'm DYING to find out!)
    - I'm going to my first open show ever this weekend. Have any suggestions for a newbie? ( I'm only showing halter. Don't have any lsq tack lol)
    Thanks and best regards,
    ~ Hailie Brown

    1. -Pixie is probably our cutest rat so far, which is a good thing because she's not very cooperative. She won't stop picking on sweet, old Jellybean, so for the first time EVER we have rats in two cages rather than one. She's also been much too rowdy for saddles so far. Hopefully, she'll settle down as she gets older. :)
      -Last time I saw the Rev portrait it looked AWESOME and nearly done. I can't wait until he comes home.
      -Eventually, I'll get back to Snickers and Chief. I need to go back and read some old journals and gather photos/pictures.
      -Best advice for a first show--don't take too many horses. It's easy to get overwhelmed. Also, try to introduce yourself to people. For the most part, model horse people are very friendly, but sometimes they get so busy talking to old friends, they forget to welcome the newbies. Try not to take this personally. In most cases, people will be very happy to help you and talk to you if you ask. Most important--have fun and take lots of pictures!


  4. aw that little girl trying to back her pony up is too cute

  5. Thanks for all the great performance ideas! Your blog is a treasure trove of info to us hobbyists who want to venture into showing.

  6. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
    I may have to use one for this weekend!