When planning a horse-themed party, whether for a horse-crazy child or your riding stable's celebration, add games to the activity list that raise competitive spirits and rouse laughter. While the games are simple enough for younger ones, older kids and adults might laugh the hardest as they get their sillies on.
Pin the Halter on the Horse
For a horse variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, use a horse poster or have a print shop produce a poster-size picture you supply with a copyright-free image of a horse. Cut out the horse and attach it to a wall. Find an image of a horse halter online and print one copy per game player. Blindfold the first child up and proceed with the game as you would for the traditional version. To make it more challenging, have each player "pin" other items to the horse as well, such as a paper saddle and yarn tail.
Pretty Pony Tails
Unless the party is at a stable where each guest has his own horse, divide party-goers divide into teams. Each team is given a hobby horse or a sawhorse with a synthetic horse-hair tail to style. Give prizes for the prettiest, craziest, neatest and most creative tails. Alternatively, include in the party invitations a note telling guests there will be a tail styling contest and to bring a toy horse that has a tail. Provide decorative hair materials such as beads and ribbons. Depending on the number of contestants and categories, everyone might win in this game, but a grand-prize winner can get the biggest prize.
Right From the Horse's Mouth
To play this spin-off of the classic Simon Says, instruct players to only follow a direction if it comes straight from the horse's mouth. The caller asks the group to perform equestrian actions such as gallop, jump, walk, kick, swish your tail (wiggle), whinny, snort, scratch your back -- rub your back on the ground or on someone else's back -- prance and rear. Instead of the classic Simon Says formation, the group can move in a circle to allow for more room as they gallop around or it can perform these actions in place in lines.
Hold a relay race where team members race to a pile of cowboy and/or English equestrian clothing and throws on a helmet or cowboy hat; shirt, jacket or vest; riding breeches' jeans or chaps; and boots. If an oversize pair of pants fall off or the wind catches a hat, the contestant stops and puts it back on before racing back to his team, removing the articles while the next runner puts them on then races to the line where he removes them, runs back and tags the next in line to repeat the mad dash. The first team with all members to complete the race wins. Older kids might like the additional challenge of having lightweight hurdles or barrels to run around along the course.
If the horse-themed games are for an equestrian-related event such as a pony club party, it's safe to assume the guests will appreciate horse-related prizes such as books about horses, horse models and horse-show fantasy online game subscriptions. If the party is for a child's birthday, make sure everyone gets some sort of prize, with the winners getting the "biggest" prizes. If the party is for mixed ages, including adults, prizes might include items such as gift certificates to a nearby or online tack store, a mug with a horse picture and related quote, and a lucky horseshoe knickknack or pendant. Or purchase small trophies and have them engraved with cute or humorous sayings that fit the games. A plate of treats based on horse-favored foods makes a nice participation prize -- think apple pastries, carrot cake and molasses cookies.
Cindy Blankenship, a California native, began reporting in 1996 for the Grants Pass Daily Courier after teaching in Hawaii where she lived 14 years. As assistant editor at the Rogue River Press, she wrote and edited several stories that earned awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Her writing appears in numerous publications.