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How to "Play" with Your Horse/Pony

Community Q&A

"Playing" with your horse/pony is a cross between join-up and free-schooling. The main difference is that you aren't forcing your horse to do anything. It is just like playing with a big dog!


  1. 1
    Make sure that the arena/field that you are using is empty. There should be no other horses/ponies in the arena. There should also be no blocks or jumps in the way. You can have some light-weight blocks and poles at the side to make a jump with later.
  2. 2
    Get your horse ready. Depending on the weather you might need to put a rug on your horse/pony. Your horse/pony should also have a headcollar on. It does not have to be leather or "field safe" because you are not leaving your horse/pony unattended.
  3. 3
    Lead your horse/pony into the arena and unclip the lead rope. Let your horse/pony have a bit of free time. If they want to go galloping and bucking then this is their chance. If they just stand there looking bored don't worry.
  4. 4
    Develop a bit of a feel for how much your horse/pony likes to play, what they do if you pick up a whip, etc.
    • Lead your horse around. By doing this, you get your horse comfortable with you and she will trust you a little bit more.
  5. 5
    Move toward the middle of the ring. Start to walk towards your horse/pony. Your should be just opposite your horse's/pony's shoulder. Now encourage your horse/pony to start moving. If your horse/pony is quite lazy you could use a whip at this stage, as if you are lunging.
  6. 6
    Start running with your horse/pony. This game is called "Chase" or "It". You can start getting your horse/pony to run with you.
  7. 7
    If your pony/horse is in the mood, you can add a jump to jump (but don't start forcing him/her to jump). Or, introduce a horse ball.

Community Q&A

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  • Do you jump over the jump with them?
    wikiHow Contributor
    No, you should run around the side of the jump, but go to the center of the jump after you run around it. Jumping over it yourself may startle the horse.
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  • Although you can play in the field, it is better that you don't play in the field that you turn your horse out in. Otherwise, their play time is confused with their relaxation time.
  • A horse has its own individual "Play Bow." This indicates they want to play. Use this to see if your horse wants to play.
  • Ride your horse. You can understand your horse a lot better this way and will get a good bond with her.


  • Don't scare your pony or horse. Always spend time at the "bonding" with the pony or horse.
  • Don't play if your horse or pony is not in the mood.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Care

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