HorseSense Challenge:


#stayathomechallenge logo

HorseSense Challenge:


Pandemic restrictions got you down? Join us for a fun online horsemanship challenge from the comfort of your  own barn!

 This challenge will help encourage you to work with your horse on your own — and to connect with the equine community.



Tap or hover over each image to see instructions:


#stayathomechallenge - 6 ground poles in a star
Set out six poles to form a snowflake. Ride or maneuver horse in hand over the pole formation in three different ways. Your choice of gait; feel free to add transitions, turn the poles into jumps, or move sideways or backwards!

Don’t have enough poles? Use cones instead – we recommend three cones per pole, which will allow you to create a number of different patterns.



#stayathomechallenge - heart with bidirectional arrows
Demonstrate a sequence of movements, under saddle or in hand, that could be set to the refrain of the dance song “Cupid Shuffle.”

Must include movement to the left and the right!



#stayathomechallenge - 3 barrels
Set out three barrels (or cones) as if barrel racing. Demonstrate riding, or maneuvering horse in hand, around the barrels in three different patterns.

Feel free to add “extras” such as transitions or lateral steps.



#stayathomechallenge - rainbow-colored path around two barrels
Demonstrate riding, or maneuvering horse in hand, through a shallow loop.

Your variations can include extra circles, transitions, or obstacles if you wish. (Are there pots of gold at the end of your rainbow?)



#stayathomechallenge - circle of 8 cones
Demonstrate riding or maneuvering horse in hand through 8 cones set in a circle.

Create the pattern of your choice – it might look like flower petals, or basket weaving, or contain circles of different sizes. Just make sure to include every cone!



#stayathomechallenge - tennis ball in paper cup
Ride or maneuver horse in hand while holding an “ice cream cone,” made by placing a tennis ball on top of a paper or plastic cup.

Your demonstration may include any gaits or movements you wish, but should include at least one obstacle (ground pole, jump, bending poles, bridge, etc.)



#stayathomechallenge - pool noodles
Incorporate at least one pool noodle into a riding or groundwork demonstration.

How many ways can you think to use it?



#stayathomechallenge - square of 4 ground poles
Use four poles to create a square of poles. Use the box to demonstrate three different mounted or unmounted maneuvers – include at least one that takes place entirely inside the box.



#stayathomechallenge - open gates
Explore new territory with your horse. This could include a trail ride, an outing, or simply walking outside the arena.

Whatever adventure you choose, make your entry shows you and your horse in a place you don’t normally go.



#stayathomechallenge - plastic bag ghost
Demonstrate riding or maneuvering horse in hand over, through or around an obstacle your horse used to find frightening.

Your obstacle can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but the horse must demonstrate confidence and relaxation.



#stayathomechallenge - stoplight
Demonstrate as many transitions as possible in sixty seconds. Your changes of gait may occur under saddle or in hand, in the arena or in the open.

Feel free to omit pieces of tack (#NoStirrupNovember, anyone?) or add obstacles to your demo!



#stayathomechallenge - red and green jingle bells on ribbon
Compose a riding or groundwork routine to perform to your favorite holiday song.

Your demonstration can be as long or as short as you like, and you can perform solo or invite friends to take part!


So How Does It work?

How the Challenge works

Follow the instructions for each challenge, then show off your own creative interpretation by tagging videos or photos with the hashtag #StayatHomeHorsemanship.

To have your videos/photos featured by HorseSense Riding Academy, you’ll need to create a public post within each Challenge’s official month – but you are welcome to share privately with your friends, or simply use the challenges to inspire your daily riding or training.

You will need a little imagination and basic horse safety training, allowing you to safely ride or work with your horse on the ground.

Otherwise, each challenge is designed to be friendly to beginner equestrians and green horses, as each task can be completed entirely at the walk and halt.

If you are inexperienced, we strongly recommend you practice each challenge with the assistance and supervision of your instructor or another knowledgeable horseperson.

All riding disciplines are welcome here.

We simply ask that you demonstrate safety along with creativity. Properly-fitted, certified helmets and boots are strongly recommended.

Your horse’s tack should be correctly adjusted and allow the horse to move freely and comfortably.

Most of the challenges require a few pieces of equipment, such as ground poles, cones, or pool noodles.

However, any safe and creative substitution is welcome. Feel free to use cones in place of barrels or poles. If you are feeling very brave, you can try the June challenge with a real ice cream cone instead of a cup!

Although not required, you and your horse are welcome to show your style or dress to reflect each challenge!

Just make sure your attire is horse-safe, please.

You can do as many of the challenges as you wish, in any order you wish.

Keep track of your accomplishments on our printable checklist calendar.

Share your Challenge videos or photos

You’re welcome to practice ahead or play catch-up.

No editing or fancy cameras needed – although we would like to be able to see you and your horse clearly.

If you tag photo(s) instead of a video, try to take enough to demonstrate completion of the challenge.

ONLY when asked for! Our goal is for the hashtag to encourage community and inspiration.

Horsemanship is a never-ending journey, and we are ALL works in progress.

Keep your comments supportive, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

No. We’re all going to agree that you accept full responsibility for any decisions you make during your participation in this challenge.

Our standard Limitation of Liability and Indemnity: You agree and acknowledge that you are fully responsible for your own acts, and that if you, or other individuals are injured in conjunction with any information or services provided by HorseSense Learning Levels, it was your choice alone to rely on that information or service and you do so at your own risk. Use of any HorseSense materials, whether for personal or professional means, constitutes your agreement to indemnify HorseSense Learning Levels from all liability.

You do you – but keep in mind that the challenge is designed to promote good horsemanship. When choosing posts to share and nominate for Fan Favorite, we’ll be looking for submissions that honor this goal.

We won’t promote entries that show rough horse handling, dangerous behavior, or obviously lame or fearful horses, at our discretion.


We have been blessed with many talented photographers over the years: students who voluntarily stood out in a sweltering/ freezing arena – or slogged up and down our hilly pastures – capturing lifelong memories of camps, clinics, and shows. We’re grateful to all of them!

One such student, Delaney Witbrod, is now a professional photographer with a gift for animal portraits – see more of her fine work here.

You’ll also find illustrations throughout our online courses and printed materials (like study guides) graciously donated by Rhonda Hagy, who is a student and lifelong friend. Contact us for information about her work.

Are we lucky or WHAT?!

Online courses coming soon!