Every instructor is different and every therapeutic riding lesson is different. However, each lesson can basically be broken down into instruction and games/activities. Some lessons may contain more instruction than games or vice versa. It really depends on the riding skill and the rider.
The instruction portion of riding lessons involves the What's, Why's, and How's of the riding skill. Riding skills are the core of our lessons, and these three areas help our riders to understand the riding skill on a deeper level and create more successful equestrians.
This is where a riding skill can be applied in an engaging way. Games and activities can come in many different forms and use various teaching tools based on the needs of the rider. These games and activities are always facilitated by the instructor and focus on the goals of the rider.
Example Riding Skill and Relevant Game
Riding Skill: Halting
What: Stopping your horse
Why: It's important to be able to halt your horse so you have more control and independence while riding.
How: Pull back your reins to your hips and say "woah"
Relevant Game: Red Light, Green Light Activity
Games vs. Instruction
It's important to realize that the games and activities that we provide during lessons do not replace riding instruction. In fact, these games and activities serve to enhance the learning of riding skills. The games and activities always have a core purpose. They allow the rider to practice their riding skills in a fun and rewarding way. For some, activities grant an extra layer of complexity (such as a riding pattern) that will keep them challenged in their lessons. For others, a game might be a great way to keep the rider mentally engaged in performing their riding skills by incorporating elements that the rider is familiar with outside of riding lessons.