I think that riding should be FUN! I wish that more people shared that opinion. I find that many adult amateurs who show like I do are very, very serious people. They are focused and they ride with a mission and it is like a second job to them. I, obviously, am not like that at all. I am just as happy after a great trail as I am when I get a good half pass. I want to share my love of fun to all so here are my tips to throwing a fun party at your barn.
1) Pick a good date. Holiday’s are the a great excuse! We did ours during the day on Halloween. Not a lot of people have plans during the lunch time hours on that holiday. With St. Patrick’s day on the way I think you have a pretty good holiday opportunity. Try and make your games day when most people don’t work and at a time when people would normally want to go to the barn.
2) Get other people involved! Find someone else at the barn who has different friends than you so you can start networking the whole barn as a whole. I ride on Saturday’s so I got a friend who rides during the week to talk to her friend. I got my Saturday crew all into it and her got some of her weekday crew to come out. Between the two of us we were able to get lots of other people excited about it.
3) Advertise. Put up flyer’s with the date, time and exactly what will be going on. It is a constant reminder to people that there will be something going on.
4) Come up with a list of games. Make sure that whatever you do that it is appropriate for your barn. We learned the hard way that sit-a-buck is probably not a great game at a dressage barn because it can go on and on forever! Pole bending though was something different and tons of fun. Try and pick only 4-5 though because trust me, they take longer than you think. We did 7 games and a costume class and it was about two and half hours!
5) Have rules and prizes, it makes the whole day seem so much more important. We even got a celebrity guest judge to come out when I threw my games day. That way everyone could participate. As far as prizes, I decided to go out and spend a little money and order some ribbons to give away. We did 1st through 3rd place for each game and also 1st-8th for the entire day.
6) Make sure food is involved! I have found that the best thing to do is a pot luck meal. We have tried to go out for a meal before and when you do that people tend to slink away. Having people bring something ensures that they will have something that they like to eat, and also makes them feel like they are involved in the party. A crock pot is great way to keep things warm while the games are going on. The meal was also a great time to give out the awards, which led to a lot of great stories and recounts of all the actions.