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Plan a Horse-Themed Birthday Party
Equestrian 101:

Equestrian 101:

Equestrian

 

Plan a Horse-Themed Birthday Party

Your horse crazy 11-year-old daughter wants a horse-themed birthday party. Chances are, all the kids she wants to invite are just as horse-obsessed. How lucky for you because there's nothing easier than putting together a totally fun gallopin' party. Let the Old Gray Mare at DressYourHorse.com give you a few whinnies - I mean ideas.

Party stores (like I-Party) and online stores (like PonyPartyIdeas) stock countless horsy party goods, favors, piñatas, balloons and ideas. If you decide to use ready-to-go supplies, then you'll simply organize a detailed To Do List  that includes a list of party goods, invitations and the like. However, if you are adventuresome, creative and a workhorse, and if your child is chompin' at the bit to help with this project, here is some fodder for your mane event.

Planning process

Have fun with your child in a brainstorming session. You'll need to decide on the number of guests, develop a schedule and set your budget. Based on the type of horse party you are planning, ask yourself few questions - Will you be playing games - Will you be visiting a horse farm - Will you rent a pony or several ponies to give rides at your party - Will you rent a horse video - Are you headed to a horse show - If your child rides or boards at a stable, can you have the party there - Can guests ride at the stable too - Will the stable participate in the party - - Can you rent trail horses in your area?

It is a good idea to develop the theme of your birthday bash from the beginning.

If your child is involved in riding lessons or showing, why not try Saddle Club, Pony Club or  4-H themes. Here are a few other possibilities:

  • Blue Ribbon Party
  • Cowgirl Party
  • Racing or Kentucky Derby Party
  • Barrel Racing Party
  • I Love Show Horses Party
  • Wild Mustangs Party
  • Picture Me on the Pony Party
  • Lets Do Something Horsy Party
  • You're Horse Crazy Party

Once you and your child have agreed on the date of the party, give yourself lots of time because horse partying is not only addictive, it is work intensive. Oh well, the party planning was the fun part. Now for the work . . .

Invitations

Invitations can be as varied as your creativity and fun quotient will permit. Naturally, if you will have a large group of kids, then you might be more inclined to keep the invitations simple. Here are some ideas:

  • Rubber stamp and/or use stickers to construct invitations.
  • Find copyright-free clipart on the Internet. Cut and paste the clipart on your invitations.
  • Use magnetic sheets to create refrigerator magnet invitations.
  • Cut out the shape of a horse silhouette (enlarged clipart) and use the cut out as the invitation.
  • Cut a sponge into a horseshoe. Use it to stamp & design the invitations.
  • Before the party, dress your child in a riding habit or cowgirl outfit. In a takeoff of the famous Uncle Sam poster, have her face the camera and point. Print the words: "I WANT YOU AT MY HORSE PARTY!"
  • Have your child draw a horse picture. Make copies or scan into the computer to enlarge or reduce as needed to make invitations.

The wording for your function might read:

  • For a cowgirl theme: "You're invited to my Buckaroo Round Up! The herd will be ready to horse around at our mane event and we can't wait to gallop with you. Don't be late cause we having cake!"
  • For a pony ride party: "Put on your breeches and wear your boots. We're ridin' high at my party. All the horses will be there."
  • For a mustang/western party: "We're having a wild horse roundup. Gallop on over to our Corral and join the herd."
  • For a western party: "We're getting together in the OK Corral at high noon for a Horse Birthday Party. It wouldn't be fun without 'ya. We'll be expectin' ya so y'all better not miss it!"

You can then add all the party details including date, time, location and other appropriate information. Be sure to mention in your invitation whether you are visiting a barn or stable, if you are going on a trail ride, etc. When you're thrilled with your masterpiece invitations, you'll hand deliver or mail them to the lucky guests.

Decorations

There's no easier theme for a party than horses! The internet world provides countless copyright-free material that you can use free of charge.

  1. Birthday Corral Welcome Sign - Your child can paint a large sign, i.e. "We're Having the Best Horse Party Ever, Barn None!". Surround the border with stamped horse shoes, your child's art, or cardboard horseshoes. Bright and colorful is good! Hang it outside to welcome guests as they arrive.
  2. You can cut out many cardboard horse shoes. It's an easy shape and you can have dozens in a very short period of time. Spread them on the walkway or in the house for effect. You can use them to guide kids to grain, water trough, chuck wagon, exercise arena, wash rack, show arena, fillies, colts or buckaroo rooms. You take it from here.
  3. If you are lucky and you have a trophy or, better yet, lots of them, use them as serving containers (place a bag or container inside first) and place them at strategic locations for a bold decorating statement.
  4. You can also use rosettes and ribbons. These make excellent decorations for a horse party.
  5. Place a small cup or glass inside a pair of riding boots or cowboy boots. Fill with sand or marbles. Glue cut out horse shapes and balloons on dowels and arrange. Presto! A great centerpiece!
  6. Purchase a pair of boots, derby or cowboy hat that you can use after the party. Use a bag or container as liner and fill with snacks for munching.
  7. Using regular construction paper, cut out rectangular frames. Cover magazine horse pictures with these frames and hang as art.
  8. Balloons, balloons and more balloons are fun. With a Sharpie or kid paints, you can easily paint horse silhouettes on them for an easy decoration.
  9. Get creative with stickers, stencils and Breyers horse figurines.
  10. Use clean articles of riding clothes, riding hats and helmets or horse t-shirts and drape or pin them around like art.
  11. Another use for the simple horseshoe shape can be to string or tape them together to make a long chain. String your horseshoe chain around the room. Here and there, hang a cutout horse shape or small plastic horse or ribbons. Work intense but very effective!
  12. Accordion-fold freezer, foil0, wrapping or butcher paper. Trace cowboy boots or hat shapes to fit from one edge to the other edge - You are making a long chain so be careful to leave a small bridge to form a chain.
  13. This is a great balloon weight idea. If you have access to real horseshoes, spray paint them gold, silver or a hot color. Add lots of bling to snazzy them up.
  14. Make a rustic "picnic table" by putting four bales of hay tightly together. Cover with a clean horse blanket, sheet or cooler.
  15. Hang a long piece of butcher paper on the wall. Have your child draw or paint a horse mural. Or, use this idea as an activity for the guests. Provide the kids with paint and brushes, chalk, crayons and stencils, and have them produce a one-of-a kind horse scene.
  16. Cut crepe paper streamers into two lengths: long to simulate a horse's tail and somewhat shorter for the mane. Tape the short lengths together to create the mane and tape the long lengths together for the tail. Tightly secure with a string or ribbon. Tie the mane into the birthday girl's pony tail and the tail appropriately lower. She can then proudly prance around during the party.
  17. Cover the party table with your theme. You can be very creative by cutting out horse pictures and gluing them along the border of a table cover of cloth or paper. Your child might be happy to provide the art. You can purchase horse borders, decals or fabric with horse theme designs.
  18. Purchase a horse piñata and horse balloons for easy, quick decorations.

At this stage of your party planning excitement, you are ready for fun and games.

Activities

If your gathering is having horse or pony rides, what fun! Make sure you have lots of adult help and lay the ground rules - you know the ones about safety and listening up. You want the kids that are not familiar with horses to learn how to approach them and how to conduct themselves around them. Take several digital pictures of each child, print the best one, place it into an inexpensive frame and give it as a party favor keepsake.

As a door prize, have everyone guess how many candies, goodies or coins are in a jar. The person whose guess is closest to the actual count, takes the jar home.

Purchase cowboy hats and handkerchiefs. They'll wear the cowboy hat for the party and, as an activity, they can decorate the handkerchief with fabric pens and rubber stamps that you provide. Both hat and decorated handkerchief become their favors.

Hide horsy items such as small plastic horses, stuffed toy horses, sticker sheets, Bella Sera card packs, and other items such as notepads, coloring books, inexpensive horse jewelry, etc. around the yard and have a treasure hunt.

Pin the tail on the horse. A birthday party is not complete without the classic pin the tail game. Use a horse poster or enlarge a computer image into the desired size. Make multiple copies of the horse's tail and cut them out. Each child pin the tail on the horse - somewhere - because she is blindfolded during her turn. Winner who gets it right or is closest, gets the prize.

Toss horse shoes. This is a fun outside activity and, ideally, you'll use real horse shoes. Drive two sturdy stakes into the ground and have the guests toss two horseshoes each. The winner is determined by the closest shoes. Have kids cheer each other on.

For each of the players, suspend one small apple on a string from a tree. Without using hands, each person has to bite and eat the apple like horses.

Instead of an egg race, have a sugar cube relay race. Draw names to put guests into two teams. Each team has a "race track" consisting of a pair of chairs placed away from each other in a straight line. Place a bowl on each chair - at the starting line, the bowl is empty and on the distant chair the bowl is filled with sugar cubes. The race is on! The first racer speeds to the bowl of sugar cubes, scoops up just one and races back to the starting line, drops the sugar cube into the yet empty bowl, passes off the spoon to the next racer and steps aside. The teams go through their racers one by one until the far bowl is empty of all sugar cubes. The team that fills their bowl the fastest, becomes the winning team.

The galloping horse relay is similar to the sugar cube race. Again the kids are split into teams and lined up. Carrying a riding crop, the players canter from the starting line to the opposite end (a chair or a stake), go around it, and canter back. The crop passes from kid to kid until each has had a turn. The team with the first finish is the winner.

Have the kids make their own favors by personalizing t-shirts, bracelets or bandanas. You'll provide all the necessary materials, guidance and supervision. The kids will bring it on with their unique creative talents. Best of all, they can take their creation home.

Pose everyone around a horse, a stack of hay, a bon fire or your decorated table. Take your time with the shot to get a great picture. They'll say "heowdy," you'll get the shot. When your child sends the thank you notes, she'll include the group snapshot as an additional memento.

Well by now you're turning into a horse party expert. We haven't discussed food or cakes. After all the detail stuff we just discussed, horse food items are easy. Just go for chocolate, candy, grain - I mean granola bars - munchies, apples.

The cake will be the final wow of the party! Bake a regular sheet cake and cool. Select a horse head image from the computer that you can enlarge. Place it on the sheet cake as a template and cut around it. Frost the shape generously in your child's favorite horse color, paying close attention to location of eyes, nose, mouth and ears. You could use Necco wafers for eyes and nose, but I think tinted icing and your whimsy and talent would be far better. Don't forget that the horse in your daughter's dreams has a lush, flowing mane. You can add a blaze or a star. Black licorice simulates bridle and reins but you can also use chained chocolate chips or pieces of chocolate. The kids will think your cake is the horse's whinny!

Another simple cake idea that has a large impact on the kids, especially for the cowgirl theme, is a Cowgirl Boot Cake. Trace out the shape of a large boot, frost it and go crazy with the decorations. After all, the boot should have lots of bling.

If you have enjoyed all of the planning and it's finally time for the party, but you don't have horsy music, visit www.DressYourHorse.com because we have it covered. Go to the fun page and let the horse songs play during your horse-themed party. Enjoy!

This is another article on horses, horse care or horse blanket care by The Old Gray Mare. Additional articles by The Old Gray Mare can be found at website www.DressYourHorse.com.