Rodeo Roundup

Focus Skills: Galloping

Rodeo Roundup is my go-to game when it comes to introducing my students to the important keys of galloping. I actually used to call the game Sable Island (shoutout to any Nova Scotia teachers), but one of my students came up with this fun, alliteration-fueled name instead. Be sure to check out the FMS Locomotor Skill Posters in the Shop if you’re looking for visuals to help support your students’ learning!

quickrulesicon Quick Rules

Students are scattered out within the playing area (the prairie). A few students are selected to play the roles of cowboy/cowgirls and are given a lasso (a medium length pool noodle). The rest of the students play the role of wild horses.

On the teacher’s signal, all students begin to gallop around. Cowboys/cowgirls attempt to tag the wild horses while galloping. If a horse is tagged, they must go the the ranch (i.e. a marked-off area in which the teacher is standing) and demonstrate galloping with a mature pattern. Once the teacher approves of a student’s galloping, that student may return to the prairie.

buildicon Builds

Build One: Wild Horses

In build one, the teacher sets up the playing area by dividing the playing area into thirds. One third will serve as the ranch (where the rancher lives). The other two thirds will serve as the prairie. Students then get into a scattered formation within the prairie where they will play the role of wild horses.

On the teacher’s signal, the wild horses begin to gallop around in the prairie. As they do so, they attempt to demonstrate their very best galloping. The rancher will call freeze (or use a cool rancher’s whistle if they are able to). When they do so, the wild horses must all come to a stop. The rancher will then share one of the important keys of galloping. On the rancher’s signal, the wild horses will resume galloping while focusing on the important key that has just been shared. This will go on until the rancher has successfully introduce all five of the important keys of galloping and the wild horses have had a chance to try each of them out.

Build Two: Life On The Ranch

In build two, the students will get into pairs. One student in the pair will begin as the cowboy/cowgirl, the other student will play the role of a horse. Before beginning playing, the cowboy/cowgirl and horse will have a conversation about the important keys of galloping. The horse will select an important key that they will focus on as they gallop around in the prairie.

The cowboys/cowgirls will stand in the ranch and the horses will scatter out in the prairie. On the rancher’s signal, the horses will begin to gallop. As they do so, their partner cowboy/cowgirl will observe their galloping. After a few minutes of galloping, the pairs get back together and the cowboy/cowgirl will give the horses feedback on their galloping. The players then exchange roles for the second half of the round.

In between each round, the students should form new pairs so as to receive feedback from multiple people throughout the activity.

Build Three: Rodeo Roundup

For build three, the rancher will create a single track course within the ranch by setting up a line of cones. The students will then get into a scattered formation within the prairie and play the role of horses.

The rancher will select a few students to play the role of cowboy/cowgirls. The cowboys/cowgirls are given a lasso (which is a medium length pool noodle). On the rancher’s signal, the horses, cowboys and cowgirls all begin to gallop throughout the plain. As they they gallop, the cowboys/cowgirls attempt to tag the horses with their lasso. If a horse is tagged, they need to make their way to the ranch and gallop around the track. If the rancher sees a horse galloping with a mature pattern, the horse may be set back out into the plain. If the rancher sees a horse (or cowboy/cowgirl) performing anything but galloping while out in the prairie (e.g. if they are running), the rancher can call that person into the ranch so that they can demonstrate mature galloping around the track.

tacticalicon Grade Level Outcomes

Hops, gallops, jogs and slides using a mature pattern. (S1.E1.1)

questionsicon Discussion Questions

What are the important keys of galloping?

How is galloping different than running?

How did you improve your galloping today?

safetyicon Safety Information

Students should always keep their eyes up and look out for others as they gallop.

Cowboys/cowgirls should use soft tags below the shoulders.

The playing area should be large enough to accommodate a large group of students moving in general space.

equipmenticon Equipment Requirements



Medium Length Pool Noodles