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Challenges: Stuff Happens

learn more about

Stuff Happens

Stuff Happens cards use real-life stories to make Learning Levels unforgettable! These small-but-mighty discussion scenarios help your students remember and apply safety rules and procedures to common horsey problems.

Scroll down to learn more about our Stuff Happens card sets, then use these buttons to quickly find the resources you need.

lesson horse give us the raspberry

If you've spent enough time
around horses, you get it.

You know there are good reasons for doing all the horsey things correctly.

You also know a few horror stories: somebody didn’t understand an underlying risk and the result was not good.

Maybe downright dangerous.


That’s why you teach the importance of safety rules to every student. And you just pray that they remember them, because at the end of the day, you want everyone to go home safe and happy – including your hard-working school horses!

So we created Stuff Happens cards: memorable little scenarios that can help you teach Learning Levels safety rules and ... well, horse sense!

Each card has a situation to discuss with students:

And yes, most of these scenarios are based on real-life experiences.

Not necessarily our own, thankfully!

Use our Stuff Happens cards as a starting point for discussion:


Add your own cards with your own infamous barn lore:
making new cards is easy if you just copy-and-paste our cards template.

You can also use Stuff Happens cards as a ‘sneaky’ assessment tool

Learn more about how we use Stuff Happens cards

Flip a card to see how they work!

hover/tap each card to see the reverse side

You’re almost finished tacking up for your lesson when you realize you’d better hit the bathroom before you ride. You’ve already put on your pony’s bridle, so you just loop the reins around the fence post before you run into the tack room. After all, that’s how they do it in the movies.
You and your horse Boo are trail riding when Boo spooks at a stray dog. Your girth is loose, so you find yourself doing an unscheduled emergency dismount, landing on a nest of yellow jackets. You sprain your wrist trying to escape the enraged wasps - and the wasps take their revenge on poor Boo.
You have a 3-horse Exiss bumper pull trailer with a GVW of 3200 lbs. Your three horses weigh 1020 lbs, 954 lbs, and 1196 lbs, respectively. You want to haul with your mid-sized SUV, which has a tow package that is rated up to 7000 lbs.
You had 4 chili dogs with extra onions, a pretzel, a basket of greasy fries, a Coke, and two Milky Way bars for lunch. As you’re tacking up for your next class, you suddenly don’t feel so hot.

Formats and Printing Tips

Stuff Happens downloads are printable PDF files.

Get help with using our download files HERE.

If your device can open a PDF file in a browser, then you should be able to resize and scroll the card pages sufficiently to read them without printing – handy for barn lessons!

You’ll need internet access (data or wifi) – unless you use an app that can open offline PDF files on your phone. Check your app store for options.

Stuff Happens Cards are designed for desktop printing using plain 8.5″ x 11” white card stock. Each page can be cut into 4 cards.

The optional back sides for cards requires color ink – the front sides print in black ink.

Detailed printing instructions are included in each download file.

We’ve included a FREE sample file of Stuff Happens Cards for you to test on your desktop printer. Look for the SAMPLE SET link at the top of this section, download the file, then print.

For best results, read through the printing instructions included with the PDF before printing.

Make sure your printer software is NOT set to “shrink to fit”!

The first page of cards is an optional “back side” for the cards. You can just print the card pages and leave the back side of each card blank – but we like the name of the card set on the back to help keep things organized.

If you choose to add the back side, print 4 copies of that back page, then set those pages in your printer so that the remaining pages will print on the reverse side. When you cut them apart, you should have the name of the card set on the back of each card.

We’re not printing experts, but we’ll be happy to answer your questions – contact us.

Have an epic story to share for teaching safety rules?

Send us a message with your recommendation!

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Drop us a line with your question or comment and we’ll do our best to respond quickly. Like you, we have horses and students and dogs and cats and families to manage, but we check email several times a day so you should hear from us within 24 hours.

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.

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