Boat Horse Mask

Horses were used to pull narrowboats along the canal from about 1740. Up to two boats loaded with cargo would be attached to the horse with ropes and the horse then led up the towpath. Boat horses were used for around 200 years, with the last working boat horse on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal retiring from service in 1960.

As part of this activity help the children to learn about the history of narrowboats and in particular the use of horses on the canals.


  • A4 card (To print or draw the template on and then cut out)
  • Boat Horse Mask Template, PDF 223KB (Print a few so the children can draw round the shapes and cut out or print one for each child to cut out directly)
  • Pencil
  • Colouring pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Elastic/ribbon/string
  • Stapler and staples
  • Felt/fur (Optional)


  1. Using the template, draw round the shapes onto a piece of card and cut out, following the lines marked with scissors (NB. dotted lines are fold lines). Alternatively, print the template onto the card you wish to use and cut out. If the children are young or this activity is being held at a busy event it may be safer to have an adult do this in advance. Children should always be supervised when using scissors.
  2. Colour in the face, fringe and ears with pencils.
  3. Glue the fringe in place at the top of the horses head. You could get an adult to curl the fringe by rynning the blade of a scissor along each of the fringe strands.
  4. Fold the ear shapes along the dotted lines and overlap and glue to create a 3D ear (if glueing doesn't hold the ear in place, an adult could use a stapler).
  5. Glue both ears onto the horses head.
  6. Get an adult to staple your elastic, ribbon or string to either side of the mask at the points marked with an ‘o’. Make sure their is sufficient length to go round the child's head.
  7. If you have felt or fur, a piece could be added to create a “furry nose” for the horse.

IWA Branches

IWA Branches can order WOW kits to help with running activites like this. The kit contains equipment for the activities and WOW banners so that you can run a number of WOW activities across an event site. Contact Gillian Bolt for more information.


WOW Safety

Always remember to
stay SAFE near water -
Stay Away From the Edge

WOW Overview
Activity guides and resources
Activity guides for branches
Wildlife resources
Working boat resources

Contact details:
Contact the Marketing Team for more information.