The Little Horses Rules

The goal of the Little Horses game, which appeared in France in 1936, is to move your horses towards the center of the board. 

Little horse game

Content and Goal of the Game

The Little Horses game is played with a minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 4 players. To play it, you need:

  • a classic Little Horses board which includes a stable for each player in each corner, four stairs and spaces around the periphery of the board. The number of squares depends on the version of the game. 
  • one or two dice, with faces ranging from 1 to 6
  • four pieces (horses) of a different color for each player.

Before Starting the Game

You must agree on the number of horses per player. For a lively game, you should have preferably 2 to 4 horses 🙂.
Then, each player chooses a corner to place their horses (the stable). 

Finally, roll the dice in turn to define an order of play.

Once these steps have been completed, you can start the game.


In the game of The Little Horses, your goal is to ensure that all your horses climb the stairs in your stable and reach the center of the board. 

To reach your stairs, you must go completely around the board (clockwise) and then arrive right at the entrance to your stairs. 

At the start of the game, all of your horses are in your stable. To bring out a horse, you must roll the number 6 on the dice. If you play with 2 dice, you should keep in mind that rolling a 3 + 3 doesn’t mean that you can take a horse out. You must have a 6 on one of the dice. Your throw should therefore be a 6 + another number (6 + 3, for example).

If you roll a 6 in this way, you may take a horse out of your stable and place it on the starting space (marked with a D). Then, you advance: 

  • either by the number marked on the second die in the case where you are playing with 2 dice with the horse you have taken out
  • or you reroll the die (if you are playing with one die) and you advance by the same number as the result of the throw.

If you still roll a 6 on the second roll (or on the 2nd die), you can decide to take out another horse or advance a horse that has already been taken out. In either case, you roll the dice again. 

If you cannot play during your turn (no 6 on the roll of the dice or your horses cannot move), your turn passes and the next player plays. 

The Game Begins

The movements of the horses on the board are the result of the dice rolls of the respective players. Rules then apply as players progress.

  • You cannot pass a horse with another if it is in front of you. Whether it is your horse or that of an opponent, it is forbidden to pass it directly even if you obtain a result on the dice that should allow you to do so. The only option is to displace the opposing horse out of its position by landing on the same square it’s on.
  • Two horses cannot occupy the same space. If they are your own horses, one stays behind the other. If there are two horses of different players, the second one that lands on the space returns the horse that is there directly to its stable. The player whose horse is returned to the stable must therefore try to get it out again with a 6 on the dice. 

Getting to the Stairs

Congratulations, you’re almost there 😄

You’ve dodged your opponents’ punches and you’re almost at your stairs. However, rules also apply on this level.

  • To get to the entrance of the stairs, you must land your horse EXACTLY at the entrance. It’s simple: if the entrance to your stable is 4 squares away from your horse, you must roll exactly a 4.
  • If you roll a number greater than the number of squares it takes you to get to the staircase, you must move forward as many squares as it takes to get to the entrance, then move back the excess. For example, you need 4 squares to reach the entrance, but you roll a 5: move forward 4 squares then go back one square. 

If you get to the entrance of the stairs, it’s time to get your horse off the board. You must make the exact number necessary to make it reach the center. If you need 5 to roll, you must roll 5, no more, no less. If you do less, you advance the number of spaces in the staircase.

End of the Game

The end of the game may be different depending on the variants and the rules you set before starting the game. In the classic version, the game ends when a player manages to advance all these horses on the staircase and make them reach the center of the board

Rules in PDF

Explore the Little Horses rule in PDF.