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Old McDonald’s Pony – Free Training Game

Duration: 30 minutes

Intended for:

Use this free training game during any training session where you wish to explore group dynamics, communication skills and listening skills.

Training course contents:

You can download this free training game from the link at the bottom of this page, or follow the notes below. This is a training game exercise that provides participants with an opportunity to discuss a ‘safe’ topic, which nonetheless will provoke lots of debate. Listening skills are keenly tested too.

This is a verbal communication activity.

Explain the following points to the participants:
(1) the problem will be read one time only;
(2) no questions will be answered;
(3) no pencils or paper can be used; and
(4) no discussions with other participants.


Read – Old McDonald had a brown pony that belonged to his son Georgie Porgie. The farmer in the Dell wanted to buy the pony for his son, so he asked Old McDonald if he would sell it. McDonald said that he would, but that the selling price was £80.

The farmer in the Dell agreed and paid Old McDonald the £80 and took the pony home with him. But the next day, after protests from Georgie Porgie, Old McDonald asked the farmer in the Dell if he could buy the pony back. The farmer in the Dell agreed, but said he would have to charge £90 for the pony because he had stabled the pony overnight. Old McDonald paid the £90 and took the pony back to his farm. However, the next day, the farmer in the Dell, still wanting the pony, asked Old McDonald if he could re-buy it, and Old McDonald agreed, but said this time the price of the pony was £100.

The farmer in the Dell paid Old McDonald the £100 and took the brown pony home with him and everyone lived happily ever after.

Ask the following questions:
(1) Did anyone make a profit?
(2) If anyone did make a profit, who?
(3) How much was the profit? Write up the responses.

Don’t answer any questions.
After three or four different answers are up, ask the people who think that the first answer is right to go to one corner of the room; repeat procedure with the other answers.

After the groups have been formed, instruct each group to pick a spokesperson and prepare a presentation about why its answer is correct. After each group has made its presentation, tell participants to join the group that they feel has the correct answer.

Give the solution: Old McDonald ended up with £10 profit because the pony did not have an established value until he was sold the first time for £80. McDonald profited over the price of £80 by £10.


Optional discussion points:
1. We tend to like and support others holding a similar position.

2. When someone presents a position different from our own, we have more trouble listening.

3. When people disagree, they have many reactions, but all of these reactions boil down to TRYING NOT TO DISAGREE.

4. Those who convince others that their position is correct tend to be more convinced that their position is correct.

5. The more we are convinced that our position is correct, the harder it is to change.


This training game is used to highlight issues around communication.

Old McDonald’s Pony – Free Training Game


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