Birthday Pony Rides - Page 2

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Birthday Pony Rides

This is a discussion on Birthday Pony Rides within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    03-11-2013, 07:01 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Another experience we had was with three haflinger ponies coming to a neighbors house to do rides, and it was much better. The ponies were very well groomed with glossy coats and shoes for walking on the cement, fitting saddles, and a handler for each plus one person to serve as a poop scooper. I had no problem whatsoever with them and even inquired about where they were from so I could drop a good comment with their boss/manager. Like I said, its all about safety and presentation.

Be ready for well meaning parents with loads of concerns and questions as well. We don't do pony rides at individual homes at my farm, but we do have them at our farm to be 'rented' for parties, and we also have pony rides at our fundraiser in October. They may ask you some very odd things or claim abuse even if your animals are not in any way harmed and you have to be very gracious and smile anyways. They don't mean to be rude usually, they just don't know.

Also, since your mare is a halflinger, you might want to think about finding a way to bring a plastic mounting block or tall step stool. It can become tiring for any horse to have to deal with children pulling in it's saddle/back constantly as they get on and off, and may upset her or make her back sore. Lessening the distance will make it much less stressful and strenuous for both you (so you don't have to give constant legs up) and your mare.

Make sure she doesn't shy away from mounting blocks or kids getting on or off wrong too. Some kids are just rediculously stubborn and won't mount or dismount correctly, even after you teach them, and your mare needs to know how to cope with them sliding off her butt, being clumsy, hanging off of her while they're scared to slide down, etc.
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    03-12-2013, 10:35 AM
Endiku, once again thank you for sharing about your experience! It seems as though you are very knowledgeable in the topic of pony rides and I appreciate the advice greatly.

I had not given a mounting block a thought until I read it in your post. That's an excellent idea and I appreciate the suggestion. In addition to it helping to relieve some additional work for me (and the horse), it would also give the children a more comfortable and closer hands on approach.

I can only imagine some of the questions that might get asked, especially after some of the questions the girls had been asking when they came to the farm to "meet Cloey". I guess one way to look at it is that it provides a good educational opportunity. You're right, sometimes you just gotta smile and be gracious anyway.
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    03-12-2013, 12:48 PM
Offering birthday party rides for kids is part of our business. Kids LOVE it and your job is to prepare the horse for as many situations that could come up as possible. I know there is never a guarantee with horses but it sure helps. My horses do "usually" not spook at anything, they are used to dogs, kids and any other fast movement around them, used to noice and they will lead perfectly no matter who is leading them. We also provide helmets for the kids, it would be a BIG no go for us to let the kids get on our horses without helmets. Waivers will be signed by the legal guardians and we do have little dude stirrups to put over the western saddles to make sure that the kids can put their feet in the stirrups. We make sure that the parties only take place where the horses know the environment and are used to the area. We always take 2 horses and trailer them away from home so no buddy sourness (not that they are) could come up. Those are some tips I can give you. I love our birthday parties because the smiles on the kids faces is just such a joy! Oh, another think, I DO NOT allow anybody (kids or adults) to hand feet my horses, again not because they will bite, but you NEVER know!
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    03-13-2013, 11:03 AM
Island Horselover, thank you for sharing your experience! I'm happy to hear that you do this as a business and that you have had good success. I love the idea of the dude stirrups, especially for the younger kids. I'm sure they come in handy for you with as many events as you do. Out of curiousity, approximately how many parties do you do roughly in a year? (I'm still planning on only doing this as a one time / occasional thing for close family and friends only). Also, great advice on not allowing children and adults to feed the horses. One can never guarantee that the animal might not accidentally bite.
    03-13-2013, 05:03 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
All of my 'words of wisdom' come only from experience xD lol because we work an 8 hour day during our fundraiser month, two days a week- I have a string of 10 ponies (ranging from a small Quarter Pony of 13.2hh to a 39" Shetland) for riding and 5 for driving, and the ponies work two hours on, two hours off and are provided fresh hay in nets and drinking water where they are tied- yet I've still gotten plenty of activists claiming that I'm working my ponies to death and they they're exhausted ;) at the same time there are also people who really don't even understand that horses are living beings with feelings, and I've been told off by more than one adults for 'holding the line up' to change my cart pony or leadline pony out for a fresh pony! You definitely run into some interesting situations. I've been told that I was cruel for putting boots on one of our cart ponies, rude for not letting a 100 lb 10 year old ride our 10.2hh pony, no better than a slave driver for tying my ponies up all day and expecting them to work for 2 1/2 - 3 hours at a walk, and stupid for using a pony with one half of her vision with children ;) still, it really is a rewarding thing to do for the reasons mentioned above. Once you get things moving smoothly its amazing to see little kids get to interact with a horse for the first time!
    03-13-2013, 11:41 PM
How is this going? Do you still plan on doing this? Just curious! :)
    03-14-2013, 12:20 PM
So far, I think I'm going to be giving it a try. The event isn't until March 23rd (and I have had at least a month in advance to think about it) which still allows me some time to plan and prepare.

birthdays, pony rides

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