Birthday Pony Rides
Hello, I was wondering if some of you might be able to offer me some advice on giving birthday pony rides.
A few weeks ago, a cousin of mine called and had asked if I would be willing to give pony rides for their daughter's upcoming 10th birthday. I informed them that I had never done anything of the sorts but given that it was family, I might be willing to give it a try.
Cloey is a Haflinger cross who is my "go-to" girl for trails. I've had young riders on her before and she has been trailered for numerous events including my wedding. She's pretty laid back and excellent when it comes to simple lead-line stuff. I did insist that the daughter come over to "meet Cloey" the other day so that I could better gauge her horse experience and interaction prior to agreeing to do the pony rides for the main event. Would agreeing to give pony rides be a bad thing?
The family has offered to pay for the transportation costs the day of. They also wanted to know what they could offer me for my time. Since this would be my first attempt (and only because it's family), I don't know what really to say to this. I'm not planning on making this a career, I assure you. What would be considered adequate compensation for roughly 4-5 hours of my time (including trailer time, prep work, 5-10 kids, etc.) and keeping in mind that this is family?
Have you had any experience with this, good or bad? Thank you in advance.
I think its a awsome idea it be something thats so much fun for a little girls birthday party. I have done it a few times with my retired mare she is a good beginner kids horse Id put anyone on her. MY aunt used to be a teacher and she wanted to take her class on a fieldtrip to a barn and so I offered her to come to my barn of course all the children had to have a release form so in order for them to do this you may want to have some kinda legal doument signed by the family saying that you arent responsible for any damange to property,fall of the kid etc. Not that a kid would fall with u by them but still better safe THAN sorry. But in my situation I didnt except any money because their wasnt money offered but what ever. My advice as long as they have a release form signed then I would do it, it be fun :)
PLEASE be sure to make sure your pony is well turned out, and that you have another horse-experienced person with you. This person will need to be able to scoop poop, put children on/off, potentially side walk, help control excited children that are waiting, etc. I had a horrifying experience with a 'company' who came to one of my therapy client's birthday parties. I was there only as a guest, but when they truck showed up with two very small ponies (one was a stud, the other a gelding) for the 4-10 year old kids, ratty halters and saddles, and the saddle TIED ONTO the pony's backs and knotted around their chests to stay on, I stepped in. Not only did this man have miniatures (that he insisted weren't minis, but they were smaller than my 34" tall mare...no one rides her at all) he was the only one there with both horses AND a petting zoo, and he would just drop the pony's lead ropes or let the kids lead the ponies around with kids on their backs while he went to scoop poop, and he traipsed through other people's yards with his ponies. It was a disaster. He even let the stud pony trot with the kids bouncing around on his poor back. I was horrified, and the party guests were disgusted.
I share that to say that you need to make sure you think about every aspect of this, have a schedual of when you will arrive/leave, have someone to help you, make sure your horse is bombproof, decide the weight limits, etc. A well turned out pony is amazing but a poorly planned and executed job will leave customers upset.
You need good insurance first. If you don't have that, you are asking for trouble I think.
And if you don't have portable round pen, so that you can keep kids out, there is no way I would do this. Just too easy for kids to run up behind horse without it.
People have not taught their kids to mind, so that makes this more dangerous too now.
But if you do this, you need at least 2 more horsey people.
And be aware that even with waivers signed? You will not have sign up for equine liability laws of state, plus you will not be in equine setting either, which will null and void most of those laws anyway.
Endiku and Palomine, all excellent advice! These were some of the issues I was initially concerned with. And Endiku, hearing about your poor experience with this certainly has put a lot of things into perspective, so I thank you for that.
I was anticipating having two additional skilled horse people present in addition to myself. I was planning on only taking my one mare who I feel can pretty confidently handle the environment. The distance is not too far from home and I plan on doing any ground work necessary in a round pen prior to trailering (I understand that this isn't the same as having a round pen on location but it's all we would have available). I agree that many children and even parents do not have "horse sense" and that probably a couple of adults will be needed to make sure that we have ample space upon arrival and the like.
I have done pony rides for many other organizations before as a handler (4-H, camps, therapeutic riding, mostly volunteer stuff in years past), but I have not trailered and done so with my own horse. I agree that not having a sign posted could potential void the purpose of a waiver. Any idea if having a legal equine law sign posted on the trailer the day of counts? Although it is not set up for equine use at present, the location is a small hobby farm so it won't be in a super crazy, non-equine environment. Still, it will be new to the horse and I do understand that.
I would say maybe a hat for the children to put on while they are riding just for extra safety measure also.
The birthday girl (and her sister) both recently purchased Troxel riding helmets from a local tack store who measured and fitted them. We were planning on using those two helmets (I would also be bringing my two along as a spare or for additional sizing) for the day. Any suggestions on ways to sanitize each helmet before and after each child's use (mother of the child is worried about the potential for lice transfer IF someone were to have it)?
Lysol, or an alcohol base maybe? Call a pharmacy and ask what they would recommend for use.
Rid/Nix, over the counter has a spray, spray it inbetween people. But, a disinfectant wipe should be sufficient.
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