Hints for Planning a Pony Party copyright 2011 Party Pony Express
Consider space and other activities---discuss with us. We can accomodate many situations. We need an area to load each pony, but the walking area is very flexible. We can use pathways, sidewalks, front or back yards, cul-de-sacs, parks, etc.
Parent signatures are required for all children present in the riding area, WHETHER RIDING OR NOT. Permission/waiver forms can be provided in advance if parents will not be present.
We do need to be a little bit away from jumps and swimming pools.
Children need to have shoes to be near the ponies, especially for hands-on activity after the riding.
* Please advise your guests: CLOSED TOE SHOES ARE RECOMMENDED. Bare feet, flip flops, and sandals for children are NOT recommended. Pony feet can be heavy and while incidents are rare, shoes provide a lot of protection! *
IF YOU HAVE A JUMP - Children come out of jumps with bare and sock feet and should put shoes back on before being near the ponies!IF YOU HAVE A POOL - Provide benches with dry towels for waiting children if they will be using your swimming pool, as we need seaters to be relatively dry for safety. IF YOU HAVE DOGS - Loose dogs must be kept out of the riding area. Ponies are used to dogs, but dogs are usually NOT accustomed to horses, and sometimes become aggressive towards them. This can create an unsafe condition. Thank you for your understanding.
IF YOU HAVE RIDING TOYS - Riding toys and ponies do not mix. Please remove them from the riding area prior to our arrival. Children on riding toys usually are not able to stay out of the way. Small children must be supervised.
Small children ride with seat belts.
IF WE ARE WORKING OUT FRONT - Ensure adequate supervision of children. Your children may be respectful of curbs and cars, but your guest's children may not be. Best to make sure more than one adult is supervising the children's activity.
We need safe, reasonably level footing - turf should be dry (don't water the day before). Non-slippery pavement is ok, but for long events we may need to put down some straw or shavings. To be avoided: Steep driveways, slick or curved cobblestones, overwatered turf.
For warmer weather, shade is preferable, especially for the loading area, and also where children will be waiting. By looking over the area at the same time of day your party will be, you can estimate natural shade that will be available, and this can be very helpful. Ez-ups are great if wind is not a problem. We need 7' clearance underneath an Ez-up for it to be useful for our loading. This can usually be accomplished by making extensions for the legs (think 2"x2"s about 3' long and ty wraps or duct tape, adding 18" or so to each leg). Otherwise we can usually load NEXT to an Ez-up, still with some benefit.
For rainy times of year - there is usually not much impact from the more minor storms, which often clear out by afternoon. On the other hand, if the amount of rain in inches is being predicted, it might be good to consider a rain date or an alternate indoor activity if the ponies can't work. A little occasional drizzle is usually not a problem, but we can't work in serious rain.
For parks it is customer's responsibility to comply with park requirements, such as obtaining a permit if required. Some parks do not allow animals. Where they are allowed, we can provide additional insured certs for most localities. We will need a name and fax number of the point of contact. Allow 2 business days, (especially if we need to obtain a new additional insured for your venue).
Estimating Number of Rides and Riding Time
Each pony does about 12-15 rides per hour.
For birthday parties, we recommend 2 ponies, 1 hour minimum, for 12-15 children. This allows time for each child to ride a couple times. (Some may ride only once, but others will want to ride more.) For groups where most children are 2-4 age range, you can go a little higher on the number, 15-20 children. For a preschool, where children may come out in class groups, if children just have one ride, the numbers can be a bit higher, accordingly.
For large events, we can help you estimate the coverage you will need, and provide many helpful suggestions from our experience with different situations.
RIDING START TIME - For birthday parties, guests commonly arrive up to an hour llate. We recommend you have our start time be at least 30 minutes after your party starts. Many clients have found it helpful to specify on the invitations, the timeframe that the pony riding is scheduled.
Birthday Parties - Remember to allow for our complementary hands-on time. After the riding, we provide brushes and pony decorations. Many groups spend an additional 20 minutes or so with the children busily occupied with this. And for groups of very young children, we will often do some hands on brushing before we start the riding time. This gives very small children a chance to get used to the ponies!
Helmets - Riding helmuts can be provided upon request. Because of the time necessary to fit helmuts to each child, it is suggested that 1 or 2 parents assist with this, to minimize impact on usable riding time.