Pony Rides Every Weekend

Pony Rides

Great News for any parent of pony mad kids!  Not ready to jump in and buy your totally horse smitten child a pony yet?  Having a Balloonaversal pony party once a year isn’t fulfilling a horsy fix often enough for the addicted one?  Then we may have a solution.

The Balloonaversal ponies and team will be at the Edendale Community Environment Farm every Saturday from 10am – 3pm (weather permitting).  Kids can also get their face painted by a Balloonaversal team member too.

Visit A Farm With The Kids

Edendale Farm Sheep

Sheep under the blossom tree

Edendale is a great place to take the kids out to and there’s always plenty to see and do.  Baby goats were born this September and are such a joy to watch their antics, pat the resident guinea pigs, visit the chooks and sheep or try your hand at milking a cow – it’s a pretend cow, but the kids love this activity.  The farm’s opening hours are 9am – 4pm and is situated at Gastons Rd, Eltham.

Visit the native plant nursery and bring some new plants home to fill that bare patch in your garden, or buy some vegetable seedlings and grow your own veggies.

Eden Cafe

Eden Cafe and Veggie Garden

Lovely Farm Cafe – Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon Tea

Eden Cafe with its pretty outdoor setting is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. And for all us tea connoisseurs – tea is served in fine bone china teapots with fine bone china tea cups and saucers to compliment.

Kids Parties At The Farm – A Great Choice

Children’s parties can be booked in one of the two gazebos.  There’s plenty of space to run and play and the kids and parents will love a guided farm tour, so make sure you book that in.  Contact Edendale on  9439 3711 or visit here for prices and packages.

Balloonaversal Pony Rides On Saturdays

Pony rides are $5 for 1 ride around the paddock or 3 times around the paddock for $10.  For parties booked at Edendale on Saturdays, you can line up with the general public for pony rides or pre-book your own pony for a 45 min session which is $130 and can be booked by calling Balloonaversal on 8669 1303.

Kids Party Venue

Edendale Farm – A great kids’ party venue

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Pony Profile: Barnabus

My Little Pony Barnabus

Barnabus, the perfect My Little Pony

Could this be a real life ‘My Little Pony’? Barnabus, (because he’s built like a barn or a bus) is often seen at children’s birthday parties as his alter ego Starbeam (My Little Pony character). He’s a top favourite with the kids, especially with children aged 3 – 6.

His small stocky stature, his slow calm walk, and his gentle kind expression seem to give even the most nervous child a feeling of confidence. I often think this is more so in winter as

My Little Pony Barnabus

The little kids adore Barnabus’ kind gentle nature

his long fluffy winter coat makes him look a lot like a big teddy bear, and who doesn’t love their teddy?

Barnabus has such a wonderful generous nature and seems to genuinely enjoy the children being around him. He is always so calm and patient while they get on or off, stop to pat his face, give him a kiss on the nose or pick up a brush to groom him – he’s happy for the love and attention.

But it wasn’t always this way

Barnabus Before Balloonaversal

Barnabus was given to us several years ago by our then neighbor Danielle who named him Trevor. Danielle acquired him through another neighbour and kept him as a paddock friend for her beautiful Warmblood mare.

When Barnabus came into our care we were told that he had had an abusive background and hadn’t been well looked after. That seemed to be true. Although he was in good condition health wise by then, he was still a rather distant non-connected little fellow and was quite nervous around any kind of noise or activity.

Barnabus’ Four Legged Feud
pony party pony

Mal and Barnabus didn’t like each other in the beginning

And he didn’t make friends easily with the other ponies either, aggressively warding them off, even challenging Mal our large dapple grey pony who was head of the herd at the time.

There were a few battles for dominance in those early days. I recall one particular occasion where Barnabus bested Mal, leaving the on watching herd ‘speechless’. It was at that point that Jeremiah, my meek and mild little miniature performing pony decided he did not like Barnabus at all. He just up run, sneaking up behind Barnabus while he wasn’t looking and bit him on the rump, running off as quick as he came before he copped a kick. It was quite an amusing scene but so out of Jeremiah’s character. It took a couple of years before those two became friends.

The Training Of A Pony Ride Pony

I gave little Barnabus time to settle in, then began the slow re-training process. I wanted to start Barnabus as if he were a young unbroken pony.

‘Unbroken’ is the term use to describe a horse or a pony who has not been trained to carry a rider or pull a carriage. ‘Breaking in’ is the term for this process and is not a harsh cruel process as the word ‘broken’ or ‘breaking’ would imply.

Lunging a pony

An example of a pony on a lunge rein

So Barnabus was introduced to the lunge first and learned the voice commands for whoa (stop), walk and trot. We didn’t bother with canter as he really wasn’t an energetic pony. I have found lunging is a great place to start when building trust with horses and ponies as it can create a clear communication path without the extra worry of having a rider on their back. When a horse understands what it is that you are asking they are nearly always very happy to give their all and this was true of Barnabus too. Within a week he was showing off of the lunge, being attentive to everything asked of him and thus began his trust in people.

Barnabus-2

Barnabus’s first party

Over the months we worked on introducing noise and activity to his lessons. Barnabus gained much confidence in himself and within 6 months I took him successfully out to his very first ‘gig’ … a My Little Pony party and he was a little champ and has been ever since.

A Loved Member Of The Family
Riding a pony to school

Tobias grade 1 rides to school

Over the years he as also proven to be a wonderful little pony to teach beginner children to ride, teaching my two boys when they were five or six years of age. Tobias on occasion, riding him to school and he is still Asher’s pick of the pack.

Balloonaversal pony parties

Asher on Nikki, Zac on Barnabus, Tobias on Buttons

Barnabus is around 19 years old now, but still has plenty of energy and still enjoys his job. Oh, and he has lots of pony friends now with Nikki being his bestie. You can read more about Nikki here.

Barnabus

Tobias grade 4, too big for Barnabus now, but still loves him dearly

If you’d love to have a My Little Pony party for your little girl, please visit this page to find out more Costume Pony Party Packages, or simply call us on (03) 8669 1303.

Team Profile – Gemma Tapping

Pony Riding

Gemma is a high school student and has been with our company for 3 years. What kind of work does Gemma do you say being so young?

Gemma is one of our ‘Pony Assistants’ and has a very important job here at Balloonaversal Head Quarters.

Her main role is to lead kids on the ponies at children’s birthday parties or corporate/community events on the weekends. Her wonderful gentle spirit makes her a perfect candidate for creating a fun, memorable experience for the children as they ride. She chats to the kids, asks them all kinds of questions as she leads them on the pony, and always has a laugh with them.

Can’t Get Enough Of The Ponies

We also see Gemma during the week as well, you see Gemma is one of a small group lucky young ladies whPonies for partieso have the privilege of being able to come and ride our larger ponies and Thoroughbred horse whenever they want. All in return for helping with the work load of taking care of the 14 ponies that we have here at home. It’s pretty hard for a bunch of horse mad girls wouldn’t you think? They get plenty of privileges – riding and jumping lessons when I can are just one example.

I often joke about our place being the local Saddle Club chapter as the girls often meet up and go out for adventurous rides together – the Diamond Creek McDonalds Drive Through being a popular destination for teenage girls. Swimming the ponies in our dam during summer time or twilight rides on a full moon are some of the other fun experiences they have.

Why Buy A Horse? I’ve Got Plenty!

Kids Pony HireIt works great for our family and the teen’s parents as the cost of owning a horse of your own plus all the equipment and up keep is quite expensive.

With all this time spent around the ponies, Gemma has become a very experienced young horsewoman. She has even trained Josh our 16 hand Thoroughbred tricks.

Gemma has a goal to become an equine vet and works very hard toward this. I’m quietly confident that she will achieve this ambition.

Remember to say hi to Gemma and ask her why she was wearing a green Band-Aid on her head recently. (Or keep an eye out for next months issue of BalloonaScoop, I may just tell you the answer).

For Pony Party Inquiries call (03) 8669 1303 or send via our online form.

Pony Profile – Jiminy Nikki

This month we bring to you one of our Shetland Ponies, Jiminy Nikki, Nikki for short

Pony with shiny coat

Our Beautiful Girl Nikki

Nikki is a beautiful black mare standing at 10.1 hands and is one of the sweetest natured ponies I’ve ever owned. Born in 1995, (so she is getting up there in age now), Nikki came to us in the very early days of our business back in 2001 – she is very much a part of our family. With her shiny black coat in summer, her lovely long, wavy mane and tail and her big brown eyes, Nikki has always been a popular pony at kids parties and events.

Why is Nikki One Of Our Popular Ponies With The Kids?

Pony Party Pony - Nikki

Nikki the Princess Pony

When we bought her as a 7 year old, Nikki’s previous owner had used her as a broodmare to breed miniature horses from. She had two beautiful foals. We discovered that Nikki had obviously been broken in to ride at some stage because she so easily stepped into her new career as a hand led pony ride giver as if she had been doing it all her life, displaying a calm, placid temperament in all situations. As you might well know, kids birthday parties are fun, happy and noisily active affairs – as they should be.

Although she is so amazingly quiet amongst all manner of noise and commotion, Nikki is quite a sprightly forward moving pony who would often prefer to trot everywhere rather than walk which makes her very easy to lead. She will walk shoulder to shoulder with her handler, placing the child in the saddle right next to the handler.

Michelle Gets On Her Soap Box

bad-pony-ride-handlers

How NOT to lead kids on ponies (This is not Nikki or Balloonaversal)

This is how we as a pony ride business have all of our ponies walk as this is the safest position for children – easy reach for us, we can keep a steady hand on the youngsters should they not have good natural balance, which often they don’t. I have seen quite a few pony ride businesses lead their ponies virtually at the end of the lead rope! How are they going to save your child from taking a fall? All a pony needs to do is innocently stumble over a clump of grass or pause for a big shake if they are feeling a bit itchy and off your little one goes. Who cares about public liability insurance? You simply don’t want your child falling off at all.

(I’ll step down from my soap box now, but rest assured, with me having over 30 years of riding, teaching, training, competing experience, Balloonaversal provide one of the most well thought out, safest environments while still maintaining the kids party fun, you can afford to have.)

How Old Is Too Old To Give Pony Rides?

Melbourne pony party

Nikki in one of her costumes – Medieval Knight’s Horse

People often ask me how old Nikki is and then how long do Shetland Ponies live, which is in most cases into their 30s. This invariably leads to the next question – how long will she work for? As long as my ponies are sound (no lameness such as arthritis), are in perfect health and are happy in their job (they get regular holidays away from any form of work), then we still include them, after all even ponies need to feel useful. So far we have retired two of our ponies a small, very cute white Shetland called CJ and a white Welsh Mountain mare called Buttons.

Want To Know More About The Ponies On The Balloonaversal Team?

I hope you have enjoyed reading about another one of Balloonaversal’s pony team members, we will feature another pony in the next edition of BalloonaScoop. You can find past pony profile articles in the Blog.

Please leave us a comment below and let us know if you have had Nikki visit your party. Send us a photo.

For information on pony rides visit our Pony Party Packages page.

Calm pony ride ponies

Noise and activity never bothers Nikki

Party-Pony-3

Nikki – Always the Party Animal