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.

Pony Party Winner’s Big Day

Win A Pony Party

Jade riding Annabel loved her ‘My Little Pony’ themed party that her mummy won for her

This Year’s Pony Party Winner – How Much Fun Did They Have?

On the 31st March this year, we draw the winning name out of our big red box for the Win A Pony Party Competition. Catching that moment on film and the subsequent phone call to Alisha Ford was a lot of fun, but not as much fun as the party for little Jade.

Jade celebrated her 6th birthday on Sunday the 22nd of May in fine style choosing the theme My Little Pony. Our arrival was greatly anticipated with kids squealing in delight ‘The Ponies are here, the ponies are here!” Such excitement.

Beautiful Calm Ponies, Perfect For Kids Parties

Our beautiful ponies Annabel and Jeremiah were a huge hit and as always were so calm and gentle amongst the noise and activity of 14 excited six year olds.

Annabel, a pretty chestnut Shetland Pony mare dressed as Pinkey Pie from My Little Pony gave lotsPony party - pony grooming and lots of rides. Her even temperament and sweet nature coaxed a couple of shy boys into having a ride too (and then more rides). Meanwhile Jeremiah the chocolate brown (but grey because of his clipped winter coat) Miniature Pony enjoyed being groomed, mane braded in to several plaits and then being clothed in the fashionable pony dress ups from the dress up box. The kids even took turns leading Jeremiah around the garden, which he didn’t mind in the least as there were plenty of opportunities to stop and pick at the lush green grass – his favourite past time.

Balloon Party Hats Add So Much Fun

The last 20 minutes of the 1:5 hour party was spent playing a balloon game. Everyone gathered around Mrs Balloonatic as she performed balloon twisting magic creating amazing balloon party hats for each child.

pony party melbourne

Last but not least was a big happy group shot of all the kids with Mrs Balloonatic, Jeremiah and Annabel. It’s fair to say that everyone had a ball and we achieved our number one goal is to help families create memorable family moments.

Family Is Important

You see at Balloonaversal we firmly believe in family.  In a time when so many of us parents are struggling for meaningful time with our kids and loved ones, we believe that there has never been a more important time than now to ensure we create those strong family ties … and those treasured family memories.

Children’s birthday parties are a perfect opportunity to do this and we’ve got to tell you, we find it truly wonderful witnessing the joy a great party brings … we simply love this aspect of our business.

So Happy Birthday Jade from Mrs Balloonatic and the Balloonaversal Team.

Win A Pony Party Competition

If you would love a chance to win a pony party like Alisha did for her daughter Jade, head over to our competition page and enter today. Next draw is on the 31st March 2017.

Available Pony Party Packages and booking inquiries go here: Balloonaversal Pony Parties.

Pony party selfie

Look who I caught taking selfies with Annabel, mums having fun at the pony party too

My Child’s Love Of Horses

Horses - a life time love

Horses & Ponies have been a life time love for Michelle

Pony Party Beginnings – The Love Of Horses

It seems fair to say that once upon a time, horses and perhaps ponies too, were very much a part of every day life. When I was young, the baker, the milkie, the ‘bottlo’ went about their daily business with the help of horse drawn wagons and carts. We knew about polite ‘horsey droppings’ along the byways and highways. But time and progress changes everything.

Nowadays horses belt around the racetracks of the nation and the punters know all about the odds and evens but not much about the intricacies of managing a horse on a day to day basis. The beloved Gee Gee is no longer a viable beast of burden in the service of humankind. Horses are now in fact ‘beasts of sport’ for humankind! And not just for adults!

Horses and of course ponies, are indeed active in the lives of many young children today in the form of hand led pony rides at parties or events, country trail rides, riding schools and school holiday riding programs for non horse owners, and the amazing world of pony club.

A Dad’s Perspective

My involvement in horse ownership began with my eldest daughter, Michelle who declared an undying love of horses, expressing the desire to own a pony of her own to ride. Hmm! Well, after trying to divert her interest to something else, I began to accept the idea that my darling daughter was serious about wanting to go ‘horse riding’ no matter what. As a father, you try to talk a daughter out of something she is determined to do … huh! then you accept reality and re-arrange your budget.

Once I had accepted impending horse ownership – thus began the search for a suitable mount for a child 11 years of age. Search! Search being the operative word – where does one begin? And how do you know what is a good pony for a child if you have no idea or experience yourself? Some ponies where cheap and some definitely weren’t and all purported to be ‘excellent child’s first mount’. We stumbled upon someone who was involved in something called Pony Club who offered the expertise we needed and found a great first pony – ‘Travis’.

Michelle's First Pony

Michelle’s First Pony

The Care & Up Keep Of Ponies

I soon realised that we would have to arrange agistment, a paddock for the beloved creature – another expense. And then… I am advised that horses need something called ‘tack’- a saddle, bridle, reins and a myriad of other essential items like buckets, brushes and lord only knows what else to make them happy.

Oh and ponies also need to be fed and not just grass. Apparently our garage needed to be filled with bales of hay, sacks of chaff, oats and bran. But the expense did not stop there either. The darling little rider needed to be kitted out with riding clothes, then she needed riding lessons.

Ponies also require attention to their hooves every couple of months. Travis was a lucky pony, daughter said that he ‘had’ to wear horse shoes … which is a little more than just a ‘manicure’. But that’s not all, there’s more – the vet will need to be called every so often, I guess sometime a pony just doesn’t feel well, but I’m told the vet will ‘de-worm’ the pony saving us more visits from the vet.

Well, once the dust settled, and the budget was… er, trimmed by necessity, and I thought that was the worst of it, we were now joining a Pony club. And we discovered that a horse-float would be required to transport the ‘beast of burden’ to and from pony club. Fortunately we at least had a vehicle capable of pulling a horse float.

Pony Club – To Join or Not To Join?

So now we are pony club parents invited to do our bit around the Club. Dads get to lug the heavy equipment such as the show jumping polls, barrels, bunting to mark out areas … and clean up and put everything away afterwards. Mums do the canteen thing amongst other lovely chores.

Michelle at her 2nd Pony Club Horse Trials

Michelle on Barwidgee Chirado at Seville ODE

Before long, daughter has progressed with her riding skills and is now participating in club events and, she is showing some real talent as a rider and competitor in show jumping and cross country events. We are becoming a wee bit proud of darling daughter in fact!

At this time, our youngest son and our youngest daughter are also expressing an interest in horse riding too. Great! Two more ponies to add to the string, more riding clothes, riding equipment … two more little pony clubbers! However, one of my fondest moments during those years was when – on each of their own merits, my 3 riding children qualified for the ‘A’ team in the pony club zone trials for eventing where they came second.

Dad's Pround Pony Club Moment

Dad’s Pround Pony Club Moment

 

Well that was all 30 years ago now and trying not to sound clichéd, but it really did seem like yesterday. My eldest daughter maintained her involvement in horses and competition well into her late 20’s and still to this day has horses and ponies in her life – she runs a successful kids party business called Balloonaversal Entertainments and of course has included pony rides for the kids.

Horses And Ponies Are Great Trainers Of Human Beings!

As Michelle grew older, her involvement in pony club progressed to being elected on the junior committee where these young people held monthly board meeting to organise the various activities for the members – professional open horse shows, club rides even the annual Aussie Rules football match held on the sand arena (deliberately flooded with water overnight) with the Nunawading Pony Club.

So who would ever have thought that horse ownership and belonging to a pony club would provide such wonderful life skills? I have come to notice that my daughter’s involvement in horses has in fact shown me something more about her. Not only does she have an exceptional knowledge in the care and training of both horses & riders, but also wonderful life skills like discipline, commitment, being organized, courage, striving for excellence, responsibility, goal setting & clear thinking, just to name a few.

I see this not only in my eldest daughter Michelle, but my other children as well.

Horses Guided My Children Through The Perils Of The Teenage Years

Cross Country at Wandin Junior 2DE

Cross Country at Wandin Junior 2DE

My wife and I were always happy with the fact that our daughter’s love of horses, (and indeed her younger brother and sister) seemed to have thankfully guided her past the dreaded ‘boy’ stage and to some degree that rebellious teenage stage.

We always encouraged her goal setting for equestrian events and I think it was having these goals and purposes in life that definitely steered her past a lot of the teenage pitfalls. During this phase of her life Michelle won many, many prizes for her riding abilities.

 

 

Final Words

Tobias & Asher on Jeremiah

Tobias & Asher on Jeremiah

It now makes me proud when I look at my daughter and see the kind of woman she has become. Now she has children of her own, a wonderful marriage and a thriving business with her husband Peter. She doesn’t compete any more but of course still has the involvement with horses via the pony parties – which I know are full of fun for the children. And it seems her two little boys have captured her love of horses too.

 

Written by Ralph W Anthony-Purnell

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