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’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.


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 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


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


Nikki – Always the Party Animal

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

Fairy Pony Party and Unicorns

Fairy Pony Party with Unicorn

Fairy Balloonatic and Jeremiah the Unicorn

Here’s one of our all time favourite pony parties – The Fairy Pony Party with ‘real’ live unicorns! Isn’t this every little girl’s dream come true? Come on mums, wouldn’t you have loved a unicorn to visit your birthday party when you were a little girl? I would have given anything.

This party is personally on of my favourites and clearly it’s one of our top sellers and for obvious reasons. You will be delighted with two fairies, magic AND face painting, fairy dancing and ribbon twirling, 2 unicorns – a magical performing miniature unicorn and one to ride on, lots of flowers, butterflies and vines decorating the fairy grotto creating a magical setting, and colourful balloon party hats for everyone to take home.

We’ve made many a little girl super excited over the years with this beautiful party entertainment package.

Here’s how the Fairy Pony Party will make your little girl’s birthday party one to remember for years to come:

A typical schedule:

  • 2:5 hours in length

    Fairy Party Grotto

    Little fairies enjoying the interactive story telling ‘A Fairy Tea Party’

  • 2 party hosts – Fairies
  • 2 ponies for :
  • a) Pony Rides (Unicorn)
  • b) Miniature Pony (unicorn) grooming and dress ups
  • Fairy Grotto Themed 3 x 3 marquee – fairy castle back drop and lots of flowers and vines
  • Interactive Storytelling+ performing mini ‘unicorn’ + magic
  • Professional Face Painting
  • Balloon Party Hats for each child
  • A special balloon creation for the birthday child
  • Themed party music played through out the party
  • ‘Happy Birthday’ music to sing along with at birthday cake time
  • Photo opportunities through out the entire party

A Memorable Family Day Guaranteed!

For booking information go to our Deluxe Themed Pony Party Page.

At Balloonaversal, we provide you with free fairy pony party themed invitations, simple to download, and exciting news …

Introducing our New FREE party concierge service

We will save time when you’re organising all the aspects for your party.  Let us help you locate local service providers or quick delivery online party supplies for birthday cakes, party bags, party hire, helium balloons and more.

Now that’s service!

Want a super special family memory and a dream come true party?  Give us a call today and we’ll help you create just that.

(03) 8669 1303

Or fill in our online Inquiry Form