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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.