9 August, 2016


Giving the gift of pony rides this Christmas


Christmas parties and pageants are a time for festivities and fun, and the offer of a pony ride is a welcomed part of the celebrations, especially by small children.


Horse SA is this year reminding Christmas function organisers to undertake some basic safety checks as a part of engaging businesses or organisations to provide pony rides.


“Interactions between the public and ponies can pose a risk, which is increased with the festivities associated with street parades, a party atmosphere and crowds.” Julie Fiedler, Executive Officer for Horse SA, explained. “However, by taking a bit of extra time to plan and prepare for live animals at a public event, an enjoyable and safe time can be had by the whole community.”


Ponies provided for rides at Christmas functions are usually chosen because they are comfortable with crowds; however, the general public are mostly unfamiliar with moving safely around ponies and have no idea of how their behaviour could inadvertently frighten a pony and cause it to react badly.


Hors SA suggests these tips for planning a pony-ride friendly event:


  1. Prior to engaging pony ride operators, gain an understanding of what safety practices the providers have in place.
  2. Share with the ride operator the full extent of the planned event festivities, including timing of any ‘spectacles’ e.g. parachute landings.
  3. Ensure that experienced ponies and handlers which are used to working with crowds will attend the event.
  4. Select a safer, fenced pony ride site, with a supervisor dedicated to people provided. Toddlers love to run up and stroke flowing pony tails!
  5. Ensure that AS/NZ 3838 compliant helmets are available for riders, which are to be fitted and properly adjusted.
  6. Require that pony welfare practices are in place, including water and rest breaks.


Safe Work SA promotes the Guide to managing risks with new and inexperienced people interact with horses on their ‘equine’ website page, which is an essential reference.


Specific information and specialist advice is available for both pony ride operators and function organisers through HorseSafety Australia.




Media enquiries:  Julie Fiedler, Horse SA
Mobile: 0402488306    email: horsesa@horsesa.asn.au


Horse SA is a non-profit organisation working on a wide range of issues and topics of common interest for horse owners.  Visit www.horsesa.asn.au


SafeWork SA Equine page   http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=114666#.V6htz7h96VM

HorseSafety Australia