Ponyplay FAQ

Summary: This Frequently Asked Questions list (FAQ) answers questions regarding the pony play fetish as an activity between consenting adults.

Contributors: Ariel, Mistress Autumn, The PonyGroom, and Paul Reed.

This document is copyrighted 1998-2013 by Todd H. ©. Please do not copy or reproduce any of this document without permission.

If you have any comments and/or suggestions about this FAQ, email me at celticdm at gmail.com. I do not respond to inquiries from media sources, due to past poor experiences with the print and broadcast media.

Click on any question to go to the answer for it.


I. Introduction.

1. A little about myself.

2. Why a Ponyplay FAQ?


II. What Ponyplay is and isn't.

3. What is Ponyplay?

4. When did it first start? Where did it start?

5. Why would people engage in this kind of play?

6. What types of ponies are there?

7. Are there male & female ponies?

8. Are there safewords used?


III. Clothing/Equipment.

9. Clothing?? You mean I have to buy clothing for this?

10. What kind of equipment do I need?

11. Where do I find it?


IV. Training, exercise and nutrition for ponies.

12. Training.

13. Exercise.

14. What are some common injuries and symptoms that new ponies might get?

15. Nutrition.


V. PonyGrooms.

16. What is a PonyGroom?

17. What's the difference between a Groom, Master and Trainer?

18. Does the Groom ever have conflict with the Master/Top/Trainer? What happens, do you defer?


VI. Places to Find Out More.

19. Where can I find a ponygirl? ponyboy?

20. What about other web sites?

21. Other net resources?

22. Magazines?

23. Books?


VII. Acknowledgements.


I. Introduction

1. A little about myself.

I am Todd H. I identify as a Male Dominant and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been involved in the local scene for over twenty years, most of them as a member of the Society of Janus, a San Francisco BDSM educational/support group. I also was their WebMaster for four years and wrote a history of the group in 1999. I have had an interest in pony play for over fifteen years.


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2. Why a Ponyplay FAQ?

In my searches across the 'net for ponyplay related material, I found a few sites that were good and had some information, but none of them had a centralized place for general information about this fetish. It was my thought that having a FAQ for ponyplay which carried some general information and links to other pony play sites would be a good idea. Question 20 of this FAQ lists a few other sites.


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II. What Ponyplay is and isn't

3. What is Ponyplay?

Ponyplay is a form of BDSM and/or fetish playing, and role playing. It is an exchange of power between two people, one who assumes the Master/Mistress role and the other becomes his/her "bottom." In ponyplay, the bottom becomes a "human pony." It is a special interest area of BDSM. It can combine bondage, discipline, Dominance and submission, even a little Sadomasochism.

Ponyplay is NOT about abuse, nonconsensual humiliation, or bestiality play.


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4. When did it first start? Where did it start?

There seems to be differing opinions about this. There is evidence that shows Aristotle loved to be ridden like a pony by women. He may indeed have been the first ponyboy. According to Mistress Autumn, "Pony play originated in the 1800s during the Victorian era, with dancers of a certain "ilk" performing on stage dressed in short skirts, tassels, bells and feathers. These were the earliest "fleshly" pony girls, but they were derivative of common erotic fetish of the time - quite a few of the older periodicals and monographs dealt with the concept of the degraded or disciplined ponygirl, and in fact, the Brits are far ahead of us on this concept."

There are also rumors that King Ibram II who ruled most of the area that now makes up Turkey in the 16th century had his own stable of ponygirls and a few ponyboys.

England in the 16th century used young girls as "ponygirls" to draw coals out of mines because they were small enough to fit in the mine shaft. Right before the US Civil War, young women in the United States were used as "beasts of labor." In the early 20th century, Russian aristocrats used young peasant women as carriage ponies. However, it's clear these "ponygirls" were being used in a very nonconsensual manner.

There are also rumors dating back to the 16th century of young women (ages 14-18) in boarding schools run by men being turned into ponygirls nonconsensually. This apparently hit a peak in the period between 1880 to 1930 when several scandals erupted after it was discovered that these young women were being "used" as ponygirls by the men running these schools, and as a result many boarding schools were shut down.

In the 1950's in the United States, John Willie wrote about human ponies in the Bizarre series of books and magazines. In the 1980's a movie called the Perils of Gwendolyne came out and it features about a five minute segment where topless women are used to pull chariots around an underground kingdom. It starts Tawny Kitean, and while the big video/DVD chain stores probably don't carry it, you should be able to find it around.

So it appears that while ponyplay became a hot fetish in the late 1990's, it's one that's been around for quite a long time.


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5. Why would people engage in this kind of play?

As with any other form of BDSM play, if you asked ten different ponyplay enthusiasts this question, you probably would get ten different answers! Paul Reed, who publishes Equus Eroticus puts it this way: "What I find exciting about ponyplay is that I enjoy having the exchange of power: one person giving another the right and/or privilege and/or honor of being dominant. Women and ponies are probably the most beautiful creatures on earth. It's a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and eroticism out of ponyplay. I have them do whatever I say. I can have them go left or go right, or I can get off them and just spend time grooming them or whatever. They are completely at my disposal."



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6. What types of ponies are there?

There are probably three main kind of ponies: Cart, Riding and Show ponies.

There are also subcategories of ponies, like rubber ponies, humiliation or "pleasure" ponies (used for sexual gratification), and "sissy" ponies (men dressed up as women). In the John Willie Bizarre series, there's even mention of "banner" ponies (ponies with some kind of advertising draped across them).


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7. Are there male & female ponies?

Most definitely. Even though this FAQ is admittedly biased toward ponygirls, what little evidence there is available seems to indicate there are just as many (if not more) ponyboys as there are ponygirls. Which probably is a good thing, except there may be many more men eager to train and ride ponygirls than there are women eager to either become a ponygirl or to ride ponyboys!


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8. Are there safewords used?

Yes, but since a pony isn't allowed to talk, there has to be some non-verbal action used to indicate a safeword. Paul uses what he calls a "safe action," which consists of the pony tapping their right hand on the ground or floor twice, which means "get off me now!" Since the pony usually has a bit in his/her mouth, traditional safewords can't be used, so either the "safe action" Paul uses or some series of grunts should be used. Sometimes you can tell when a pony has had enough. If your pony is shaking for example, that's a good indication they are tired and you should stop play.

As with any other form of play, aftercare is VERY important. This can be softly caressing, stroking or holding your pony or generally whatever kind of aftercare you do with any form of BDSM play.


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III. Clothing/Equipment

9. Clothing?? You mean I have to buy clothing for this??

It depends. You and your pony can frolic in the nude, have her in lingerie or a French maid's outfit, or have her in full saddle. You can be nude, in your underwear or wear a complete uniform. It's up to you and your pony. For this reason, ponyplay can be one of the most expensive fetishes around.



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10. What kind of equipment do I need?

Again, it all depends on what you and your pony want to use. You could conceivably "climb on her back" and ride off together with no more than a silk string as your leash, or you could go all out and buy a bitgag, blinders, a saddle and so forth and spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars. One thing I absolutely suggest getting if you have a riding pony is a pair of knee pads, preferably the kind carpet installers use. You can find them at places like Home Depot ™. This is to protect your ponies' knees. Cart and show ponies probably don't need the knee pads, since they're not normally on their hands and feet.


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11. Where do I find it?

You can find some ponyplay equipment (like crops and dressage whips, f.e.) at Western tack stores. However, items like bitgags should be bought at places like The Water Hole Custom Leather in Connecticut.

Threeo other places I've heard of are:




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IV. Training, exercise and nutrition for ponies, and Ponygrooms

(My heartfelt thanks to Ariel of the now-defunct CTSM in Chicago for supplying this section, along with the sections on exercise, treating injuries and nutrition).

12. Training.

Beginning ponies, whether they are cart, riding or show ponies, generally need to work on their endurance and balance. While most human fetish ponies aren't being galloped (run at great distances like a real horse) the fetish tack is often hot, initially cumbersome, and often it takes time to acclimate the pony to having his or her arms constricted (in a more classic pony fetishist style). Beginning ponies need to learn how to walk properly, lifting the knees in an inverted-gamma style (an upside-down L), with the upper leg perpendicular to the floor.This walk is the basic first command for any kind of fetish pony, and is harder than it looks. Good shoes are essential - therefore, it is best to begin your human pony with flat shoes or boots with a level (not a spike) heel. Spike heels and tall boots (with heels) are best reserved for experienced ponies on flat, indoor surfaces.

Intermediate ponies have learned to acclimate themselves to their tack and shoes and also their Master's commands and style of command (quick, slow, or varied). In addition to the Walk command, trainers may now add Back (walking backwards, slowly, still lifting each leg in the inverted-gamma style) Show (kneeling dressage style, with one leg extended gracefully forward) Trot (fast walk) and, for all-fours riding ponies, Gallop (quick crawl). The photos below show two female ponies being trained to Walk in a classic circle-harnessing method, where each pony concentrates solely on the track before her and has the additional companionship of another pony.


  

The other photograph shows the command Show, which is a dressage motion for ponies at intermediate levels of training.


  

Photos courtesy of CTSM

The FAQ editor also adds: When training a new pony, GO SLOW! It's similar to the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!" <s> Always keep safety in mind. When Paul starts training a new pony, he first asks if the pony has any health problems, like a bad back. He never uses a bitgag during the first training session because he wants to be able to talk to his pony, and check in with her.

Remember too the first training session may not go all that well. Don't worry if it doesn't..just concentrate on getting to know your pony. <back>






13. Exercise.

Most ponies can greatly benefit from additional exercise prescribed by them by their Trainers. While it is difficult to engage in truly beneficial (aerobic) exercise while wearing the heavy/constricting fetish tack given the human pony, some stretching and limbering exercises derived from yoga can be beneficial to the pony who has a sound musculature (no prior athletic injuries). ANY kind of stretching and warm up is important before engaging in any type of strenuous physical activity.

Aerobic exercise is any exercise that involves an increased demand for oxygen - something that gets your heart rate up for longer than 20 minutes at a time - and should be performed at least twice a week for one month for beginning benefits. Best of all for the beginning pony would be an exercise program involving both aerobic exercise and anabolic (muscle-building) exercises on alternate days. Examples of this for females would be: walking (in ordinary exercise clothing, of course) for 2 miles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with mild weight-lifting (5 lbs for the legs, 2 lbs for the arms) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is important to alternate weight lifting days with "rest" days in order to give the muscles time to literally rebuild in response to the extra demands of weight lifting. Otherwise, if you continued with strict weight lifting on a daily basis, you might injure yourself or suffer muscle loss as a result.

For men, the same type of training would apply, except that the amount of weight training involved would probably start out at a little heavier weight. Paul told me about a riding ponyboy he knows of who works out regularly at his gym that works his back muscles, so that he will be more able to handle a heavier person that will be riding him.

Running is very good aerobic exercise but could be hard on the beginner. A great portion of sports-related injuries come from runners overdoing it in the first few days of (new) activity. Remember, once muscles are warmed up and limber, it's easier to injure yourself by over exertion - you don't feel it until your muscles rest and have time to cool down again. Under exertion, at least for the first few weeks, is best. Do less than you think you can.

Weights attached to the ankles (like the popular donut-shaped neon-colored weights sold in sports shops) are likely to do more damage than they're worth. Strained muscles, sprained ankles (see Injuries) and falls are often associated with misuse of these products. Make sure you know what you're doing before you use them - they aren't recommended for use while running (these add too much weight to the feet and ankles).

Sports injuries (especially the sprained ankles that come with using too-tall shoes on a new pony. PLEASE! Be careful with those high heels!) can create lingering problems if not recognized and treated correctly. Generally, remembering the acronym RICE helps, which stands for a first aid protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation(of the injured part). When there is pain while exercising (no matter where), stop. ALWAYS stop. "No pain, no gain" is a macho-ism that has led to many a painful and lasting injury where none need have been. And besides, who would want to damage their property (either your own body, or your pony)?




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14. What are some common injuries and symptoms that new ponies might get?

NOTE: Some of the following information is courtesy of Aerodyn Orthotics, Inc. This information is presented as a public service and in no way should take the place of a physician's opinions.

Sprained ankle. Sprains happen when the foot turns the wrong way and the weight of the body pulls the ligaments in the ankle. The severity of the sprain depends on which of three ankle ligaments are damaged. The result is bleeding (within the muscle), inflammation and severe pain. Symptoms, obviously, include: difficulty walking on the injured side, swelling of the ankle, or in severe sprains, inability to walk on the foot itself. A grading system of severity in the case of sprains helps the doctor determine appropriate treatment:


To guard against sprained ankles, practice on level ground in good-quality, flat shoes or boots and do not restrain the arms behind the pony until she's learned to keep her balance. If you think your pony may have a sprained ankle, take off the shoe or boot immediately, and ice the injured ankle with crushed ice wrapped in a towel or T-shirt, and elevate the ankle above heart-level for about 30 minutes. Get your pony to a doctor soon (within the day).. and don't use a vet, please. {s}

Shin splints. Shin splints is a term used to describe pain (sometimes very severe) in the lower leg that occurs during exercise. The actual condition has many causes and can affect athletes at all fitness levels. Most commonly, the pain occurs on the inside of the shin bone, but becomes less severe during exercise, and worse again after stopping. Beginning runners are most likely to suffer from this syndrome, or those runners who change surfaces frequently (e.g. running on pavement, and then graveled paths), or those who change shoes often. Consistency in exercise patterns is very important.

Treatment of shin splints includes gentle stretching exercises after running, changing of exercise to non-weight bearing exercise (such as swimming) and the insertion of orthotics (shoe inserts) into running shoes to support the foot. A qualified orthopedist should be consulted.

Knee pain is common among many new athletes, related to overotation (pronation) of the foot and subsequent change of alignment between the upper leg and lower leg bones. The kneecap actually becomes irritated due to its change in "tracking," and often severe pain is the result. Again, knee pain is a sign of something seriously wrong and exercise or activity should be halted immediately. Treatment for knee pain and swelling involves taking aspirin or other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines), splinting of the knee and rehabilitation exercises as prescribed by the health care practitioner.

Over the counter braces for the knee and ankle, or "wrapping" the ankles with athletic bandages may create a false sense of confidence in the new pony or Trainer.These aids may help a recovering injury or assist in reminding the pony to maintain correct posture (many ponies pronate, or turn, their feet inwards towards each other without realizing it, a common postural mistake). However, by no means should a brace or support be used in lieu of good shoes, correct and gentle postural correction, and qualified medical help.

When purchasing a brace or support, ask: Why am I buying this? Can I do my exercise without it? What would happen if I were without this brace? Answers to these questions may show you that over-reliance on a brace to correct, heal, or assist in good posture habits can help less than one might think. Always ask your medical practitioner before using one of these devices, for there may be underlying injury that she can spot and treat before it becomes more serious still.



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15. Nutrition.

Most (American) ponies suffer from a history of poor nutrition. High fat, high salt foods sap the vitality of a healthy pony and make training difficult. Therefore, the aim of the Trainer should be to set a good example and to provide her charge with the best quality nutritional support possible.

Whole foods for the pony and Trainer alike are best. This means minimizing the use of processed (bleached and refined) flour, simple sugars, and substituting whole wheat products, brown rice, whole grains in their place. Vegetables, fruits and grains should be the majority - the base - of any pony's (and Trainer's) diet: think of the diet as a pyramid, with grains, vegetables and fruits forming the broad base of the pyramid, and meats, sweets and fats near the top in minimal quantities. This is easier to envision than the "portion" version of suggested diets, where quantities are restricted to "portions" - a portion is smaller than one thinks. Take the time once and measure out what a tablespoon of butter actually is. Two of those should be one's maximum fat allocation for the day - far less fat than is in a half-cup of macaroni and cheese, a half a cup of ice cream, or three cups of coffee with half and half.

Making the switch to a better diet is often difficult: expect setbacks and "lapses" where one returns to "comfort" food instead of "ideal" and "healthy" foods. The guilt alone can often discourage a person otherwise making a good start, starting them into a tailspin where they feel they will never be able to "make it," so why should they try?

The trick is to remember ALL food is good food. Even hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, waffles. The fear of "bad" food versus "good" food often triggers many people to begin terribly depressing habits of feeling guilty about not being able to stick to an overly rigorous diet of "good" food, binging on "bad" food, and then alternating between feeling like they're starving themselves and stuffing themselves. The idea is to slowly modify ideas about food so that a peach is as preferable as a pizza, rice with fresh tomatoes and chopped scallions as exciting as a burger. Guilt is slowly removed about food, and in time, better habits and attitudes about food occur. The shift is a fundamental one about how you feel about food, not just seeing food (and yourself) as "bad" or "good" depending on what someone else says.


NOTE: If you as a Master or Trainer notice abnormal behaviors in your ponyslave, like binge eating followed by guilt or purging, unreasonable food fixations, strict adherence to an exercise program (exercising when ill, f.e.), or feelings of self-worth based on weight, get professional help immediately! These may be signs of an eating disorder with your pony.

Ponies (and humans) are made to graze. This means snacking on a variety of foods throughout the day, to keep blood sugar on an even level and keep saliva flowing in the mouth (which decreases cavities). The main idea, of course, is to keep roughly close to the pyramid: in the summertime, seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and examples are easy. In the wintertime it takes a little more ingenuity, and grains play a larger part in the diet (which provide complex carbohydrates and a steady supply of energy).


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V. PonyGrooms.

16. What is a PonyGroom?

A Groom is a person who handles and helps a pony, but one who does not have a direct role with the pony. The Groom does not train, ride or own him or her.



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17. What's the difference between a Groom, Master and Trainer?

Again, a Groom does not take a direct role in the pony's training. A groom's role is to "take care" of the pony, perhaps brush the ponies' hair or bathe them, and help him or her out before and after a training session. A Master/Mistress "owns" the pony and can be their Trainer as well. The Trainer is the person responsible for training the pony.


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18. Does the Groom ever have conflict with the Master/Top/Trainer? What happens, do you defer?

The Groom always defers to the pony's Master/Trainer, the person who is playing that role in the pony's life. If there is a Trainer present, the Groom assists that person in whatever way they ask.


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VI. Places to find out more

19. Where can I find a ponygirl? ponyboy?

Probably the best place to meet someone that shares this fantasy is either at a BDSM munch, BDSM group meeting or group event. There are several BDSM groups across the country that are "friendly" to pony play, like TES in New York City, Rochester Kink Society in Rochester, New York, and Black Rose in Washington, DC.

Various SM groups across the US have annual events (like "Beat Me In St. Louis" every April or the Black Rose annual event every fall) that feature programs on ponyplay.

Munches are usually held at a coffee shop or restaurant and are an informal way to meet scene-friendly people. One site that carries a list of munches throughout North America and in some cases, worldwide is caryl's page. caryl's site also has an extensive list of SM groups across North America, as does my own groups page.

There are also ponyplay "clubs" around the US. Here is a short list:

Ponyplay Clubs

There's a mailing list for folks in southern California that I mention later on in this FAQ. So it seems that thanks to the 'net, ponyplay activity and groups are gaining momentum.



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20. What about other web sites?

Here are four I currently know of:

- myponygirl.com
- Pony Links
- The Human Equine
- The Tawsingham Society

When I first wrote this FAQ, there were several ponygirl picture sites, but most are now gone. There's only one I know of:

- Sir Jeff's Ponygirls

The myponygirl.com site also has a few ponygirl images.

There also used to be a few sites with ponygirl stories, which are also now gone. Only the New PonyGirl pages site mentioned above has a few. The only other ponygirl story I know of online is called Troika by Cobalt Jade.

If you know of any site containing ponygirl pictures, stories or other ponyplay-related information, Email me (address listed at the beginning of the FAQ).


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21. Other net resources?

Tribe.net, an online community site has their own ponyplay discussion group at ponyplay.tribe.net. There's also a PonyPlay group on FetLife.

There are mailing lists about ponyplay. Contact ponygroom@aol.com for more about the "worldwide" list. There's a list in southern California called the The Pony Club of California. Email PonyClubCA@aol.com for further info.


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22. Magazines?

There was one called Equus Eroticus. Equus Eroticus was published by a man named Paul Reed. He has turned it over to Rebecca Wilcox who plans to continue publishing the magazine as an online only venture. Their web site is www.equuseroticus.com/.

Twenty-two issues were published and all back issues are still available and can be bought here. Equus Eroticus has great stories, pictures, some information about ponyplay and ponyplay events.



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23. Books?

Im mid-2008, a book about ponyplay was published. It's called "The Human Pony: a handbook for owners, trainers and admirers" and can be ordered through Amazon.

There's also the PONY PLAY MANUAL by Jessica Brown

Those are the only "instructional" books I know of about ponyplay. There is some fiction available, like The House of Gord books. Another series of novels mentioning ponyplay are the "Slave" series by Jenny Jane Pope, "Slave Genesis," "Slave Exodus," and "Slave Judges." I recently was told about a book called Carrie's Story that features some ponyplay. There's also the Anne Rice trilogy (Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, etc.) features ponyboys and ponygirls. Apparently, a number of women first got the idea they might enjoy being ponygirls from reading The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.


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VII. Acknowledgements

The following people (especially Paul and Ariel) were very helpful to me while I was putting this FAQ together:

Thank You all very much!


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