It’s pony pony pony in the news these days, so it’s time us Equestrian folk fought back! This month I am not going to brow beat yet again about the need to buy British, and the importance of knowing where your meat comes from – Jamie’s Chicken, Daylesford at Ocado, Laverstoke Park Farm – I WILL SAY NO MORE! This month is all about pony themed products.
I defy any young gal or guy in town or out, not to be a trifle pony mad. Of the 100,000 kids who are members of the Pony Club in the UK, 20% don’t even own a pony. My terrors, despite the fact we have 10 neddies on site at any given time, go nuts about anything horsey, so between us we have narrowed this down to the following horsey and pony themed gifts, ideas and adventures for making life neigh-tastic.
Little Joules summer collection has a whole Horsing Around section which is great for the beach /park /everywhere. When the weather isn’t so sunny, we would team the Tilly girl’s dress in pony print with some stripey leggings, and a long sleeved t-shirt for a great country look, which will work anywhere.
Accessorise with some (tasteful!) horsey themed jewellery, such as a horse head and stirrup silver bracelet by Gemma J at Horse Diva, and a cute Blossom blue shoulder bag from Horsey-gifts.com.
PARTY & GIFTS
Pony parties are big news now, and if you can’t get the real thing, you can make do with the plates, napkins and cups covered in pony-ness. We like the sets from Party Pieces, which have everything you need from invitations to cute party boxes.
A great present which can be added to over time by family and friends, is Playmobile ponies. These start from around £10 for a pony, right up to £ 70 for a full ranch with horses, feed and tack. Buy an off-cut of fake grass, and you have some grazing, and use the netting bags from garlic and satsumas to make little haynets. Old lolly sticks make great post and rail fencing – stick the bottom of each post in blue tack to keep it stable.
On the other end of the scale, for a truly beautiful heirloom that all the family can play on, you cannot beat a proper Rocking Horse. There is only one placed to go for these, which is Stevenson Brothers in Kent. They have carved rocking horses for everyone and anyone, including the Queen, and have a quality and skill second to none. Each horse has a secret hiding place, and they can be customised to look like your own pony or horse. They even do a rocking zebra!
I had two fab pony things when I was a girl; my Pippa Dolls and their ponies (what happened to them?) and my Thelwell Duvet cover, which even went with me to school but I think must have disintegrated shortly afterwards. I have spent a large amount of time trying to track down someone who still does Thelwell duvet covers, with no joy, so the next best thing I have found is the Tyrrell Katz Duvet and pillow case set, which is £45 on Horse Diva. You can team this with a really fun Thelwell ding-a-ling Alarm clock which actually neighs rather than rings, available for £11.00 from Equestrian superstore Robinsons.
When friends come to stay, or if you are lucky to go camping or sleep under the stars, do it with some pony style with a horse print sleeping bag, £59 from Anorak. Of course, no bed or bathtime would be complete without some pony themed toiletries, and we at Childs Farm have put together a natural range which not only looks great – featuring my kids and their ponies – but smells fruity fresh, is free from anything nasty, AND includes Argan oil. All our products so mild, they are eczema friendly too, so less of the itchy scratchies too.
A wonderful treat over the Easter holidays for slightly older children would be a trip to see War Horse the play. Didn’t enjoy the Disney-styley film much, but the play is true to the very moving story by Michael Morpurgo. Breyer have a special edition of their version of the horse Joey from the film, and have coupled that with a copy of the book, which would be a nice momento before or after this trip.
If you are going into town to see the play, it is worth a visit to the stunning memorial to all the animals of war, which is on Brook Gate, Park Lane (the Marble Arch end). This large sculpture is a very moving tribute to the millions of animals who lost their lives during human conflicts, and children can find out more about what animals did for us in Jilly Cooper’s book, Animals in War.
Finally, it’s all about riding… so, if you want to try it out, head over to Wellington Riding School, which is on the North Hampshire border just 45 minutes from London. They offer everything for every budding William Fox Pitt or Zara Philips, from weekly lessons to courses over the school holidays.
For those who have disabled children, or have spare time that they could use help disabled children, riding is the most wonderful way for them to experience freedom – as the Riding for the Disabled say, it is all about achievement. Have a look on their website for a group which is local to you – there are over 500 in the UK now, and find out how a little one you know could achieve something beyond their wildest expectations.
JJ, Childs Farm 22 February 2013