If you're having a horse-themed birthday party, and both space and finances permit, there's no better way to light up your horse-loving birthday child's face than by renting a real live horse. If you live in a rural area with many horse-owning neighbors you may be able to approach one of them and come to an arrangement, but if not, you'll find that many companies specializing in "pony parties" will bring their horses right to you.
Most companies will rent out ponies for birthday party rides, a pony usually being defined as a small horse standing 58 inches or less at the shoulder. As these are smaller animals than full-size horses, there may be limits in place as to the size of the child permitted to ride. A handler will usually lead the ponies around, although for large parties you may be able to rent a pony carousel which will enable several children to ride at one time. You may also be able to arrange for costumed ponies to go with a particular birthday theme, such as cowboys, knights or even unicorns.
If your kids would rather cuddle than ride, consider booking a mini horse for your party. Miniature horses tend to be calmer and gentler than ponies, and quite a bit smaller -- no taller than 30 inches at the shoulder. If you rent a mini horse, party guests can walk it around on a lead rope, brush and style its hair, pose for photos with it, and maybe even go for a ride in a small horse-drawn cart.
Rent a horse-drawn carriage as another option for kids who'd like to enjoy a horse-themed party experience but do not wish to ride. You can ask to have the carriage decorated to reflect your party's theme -- some popular uses of carriage rides are for kids' Wild West or princess parties, Victorian tea parties or wintertime sleigh rides. Check with your local government first to make sure horse-drawn vehicles are permitted on your community's streets.
Before booking a horse for a party, check to see if the company or individual you rent from has any particular requirements for space or restrictions on the type and number of party guests. Ask if they will be providing necessary equipment such as riding helmets, or if you'll need to supply your own. See if the company or horse owner you're renting from has liability insurance that will cover any injury to a party guest -- if not, determine whether your own insurance covers this. Inquire as to the weather policy as well, and ask about how far in advance you'll need to cancel in order to get your deposit back in case of illness or other unforeseen circumstances.