Pony Rides In The Forest

As well as bringing our ponies to your party, we also run regular, hand-led pony rides in the forest at Flowerdale. We are located less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs. Many families take the opportunity to visit Kinglake National Park while in the area.

Pony rides and engaging with animals

Caring for animals has many hidden benefits for children, such as learning about empathy, respect, relationships, and the environment. Pets can have a calming influence on children as well. The RSPCA says that observing and interacting with companion animals can positively affect children’s physical, emotional and social development.


The physical benefits of engaging in horse riding are numerous. Studies show that it improves cardiovascular health, core strength, muscle strength, burns calories and lowers blood pressure. And that doesn’t include catching the pony first! Just owning a pet has been found to have physical benefits. Another study claims that children who have early contact with animals have fewer respiratory infections, ear infections, and a lower incidence of allergies later in life. In addition, they have more stable immune systems, and need shorter courses of antibiotics than children without contact with any pets. Ponies included!


Pets can have a significant impact on our mental well being, helping us feel loved and less lonely. Children with pets have higher self esteem, greater empathy and better social skills. Children often talk to and confide in their pets in ways they wouldn’t with people. They are more confident with tasks that they find difficult, simply because animals don’t care if mistakes are made, are non judgemental, and provide unconditional love. Studies reveal that when a dog and it’s owner look into each other’s eyes, the levels of oxytocin increase in both the owner and dog, helping to cement the bond between the two. During the pandemic, at a time of reduced social interaction, many Australians turned to pet ownership as a source of comfort, affection and companionship. They can also help children learn about loss and grief.


Pets can actually help children make new friends too. They are more likely to approach and interact with other children who are playing with an animal, which bridges the gap between potential playmates. But this isn’t only relevant for children, adults can also benefit from friendships facilitated by pets, resulting in new social support networks.


Can owning a pet help children to excel in school? Yes, according to a study showing that children who read aloud to a dog improved their reading skills by having a higher words-per-minute reading rate. This is possibly due to the dog’s ability to reduce the child’s stress and by providing non judgemental support. Studies have also shown better school attendance with those that have animal mascots in classes, and also a reduction in vandalism. Owning a pet may also encourage children to have an interest in animals in general and in turn lead to study in research and science.

How old do the children need to be for a pony ride in the forest?

This is something we are asked regularly by mums and dads. Most riding establishments have restrictions on age due to the fact that the children would be riding solo at the establishment. However because our rides are hand-led (that is, someone leading the pony) it is very safe, so we can offer these rides to any age group. If you have an enthusiastic 3 year old, we would love to help them enjoy a pony ride!

What if they’re not sure they want to get on?

Sometimes little kids may be a bit hesitant about sitting on a pony, particularly if this is the first time. We supply small sized brushes for kids to groom the ponies, to get up close in a non threatening and creative way. This helps them warm up to the idea of getting on for a hand led ride. However, there is no pressure to have a ride. For some kids, the best part is puting hairclips in the pony’s mane! Introducing kids to the ponies is an important step in setting up a positive experience for everyone.

What if they don’t want to get off?

This does happen! Sorry, you’ll have to deal with that one!

Pony rides, forest therapy and parents

Forest Therapy first became popular in Japan in the 1980’s and it’s many benefits in physical and mental health has seen it spread into other countries around the world, including Australia. Participants engage with nature through the 5 senses by practising a set of activities with the help of a guide. See p. 14 in Victorian Landcare magazine. https://www.landcarevic.org.au/assets/Uploads/VLCM-75-lo-res.pdf

Lifestyle diseases are the leading cause of ill health in Australia. By engaging in gentle physical exercise, Forest Therapy has multiple direct benefits including:

  • reduced blood pressure
  • lowered pulse rate
  • reduced stress hormone levels
  • reduced anxiety and depression
  • increased positive mood
  • enhanced energy levels
  • better concentration

Indirect benefits include:

  • overall fitness levels
  • improved immune system
  • better sleep
  • weight loss
  • reduced risk of heart and lung disease
  • lessens feelings of stress
  • higher self confidence

Pony rides in the forest as a relaxing family activity

As owners and handlers of ponies regularly engaged in forest rides, we see the benefits of gentle outdoor exercise within the first 5 minutes of departure. Deep sighs, relaxation of their mental state, and being open to new opportunites for learning are not only observed in the ponies! Children, their families and friends benefit too and unanimously enjoy the experience.

The ponies love to go exploring in the forest as well.
The ponies love to go exploring in the forest as well.

It’s not just dogs and cats that have so many health benefits, but horses and ponies too! Pony rides in the forest are becoming increasingly popular as parents and carers recognise the benefits of participating in outdoor activities and engaging with the ponies. Plus, it’s fun! Mums and dads enjoy the walk as well, and have numerous opportunities to take photos or videos of the children riding the ponies. We can facilitate small groups or individual experiences.

So come on, mums and dads! Get outside and enjoy pony rides in the forest!

Book your forest ride today! Or call Janet on 0417 330 948

Discover more about Melbourne’s Pony Parties

Meet the ponies and meet our friendly staff!

Here’s a poem we wrote for one of our ponies..

2 thoughts on “Pony Rides In The Forest

  1. Good morning 🙂

    I wanted to make an enquiry into booking my nieces for a forest pony ride but I’ve had some trouble getting into other places given their size and I’m hoping you might be able to cater to them.

    The 5 year old is 27kg and 1250mm tall, and the 3 year old is 22kg and 1100mm tall. I’m flexible on dates but if you had weekend bookings that would be preferred!

    Thank you

    1. Hi Celine,

      Yes we can help you out with pony rides for your nieces!

      We have a pony to suit 5 year olds and 3 year olds.
      Each session includes the opportunity to brush the pony, have a hand led ride, and feed the pony some carrots.
      The girls can share the pony and take it in turns to ride.
      Our rates are $40 for 1/2 hour session, or $70 for an hour.

      We are located in Flowerdale, and have times available on most weekends.

      Cheers, Janet

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