You may remember the photography from RicoJC featuring Ivy in a past issue. Here is the luscious video to go along with it.
Photographer: RicoJC Model: Ivy Nirvana
In classic BDSM, “pony play” is where the Dominant trains his submissive to act like a pony. Of course, in today’s BDSM world of blurred lines, there might not be any Dominance and submission involved. It could just be an exercise in training and execution. But since kinkweekly.com is a kink site, let’s take a look at classic BDSM pony play as a beautiful expression of prime Dominance and submission.
One of the cool things about pony play is that, other than any punishment – either physical or mental — that the Dom/me might mete out to improve his/her pony’s “performance,” there is usually little pain involved. Just as in training real horses, pain is not the best way to get results. One of the great aspects of pony play is that you can simply put yourself in the hands of your Dominant and do as he/she says. If you are the type of submissive that fears displeasing their Master/Mistress, this is the only fear that you can reasonably expect to face. Other than that, it is a piece of cake. And, it is a lot of fun!
The purpose of pony play is to turn the submissive into a well-trained pony. Much like learning specific high protocols, pony training can be just as rigorous. Depending on your Dominant, you will be entering a brave new world of unique discipline. More than likely, the first thing you will be taught are specific gaits. How to “trot,” “cantor,” etc. Much like learning dance steps, the aim is precision and grace. Posture is of prime importance. From those pony-enthusiastic submissives I have interviewed, the part they like best is the praise they earn from their Dom/me when they perfect a particularly difficult stride. Much of the appeal of pony play seems to come from the fact that it is a very measurable D/s activity. By its very nature, it gives power to the “trainer;” the “pony” must listen and learn. It is D/s without any of some of the complex negotiations that can be part and parcel of a power exchange.
If your Master takes it to the next level, where elaborate equipment is used, you will be amazed at the beauty and complexity of the gear that is available. Headgear, costumes, tails and even elaborate carts can be part of pony play at this level. In addition to pony play competitions, I have also seen many trainers show off their ponies, in full dress, at BDSM play parties. (One of our local dungeons has a pony play cart, some pony play gear and a huge room for pony displays.) You might say that high level pony play is the ultimate in cosplay!
If you like attention, then pony play might just be for you. And, if you want to add depth to the Dominance and submission aspects of your relationship, this is a fun way to do it. After all, this is an exercise that combines the best of role-play and Dominance and submission. There are very few downsides to it – other than the expense. (You can’t get pony play gear at the 99 cents store!) Besides, the price of a top-notch pony headdress is not your concern – it is your Dom’s.
From the sub’s point of view, pony play is one of the more enjoyable BDSM activities around. You usually don’t have to worry about a safe word (other than for cramps and such), you don’t have to concern yourself with hard limits, and you don’t even have to bother with negotiations. All you have to do is…neigh!
Here is a fantastic interview Kink Weekly did with pony play expert submissann which will offer even more information on the topic.
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.
anniebear: It looks like you have your hands in a bunch of different groups and projects. You’re obviously very active within the community, specifically with the pony and critter play. And you also have written a few books on the subject as well. Could you elaborate on what the main focus of your time is right now?
Submissann: Well, everyone has to make a living, so when I’m not doing that – my hobby is pony play. I really really enjoy it. Since my living is being a professional submissive, I sort of look at that as this book called The Marketplace. There’re several books actually by Laura Antoniou on The Marketplace.
Yes I’m familiar!
The characters get two year contracts and they get money for that, put it in the bank and their contracts have limits. It’s all written up. So, I look at being a professional submissive as a short term market place slave where my contracts are one hour, two hours, sometimes I get four days or a week but very short term compared to two years. Then there’s compensation for that, compensation for my time. I am very fortunate in that every day of my life I get to do certain or different aspects of BDSM because I have different partners that I play with, different partners that buy my time, that give me these short term contracts. Each of them has different interests. One may like electrical or enema play or wax or foot worship. Whatever it is, it’s like I get a wide variety of BDSM play in my life because I have so many wonderful partners that I play with just as my job.
Yea it is. So then if you’re going to have a hobby, it’s probably going to be something a little bit different. I found that just personally, I really really enjoy pony play. I enjoy training ponies and I enjoy being a pony. I first approached pony play from the side of being a pony.
Could you briefly talk about pony play as a kink?
Pony play is any time someone emulates a horse. So, a lot of people of all ages do this just for fun. And that’s really the whole essence of it. It can be anything and it’s what I enjoy about it. It’s when you’re pretending to be a horse, just like when you’re a child playing, it’s a very care free space. You’re not worried about your bills, you’re not worried about your relationships, you’re just playing and having a good time. And in a sense, play refreshes and revives your spirit. It feeds it, makes a special part of you alive. That needs to be fed too. I mean yes, as an adult you need to be responsible but if you don’t play, if you don’t allot some time –I mean you’re supposed to eat and work and exercise but you need play too.
Do you feel in this aspect of play that you can reach subspace* as well as regular more mainstream BDSM play?
Absolutely. There’re different ways that people do pony play. And there isn’t any right or wrong, there’re just different ways that people do it. So Ann Rice has a book on The Training of Beauty and the pony play that she describes in that is more of a slave being forced to be a horse. And they don’t go into what we call pony headspace. But they may fall into subspace, just like a when submissive so into serving they may get a head rush from serving and the adrenaline and the type of play that you may engage in when you’re being forced to be a horse could be such-like you could be whipped or tied down as a forced pony play. That’s just one. Being a slave forced to be a horse, just like a slave collared to a Master, there’s still a power exchange, it still can be a loving and wonderful relationship. So, it can fall into that. But then there’s also people that they have what you might call an inner pony that seems to come out, there seems to be this space we call it pony headspace, and its like almost a dream state. Like being awake and dreaming at the same time. And you have this horse personality. You have this pony personality that comes out while you do that. So that is a different way of playing. And I know people that when they do their pony play and they pretend to be a horse and then they fall into this pony headspace and they seem to fall so hard that they actually don’t remember when they come out of it.
You have to be really careful with them, you have to guide them slowly. The handler has to be very mindful of the pony. I’ve talked to them and what its like for them they very much when they’re a pony, they react like a horse, they have behaviors that are very horse like. They don’t speak, they move like a horse, they neigh like a horse, all the sounds of a horse. When they’re a horse they’re a horse!
I imagine it’s a pretty interesting experience to watch as a spectator.
Yes, absolutely, it’s just amazing. For people that go really hard into that headspace, some of them don’t even remember. When I’m Beauty, that’s my pony name I was given by my trainer Rebecca Wilcox and Rebecca wrote the book The Human Pony. She wrote it while she was training me, I was her pony and I’m in the book. (laughs) I also wrote my own book Pony Play with Submissann. And when I go into pony headspace I do remember bits and pieces of it, I don’t think I remember all of it but I do have a recollection of it. It’s almost like remembering a dream for me. It has an altered quality to it and in fact I went to Burning Man to participate in The Pony Express. And we would get up at five am and I would make breakfast and coffee for my friend, who when she becomes a pony her name is Tindala, and Tindala and I would then transform into our pony selves and we’d get all fixed up and there would be mailboxes around Burning Man that people dropped notes into and then they were collected at the end of the day and sorted out and we would get it and the person that was driving the cart would have the letters and we would deliver them to the people. So I would go off and spend my morning in Burning Man as Beauty and I would remember going to the different camps and communities.
Beauty had a place, I never found it as a human, for Beauty there was “bacon and socks”. There was a huge bowl of socks (I guess what I can determine about that I think that the camp bartered socks). People go there and don’t bring enough socks-people don’t bring money, they barter there, so, there was a huge bowl of socks to exchange. And every morning they would have a great big fry pan of bacon and evidently Beauty just loved bacon. The world stopped for bacon for Beauty. So there would be different places I would go as a pony and then I would come back and I would rest as me, as Ann. Then for the rest of the day I would experience Burning Man. Sometimes I would try and figure out where I had been. Like I said, it was like following a dream because how Beauty sees things and I how I see things is a little different.
That is extremely fascinating. It’s like a dual personality going on.
That’s the closest scientifically that I’ve ever compared the two. Because I tried to figure out where I had been and even investigating-I can tell you the things that I do as Beauty but its like recalling a dream.
Some people do it just because its fun and they like the wardrobe. There are different aspects. Pony play is like this huge umbrella-that’s the other thing I like about it, it includes bondage. The gear and tack you wear because horses – their gear and tack is to control them and communicate with them. There is a lot of people that go to pony play and they do it just for the bondage. They do it just in their own room, they get on all of this gear and tack because they like the way that it is heavy bindings and even putting on horse heads that encompass your whole head in leather, that’s quite heady and sends you off in a different space. There’re many things that can happen in pony play and for other people they like to actually do the games that horses do, you can also do veterinary play you can get a vet check.
That’s pretty funny, how cool.
You can also instead of being a leather pony, you can be a rubber pony, there are people that really like latex, the constrictiveness-like when you put on the catsuits and corsets, it’s like being in a pressurized suit, there is compression. I really love pony play because it made me a much better submissive. Instead of having a conversation, you know someone gives you a command and then you have a conversation about it and then maybe you do it maybe you don’t. When you’re a pony you get a command, you can’t talk and you get rewarded for just obeying, especially when you’re doing something like dressage which is like pony ballet. You (as a Pony) are given those commands and you have to interpret them really fast and do them really fast. So, that’s skill, that getting a command and just doing it – fast, without hesitation.
I remember one time dong a session where the person I was playing with had a stun gun. Usually, it’s used to intimidate you but he had it on and said, “I want you to take this and just stun yourself,” and I just took it and zapped it on my thigh and jumped four feet (laughs) afterwards he was like “listen, that was amazing” and he says “why didn’t you hit your butt?” and I said “well, I was sitting down so the biggest muscle I had was my thigh.” And I just did it, without hesitation without thinking. A command and then, you just do it. There’s a certain headiness in playing that way.
What type of groups and events are there for people that might be interested in this?
There might be local groups- in 2009 I started the Los Angeles Pony and Critter Club because I wanted to have other ponies to play with and the nice thing about having a group is that you can do Fox Hunts and Derby’s and you can do things that take not only more than one or two people but a group of people in order to do them; so, people might find in their area a pony or critter group or some kind of animal role play group. There are also dedicated pony play events. I produce the Equus International Pony Play Event. That’s a full weekend of Cart games and English games and western games. It’s just like if you go to a western day with equine horses where you have barrel racing and pole bending, we have all of those games that we do and we judge and get ribbons and its just like that. You can find social groups to play with. Down in the south there’re now Ponies on the Delta. In February, in Las Vegas there’s a Dog and Pony Show as part of the event – Sin in the City. Thunder in the Mountains in Colorado – they have a great big track in the dungeon to do your pony stuff on. Camp Crucible out east, they have a Pony track, classes, different games, a Pony Show, it’s a ten day camping event.
I was actually looking into Camp Crucible too. Are you planning on going?
Not only am I planning on going to Camp Crucible in May, it’s over the Memorial Day weekend time, I’m actually going to be teaching a class. They have classes on pony play, they have activities to do with the ponies, they have a pony show. Last year, we did their first fox hunt. They have other things to offer, it is a giant event, like a Tea and cocktail parties centered around focus groups, a Rope track, venders….
It looks like a well rounded event.
It is. It’s so much fun and I highly recommend the clit washer.
The clit washer. You can Google the clit washer and the guy that has made it-its this great big device on this little trailer and he comes through the camp and you must experience the clit washer. It’s not a complete experience of Camp Crucible without it.
Thanks for the recommendation!
You’re very welcome. Take your friend with you because you may be a little wobbly. It’s hard walking afterwards. They do have a lounge.
The Los Angeles Pony and Critter Club, we have a very active group with not only myself planning events-we have two Fox Hunts, Cart & Sled Trot & Romps, and a Derby Day; we also have a lot of puppies and Pepper Pup organized an event for them. We just had a Puppy Palooza. It was a puppy and critter event. “Every dog has their day.” Up in San Francisco there’s Stampede and in Atlanta there’s a pony group, ARC. In Florida, there’s a lot of pony play and they have a great event there as part of Beyond Leather. It’s called International Pony Play Championships.
How cool is that? Well it sounds like you maybe prefer the pony play over the submission would you say or the pro-subbing?
Well it’s like with anyone and their hobby. If your hobby is running your electrical trains, you do your job and then you run home and do your hobby. Now, I love my job. I learn so much from it, I learn from the people I play with, it is really really rewarding. I’ve even had people that I am the guide for them to go from having a vanilla life because they know that they can call someone and buy a submissive or buy someone to do their BDSM play with, but then if they really like it and their life is accepting for more (for some people only do that – buying a safe partner-it is as far as they go because of the job they have or they’re in a relationship), if you’re someone who in you’re life you can do more – I’m always open. I tell people what the local clubs are that they can go to, that they can go to take classes. I can be a bridge for people and its very rewarding to see people that eight years ago they were my client and now there they are with their submissive and they’re in the community and they’re experiencing more of BDSM fully.
That could be extremely rewarding to see I’m sure.
Yes, it is, it’s very rewarding, and for me, I think that if you are a bridge and you go to your job as a positive thing and try to leave the person you see in a better space not matter what that is, it just makes it better. I love my job. If I could just remember all of my shoes when I leave. I’m terrible! (laughs) I get a little spacey afterwards so it’s really hard to clean up everything. Sometimes I have to go back and get my shoes. I have submissive shoes-I guess as Dorothy had her ruby red slippers, I have submissive shoes.
Well I guess if the shoes are the only thing you leave behind you’re not doing too bad!
Yea I think so!
Going briefly back to the pony play, are there any safety hazards or dangers that people should be aware of before engaging in pony play?
Well there are things that could happen. I think that your activity can be limited depending upon your physical abilities. There are certain, you know science and laws of physics things-if you’re pulling a cart and you’re running really hard you shouldn’t try and stop on a dime because the weight of the cart can push you down on your knees. Its important that you play with and learn from people that have this knowledge so that they can take care of you.
It sounds like it’s like with any BDSM activity, it is best to learn from someone who has some experience rather than just trying to go for it. Studying up on it a bit.
Absolutely. I mean when I was beginning out, I would go to a club and I would sit and I would watch people playing with other people and I would watch how they interacted and how they played and not just whether they flogged really well but also how they interacted afterwards. Did they just walk away or did they take care of them, make sure that they had water. Its sort of like if you go out to eat with someone you’re dating, one of my rules about dating is if I go out to eat and the person I’m with treats the waitress really nice and leaves her a tip, is gracious and respectful, this is a good find, as opposed to a person who dogs the waitress, is disrespectful turns the salt shaker upside down, you know! It’s the same!
When you’re beginning as a submissive and you’re looking for a play partner you want someone who not only has skill experience but has people experience. The same with pony play. I sought it out. At the time, 2005/6, I learned Stampede was the only group I could find people that did this. And I went to their munch and that was where I met Rebecca. I talked with her and she said that she would meet with me and train me as her pony. And just like dating, when you’re meeting a new person (just like regular life), it’s the same thing. When you’re learning something new, you don’t sell everything you have and move to Antarctica. You should take things slow, step by step because that’s the natural progression of things. When I look at life I think it is a natural progression of life to “Be, Do, Have”. You be a pony and do the things that ponies do and then you get all of the equipment. You gather things rather than going and buying all of this stuff and then doing it and then being a pony. It’s the opposite way. Got it?
That makes total sense. I think people go in full bore with all their stuff and they don’t necessarily know how to use it.
Right. I think the more natural progression-you can be a pony, you don’t have to have all of this real expensive exotic stuff. The other thing that’s dangerous-the bits, you can use a regular horse bit. There’s something called Sealtex- it’s a latex bandage and you actually get it at the tack store because even bio horses, they wrap those metal bits in this sort of spongy bandage latex stuff and the horse can chomp on it and not break their teeth. Horses actually have a space in their teeth it falls into, we don’t have those as humans. You need to be careful of your teeth if you’re going to put a bit in there.
You can actually make everything out of rope. I’ve been with my granddaughter; it was her idea, it wasn’t my idea. My granddaughter and came to me one day and said “Grandma be my pony” and she had her rope and put it in my mouth and she got on back of me and wanted me to be her pony.
I’m assuming she was a child that was play acting?
Yes, a wonderful child (laughs) but that’s a very natural thing, it’s a very child like thing to do, it’s a natural play activity. And so, I pretended to be her pony and when I was tired she called her brother. She said “You can be my pony now.” She has all the makings of being a terrific trainer.
And from the other side if what you enjoy is training animals, animal role play can be very very rewarding in all the aspects of it: in grooming your pet, in taking care of your pet in training your pet, and just all of the fashion. I love equestrian fashion. It does everything for me. There’re many levels to it
So you mentioned you first got into pony play by going to that munch. Is that the very first thing you ever did in the lifestyle or were you a submissive before that?
I was a submissive before that. I came into BDSM because like most people, you are drawn to BDSM. There’s something that you like. Nobody told you it was kinky, it was just something that you like. When I was a kid we had lots of TV programs. I loved Superman because you have the beta man, Jimmy Olsen, and Louis Lane that always got tied up and then Superman rescued them. Or we had Dale Evans who got tied up on the Roy Rogers show or Penny on Sky King got tied up. So, we had as a child and as a TV program watcher, this sort of role model and we would go out and play and recreate that. And I found as a child that not only did I like the person who would capture me and tie me up and tease me, I liked that person just as much as I liked the person who rescued me. And nobody told you as a child that that’s kinky -you just know that you like it. When I got older in order to keep my relationships exciting for me, I would call up my boyfriend and I would say “I’m at this bar and I’m going to be here, maybe these guys will try and pick up on me and you have to come in here and pretend that you don’t know me and you have to win me over just like anyone else here.”
So, I would set up this role play and it was like setting up a situation where instead of being with someone with the same old same old, I was setting up a role play where they had to figure out how to slay the dragon and win the princess and it made it fun and then you went home and you would have hot sex like the first time. These things-nobody told me this was kinky. These were just things that I liked. And so there came a time in my life, it was after I was divorced that I met someone who wanted to explore more of this and I never saw any magazines. I never saw any videos. I didn’t understand it all – what they wanted – but I decided to trust him and just do it. So, it was just this one on one thing and it was great.
There was that person that I learned to play with and then we broke up and I was heart broken. Not so much about leaving and not being with him because that relationship-we didn’t quite mesh very well. I was heart broken that I thought they were the only one in the world that I ever thought I was going to be able to do that stuff with. I’d never find someone else like that and I’d have to go back to having regular sex with no handcuffs and without that play.
That’s like a death sentence.
Yea, it was like a death sentence, I cried and cried. You know, thank god, I was a single mom and I had to buck up and raise my kids and go on. Two years later I was on a date and the person took me to a Goth club in LA. In the late 90’s you could go to a Goth club and they would have a flog, paddle and tickle parlor where someone would come in and they would –oh my gosh I remember the first time I was there. The Red Sea divided and this handsome man with flowing red hair came waltzing through with his Bag of Bad and went up to the stage and flung open the curtain and there was a St. Andrews cross. I didn’t know the name of it then but that’s what it was. And there was a line and the women that went up there and they got spanked and they were flogged. And that was how I found the community. In Los Angeles there is a club called Bar Sinister and on Saturdays you can go there, the play is up in the loft. For a lot of people that is their entrance to BDSM. Maybe that’s as far as they want to go. Other people can go from that and the people there will tell them there’re private clubs like Sanctuary and Lair de Sade and the Bordello of Decadence. So you can pursue it more and you can find even more serious players. We have a great event in April now called Leather Heat that slave Bren produces. It has the who’s who of leather presenters presenting. All kinds of BDSM and kink and you can register and take classes and then they have dungeon time in the evening. I’m doing a class on pony play. There’s lots that you can do. That was how I found the community. And it was by chance.
All of that sounds really wonderful and I know it’s probably been quite a journey for you with all of your experiences.
Yes, how I got into pony play was Ken Marcus, a fantastic world renowned photographer. He had a whole history of doing photography of pony play and of pony girls and he hadn’t done it for a while and he gave me an assignment and he said he wanted to shoot it again and I had to put together my outfit. I would have this great photo shoot and I’d get to be photographed by Ken Marcus and get to be a pony girl, how different would that be. And so it was, actually-it took like six months. I had to go trying to figure out on the internet and there was this magazine called Equus Eroticus and I contacted the producer of that, Paul Reed, and that was how I was able to get some of the tack and there was this whole learning process of just putting together the outfit. And in doing that research and finding out what a pony girl needed, what tack and things I needed to have to look like a pony girl it became very apparent that being a pony girl wasn’t just a model wearing stuff, that there was more dimension to it, that there was something very –something that called to me that spoke to me and that’s what lead me to driving the miles from LA to
San Francisco to Stampede. That was what started my journey. So we can point to Ken Marcus and Paul Reed and we can blame them. They’re responsible. (laughs)
We can thank them! Send out a big thank you!
Isn’t it great when you’re wandering through life and you have people that make this incredible difference to you and change your life.
Yes, it’s awesome and the community is really really great and we’re really lucky to be in LA where it’s big and strong here.
It’s true. We are. There are still people out in the boondocks that are ponies. You know what’s nice about being in nowhere in Nebraska is that people drive 200 miles to go to the one bar and everybody is at that bar. The trainers, the puppies, the ponies, the leather people, the kink people, the rubber people, they all get along and they’re all there. And sometimes its so nice when you’re travelling and you go to a place like that because in LA we have so many people that we’ve all divided up.
Yes its very fragmented
Yes, you go one place for your rubber and another place for your leather and another for just kink, you know. So we’re very blessed, we have a lot of activity here. A lot of things stewing. I don’t think there’s hardly any night that you couldn’t go find something.