POP! (Puppets on Ponies) makes moves to encourage puppet and pony interaction.
As you can see in the photo above, puppets and ponies quickly develop a special bond.
I’d have to say the certification process I endured to become a fully qualified Ponybutler is my greatest achievement (however questionable such servitude may seem to those lacking the equicentric gene).
However, I also managed to spend some time as a professional puppeteer in my ‘pre-pony onerous’ years. It never occurred to me that two of my moderately odd talents would ever converge, so I was a bit nonplussed when I was recently contacted by ‘Puppets on Ponies!’ (POP!).
As I quickly learned-during an initial flurry of emails and phone calls-POP! is an international organization established in 2011, to facilitate puppet and pony interaction. As POP!’s executive director Elspeth Applethwaite explained, “Many puppets are avid riders; they’re rather fed up with being regarded as empty-headed equestrian dilettantes. It may be true that some puppets are employed as crash test dummies…but they are in fact quite bright, and not totally dependent on puppeteers to animate them.”
Having met its initial goal of seeing ‘‘more puppets on more ponies” during the first three years of its existence, POP! is now seeking to raise the profile of puppet equestrians (PE’s), and requested my help with the development of a dynamic PSA…to be followed up by a long term PR and information campaign (i.e. profiling the accomplishments of individual PE’s, and disseminating general info regarding both the existence and mandate of POP!).
I was intrigued by both the POP! concept, and the ambition of this small but steadily expanding organization, and am therefore thrilled to find myself in the role of media relations advisor representing POP!, advocating on behalf of these plucky pony-riding puppets. Ms. Applethwaite was keen to get going on a kickass PSA, but before we roll out an international multimedia POP! crusade, I suggested-what with my HN connection, and all-that we start off with a soft launch… right here!
Since many folks are still discovering the world of POP!, I thought it might be best to present some photos introducing one of POP!’s enthusiastic PE’s (is there anything quite so compelling as an up close and personal look at people’s puppet’s lives?) along with a few tips, and advice specific to working with these unique riders.
About Kat: I’ve heard that fortunate people have one great passion in life; aside from dark chocolate and my husband–not necessarily in that order!–mine has been “everything equine.” Beginning with lessons as a kid, I’ve been lucky enough to break a variety of bones riding a wide selection of breeds, in a number of disciplines–from TB racehorse (clavicle) to eventing Appaloosa (tibia) to endurance Arabian (ribs). It’s also been my privilege to play Ponybutler to my own hooved beasties on a succession of scarily rustic farms, over the past 20 [very] odd years. The dream continues!