Doesn’t every kid hope to have a pony at their birthday party? With the following party ideas, your birthday boy or girl can saddle up on their special day. My daughter loves horses, so when she turned five she asked to have a “pony” party. She also wanted it to be pink and purple, her favorite colors at the time. Following are all the fun details that we came up with.
Setting the Theme
The book Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni was the inspiration for the color scheme and theme of the party. My daughter had received this book as a gift from her grandmother and it’s about a girl who wants a horse for her birthday. To make it even more special, the author of the book is from right here in Des Moines! The party was held in our backyard (during the middle of a deck remodel:), but a local farm would also make a great backdrop to host a cowgirl or boy themed party.
To accommodate our little buckaroos and their parents, we set up a couple of seating areas, a snack table and a “watering hole” drink station. I rigged up a cute backdrop and styled a festive snack table that held all of the themed elements to create a look that would delight the cowhands. We had cowboy hats, bandanas and badges readily available for the party guests as they moseyed in.
The invitation and paper party accents were created using some of the images from the book by illustrator Lynne Avril. I printed the invitations at home, but you could also have them printed on-line or at a copy shop. If you don’t want to print or create your own invitations, cowgirl/cowboy is a very popular theme and you can find all kinds of cool options on-line and at party stores. I also put together activity signs, labels and centerpiece sticks to tie the whole party theme together.
Dress the Part
A cowgirl has to look the part, right? The birthday girl dressed up in her ridin’ clothes and boots. Some of the kids wore their hats and boots too. We also provided hats, bandanas and badges. Since my daughter’s birthday is in October, I scored and found the hats and badges at the Dollar Tree and ordered colorful bandanas on-line.
Since this was a party for five year olds, we needed activities that would burn up some energy. Keeping with the cowgirl/cowboy theme this is what we came up with:
- Pony Rides – Yes, we rented a pony! Two actually. Basically, we could have had the ponies and nothing else, it was all the kids wanted to do! We’re lucky that our home backs up to a trail and the handlers lead the kids on the ponies up and down it. We rented the ponies from Jim Wallings Pony Rides in Iowa. The handlers were very personable and great with the kids. It was by far the highlight of the party!
- Pinata Roundup – We strung up a cute white and pink pony piñata in one of our trees. The kids took turns hitting it until the prizes fell out.
- Lasso the Horse – My dad is a cowboy and a woodworker. He made my kids a rocking horse and also gave them a lasso to go along with it. In between pony rides, the kids had fun taking turns “herding” up the horse.
- Horse Shoes – We set up a game of horse shoes as another activity station to keep everyone entertained in between pony rides.
- Cotton Eyed Joe – Once you’ve got your boots on, you need to do a little toe tappn’, right? So we rounded everyone up and played “Cotton Eyed Joe” for the little cowpokes to dance to. We played a variation of the “freeze dance game”, so when the music stopped, each player froze and held that position until the music began again. We also yelled out dance moves to the kids like, “lasso the pony”, “walk like a cowboy”, “stomp your boots”, etc.
- Coloring Pages – I discovered some fun coloring pages and activities on Rebecca Janni’s webpage. I printed some out and put them on the tables along with crayons, so guests could color at their leisure.
Desserts & Details
We do not have a lot of outside seating, so we rented three round tables with chairs from a party rental company and borrowed some hay bales from one of my husband’s co-workers. We also rented white table cloths to cover all of the tables. To decorate the tables and hay bales I purchased some fun bright pink polka dotted material to lay in the center of the table. I also created simple centerpieces using hydrangeas cut from our yard, placed them in mason jars wrapped in coordinating ribbon and personalized it with a matching centerpiece stick.
Setting the Table
Whether you’re hosting your party at home or at a location, setting up a central snack and dessert table can be ideal. It’s easy for guests to help themselves to snacks throughout the party. For this party I found the cutest hay bales, which were perfect to serve the cake balls my daughter had requested. It’s also always a good idea to vary the height of your serving pieces and work your color scheme into the table.
Cowgirl Snacks & Drink Station
All cowpokes need to keep their energy up for those long days on the range. Following are the snacks we served:
- “Hay Stacks” – Pretzel Sticks
- “Trail Mix” – We kept it peanut free and created our own mix with cranberries, Chex cereal, Cheerios and pink and purple M&Ms.
- “Every Horse Needs a Little Ranch” with Veggies – Carrots and Celery with Ranch Dip
- Iced Sugar Cookies – Horses, Yellow Stars, Pink 5s and Purple Cs.
- Cake Pops – I made them myself using the directions on Bakerella’s website.
- Cupcakes – Purchased from the grocery store.
- Pink Lemonade
- Bottled Water
The favors were handed out at the beginning of the party. The cowboy hat, bandana and badge were the main party favors. We also handed out small bags with a Thank You note attached to it, so the kids could pick up the piñata prizes.
What are your tips for hosting a cowgirl or cowboy themed party?