Kink and fetish play are certainly sexual in nature, but beyond just a way to spice things up in the bedroom, , they are also tools for letting go and relaxing, as well as a way to build unconventional community.
The Rocky Mountain Pony Herd is offering such community to their members. While the ponies and their handlers who are coupled up like to experience ponyplay behind closed doors, they also enjoy hanging out together in character and having fun, being an outlet for community members who might be interested in the fetish, and even competing in pony events that involve being judged on how well they portray the animals.
Blaze, who started the herd and serves as its leader, admitted that he was always into the concept of pretending to be a horse, even before he understood things like sex drive or fetishes.
“I know for me as a kid, I ran around on the playground pretending to be a horse, and I know a lot of people, at least people who socialize as women, who did the same thing,” Blaze told OUT FRONT. “I’m a trans man and until my early 20s I identified that way [as a woman], so for me as a kid it was normal to go around doing that; it was innocent, play pretend. But as far as it extends outside of the bedroom now, it is really nice to know there are others like yourself in the community, and that is what the meetup is for.”
The Herd likes to do public events that don’t center on sex, but rather on companionship. At the events that include dressing up in full gear, like Ponies in the Park, those who do not have a handler can be paired up with a platonic buddy who is willing to guide and control the pony during playtime. The group regularly meets up in local parks to run and play as ponies, set up obstacles, and also eat food and socialize. They always agree on a location for the meetup and and a date and time in advance through the private online group.
For those who are not sure they definitely want to engage in a pony play, they also do a Munch event where the group meets up at a restaurant in street clothing just to talk. They normally put out some kind of a token, like a horse calendar, to show those interested in approaching the group and seeing if they want to participate that they are in the right place. At these Munches, interested parties are welcome to chat with the ponies and just make small talk, get to know some people, or ask questions about play and what it involves. No one is ever pressured to keep coming back or to attend and dress in gear if they come to a Munch.
Those who do decide that pony play is right for them often experience a relaxing escape when they don their pony gear. In the realm of the pony, things like bills and day jobs don’t exist. The only things that are real are the relationship with the handler and the experience of being something else.
“For me it’s an exercise,” Blaze explained. “It gets me out of my head, provides escape. I think for me the escape is the bigger part, and there’s no sex involved typically for that aspect of it. I go out and play in a park and all I’m doing is running around pretending I’m a horse. When I put on my pony hood and my tail, I become someone different. It’s sort of like going into character, but my headspace is somewhere else. All the responsibilities and worries melt away; all I have to worry about is my handler and what my handler tells me to do.”
He has even experienced a release from physical pain when in the mindset of a pony.
“In my horsehead space I don’t know what pain is,” he said. “I’ll keep going and going and going. I think what a lot of people imagine is, you know, kinky, fetish stuff that happens inside the bedroom, which for sure it is, but there’s another side. It’s physical, but it’s also mental.
It is also important to Blaze that the group is inclusive. Blaze is a trans man, one of the key pony/handler couples who attend the group are trans women, and many of those who participate in the group identify as queer. Blaze knows first-hand that unfortunately, this type of inclusion isn’t always typical in the fetish community.
“When I started the group I was really unsatisfied with a lot of happenings in the Denver community,” he said. “There are a lot of important people in the kink scene that do questionable things and I was tired of seeing people get hurt and having the people that hurt them not receive any consequences. That’s what made me step back from the Denver BDSM community in the first place, and it’s not a Denver-specific problem unfortunately.”
After witnessing these problematic situations, Blaze decided to form the Rocky Mountain Pony Herd.
“When I started, I wanted to hold a safe space not just for trans and queer people, but also for people who needed a space to come and feel included so that they wouldn’t be stuck at home alone having these feelings with nowhere to express them and not feeling safe enough to go out and find a community, because they had been burned before,” he added. “I think in my group I really strive to make people feel included; I strive to center those who have been marginalized and who are more likely to be victimized in the kink community.”
Those interested in learning more about the Herd and coming out to a Munch can find Rocky Mountain Pony Herd on FetLife.com and get in touch. Due to privacy desires from the group members, that is currently the only way to get make contact.