Always certain to make a big impression with equine stars Ronan, Navey, Tinker and Casper, the three svelte girls who precariously balance on their ponies’ backs don’t tend to wear many clothes. This always ensures a good crowd.
“It is a feel-good sort of show, which is meant to make audiences smile,” says Jive Pony’s founder, Rebecca Townsend.
The performances are overwhelmingly jolly. In an era when some politicians would seek a ban on the more exotic animals in circuses, Jive Pony is keeping traditional equine-performing skills very much alive.
“Just watch Ronan catching a silk handkerchief – he’s brilliant at it and you just know that he enjoys it,” says Townsend. This is very funny to watch, as is Tinker who, on command, will nod to say “yes” and bow gracefully.
Sticking to their much-rehearsed and seamless script, the super-agile trio executes tricks on and off their ponies that are trained to perform the Spanish walk – high-stepping in time to music – and to canter perfect circles at a steady, even pace. Such stunts, sometimes with two ponies in unison controlled by one rider, demand a mix of athleticism and trick-riding skills, which is why Townsend was so cut-out for the work.
As a teenager, she was a seven-times British national champion at equestrian vaulting.