Our PLAY DATES are getting

a makeover for 2021!

Bookings are NOW OPEN!

Pony Play Dates

For our youngest horse enthusiasts!

We offer a variety opportunities for our younger enthusiasts to engage with our ponies!

Do you have a horse-crazy child in your life? Most stables will not take children younger than 8 in their programs. At The Big Purple Barn, we feel it is important to give even the youngest children the opportunity to interact with horses, even if they are not old enough for regular instruction. That is why we developed Pony Play Dates! You get to schedule your own time to play with a pony friend!


Pony play dates are designed to introduce children to horses and horseback riding in a structured way that is fun and interactive. There is no weekly commitment and it is a great time to play with your pony friend outdoors! You bring your child dressed in long pants and hard-soled shoes and we will provide the pony, the supervision, and the fun.  Please note at this time, each family MUST provide their OWN HELMET for use AFTER the first session. We will provide a helmet for use in the fist session you book. Masks are required while working around the ponies for all guests and age appropriate children and masks can be removed for the riding portion.

Not sure if they are ready to ride? Come for a SPECIAL 30 minute session where your child will learn to help brush a pony and lead them in our riding area of small obstacles. This helps introduce them to what they can expect when them come to ride on their first play date! Please contact us for the pricing and availability! If you have NOT come to visit us before, we highly recommend booking a tour to familiarize yourself with our amazing animals and volunteers! If you choose not to book a tour, the REQUIRED first session is 60 minutes and includes a basic tour to meet the animals, talk with us and get comfortable and acclimated before the session begins. 

In our play dates, children learn to handle, lead, brush and tack their ponies with the assistance of our instructors. They learn about the names of the brushes and tack and how we care for the ponies. The riding session takes place in our sand riding ring around fun obstacles and includes games that build confidence, balance and encourage fun! Age appropriate skills and vocabulary are part of each session which is essentially, a modified lesson, preparing them for future routine instruction.


We accept children as young as 3 for Play Dates and have specially trained, camera ready small ponies to lead the fun! Our littlest riders of course, will participate with the help of adults that accompany them. If you have a smaller child, or a younger sibling, please contact us for options.

We can even accept most small children with developmental and learning disabilities upon approval from our program director. Our ponies have successfully worked with children with downs syndrome, autism and several other types of special needs. While we are not a certified therapeutic facility, when working with enthusiastic and involved parents along with our volunteers and ponies, we can make magic happen!

45 Minute Pony Play Dates

children up to age 8

  • $40 per session

  • Modified lesson where children get hands on!

  • Prior tour or first tour combo session REQUIRED prior to scheduling repeat play dates

  • Due to COVID safe changes, we care currently NOT offering shared sessions.

Tour Combo: Pony Play Dates

For those who have not taken a tour

children up to age 8

  • $60 per session

  • Includes basic tour as well as a meet and greet before the riding session begins

  • Children will assist with care of the pony

This session is designed for those wanting to schedule a play date who have NOT participated in our tours or other programs at the farm. This session includes a tour, along with time to get acclimated and comfortable before the 30 minute play date begins. If you have NOT participated in a tour, you MUST complete this first session before subsequent sessions can be booked.

Complete the CONTACT FORM (click the link or complete on on HOME page) for additional information.

Pony Play Dates for our 2021 Season are following NEW COVID Protocols. All children are required to provide their own ASTM/SEI approved EQUESTRIAN USE HELMET after the first session is complete. For children scheduling their first session, we will provide a helmet for use.

Please click the links below for local stores that can help you out!

 Our PPDs are scheduled as available Monday Through Fridays in the afternoons. If you have a helmet and are ready to go, please click the booking link below for availability!

If you NEED a helmet, we suggest 2 stores local to The Big Purple Barn:





Please click either link for their websites and directions! Both locations can properly fit a helmet and provide you with options! Ask for a SCHOOLING helmet and let them know you are shopping for a play date at The Big Purple Barn!


PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID and staffing constraints, we are not booking shared sessions at this time. All sessions are for single children only and cannot be shared. If you have siblings, please contact us prior to scheduling for approval and availability.

Once you request your session, you will receive an email the week of your session with a questionnaire to complete and submit in order to finalize your booking.

You will also get information on where to purchase a helmet if you need one as well as pricing and check in instructions for the big day!

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The Big Purple Barn, Inc
6407 Hillmeade Road Bowie, MD  20720
email: thebigpurplebarnbowie@gmail.com

We are an IRS approved 501(C)3 Organization FEIN #45-5022618