As a pony and occasional handler, I regularly get to experience pony play first hand, but I rarely get an opportunity to see it from a spectator's perspective. However, when I do get that opportunity, I am always reminded that pony play is one of those things that can seem a little silly when you hear about, but when you see it, you get it.
Seriously, there is aura about it that captivates. Just take a look at people's faces when they're watching a scene, and you'll see the fascination on their faces - or go watch a scene or parade in person, and you'll feel that fascination and enchantment.
So, having ponies tacked up and milling about and giving short pony play demos at events like Folsom can play a key role in intorducing people to pony play and making a positive impression that brings in more potential ponies and trainers (ponies are social animals, so the more merrier, and well, we all want someone at the other end of the reins).
This year, the pony play booth at the Folsom Street Fair was on 9th street just south of Folsom street. Although it was situated fairly close to an entrance to the fair, the street wasn't overly crowded, and we had the wonderful people of the Society of Janus as booth neighbors. Not only were they very happy to have the ponies nearby, but they helped gather interest while simultaneously buffering us from the main throng of people, which is no small feat to be sure.
Anyway, this meant that we had enough room to do a couple pony play demonstrations. It wasn't quite enough room to give a cart pulling demo or to give cart rides (especially later in the day when the crowd on Folsom St proper became really thick), but it was ample room to give a longeing demo (on a shorter line as opposed to the more standard 10-20 meter circles one would usually do) and well more than enough to give a driving demonstration.
Demos can be tricky because there is no right or wrong way to do pony play. Thus, it is important, in my opinion, to perform a demo scene that both the pony and handler are enthusiastic about - otherwise it doesn't look like fun, and pony play is all about having fun (or not, if that's your thing :) - but also to let people know that this is only one way to do it.
For the driving demo, subMissAnn, of the LAPACC, put a ponyboy through his paces (video above) and ended the scene with both pony and rider giving a nice bow (though sadly I missed that part on the video). I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed watching it the demo in person.
And always remember that there is no wrong way to play! If you prefer Western, or if you use different cues than the pony and rider do in the above video, or if you prefer more bondage, etc., that's perfectly fine. The demo they did was only meant to illustrate they way they like play. It is right for them, just as my way is right for me, and your way to play is right for you. Don't ever let anybody tell you different!