Ponies Used for Children’s Carousel Rides are Being Abused

Crammed nose to tail and forced to walk in monotonous circles for hours on end, the use of real ponies for carousel rides is a very real problem and one that needs your attention.

Taking place in fairgrounds all over the globe, live ponies are shackled by their heads to carousels where they have no choice but to walk round and round in one direction, at a set speed for hours at a time giving rides to screaming children of all ages and sizes.

These rides typically consist of 6 – 12 ponies being tied to a rotating mechanical arm. The animals have barely any room to move and incur many painful rubs and sores from their tack, especially around their head area.

As well as having to endure all kinds of varying weather conditions, including harsh summer heat waves and lashing cold rains, these poor ponies are denied their basic rights of being able to eat, drink, urinate and defecate freely. As if this isn’t bad enough, they are also subjected to continuously loud fairground music. A veterinarian that witnessed one of these horrific rides in Spain concluded that the animals were most likely profoundly deaf as a result.

Photo evidence provided by members of the public has shown numerous accounts of ponies lying motionless on the floor, either dead or sick as a result of severe dehydration and exhaustion.

After a lifetime of enslavement, exploitation and mistreatment, when the ponies become no longer of use, they are often sent to the slaughterhouse.

A Happy Ending for Victoria

Victoria is a carousel pony rescued from the south of Spain who is now lucky enough to have a wonderful forever home in Sanctuary Gaia. After years of being used for the entertainment and amusement of children, she was deemed worthless by the fairground and was left tied without being able to move, which led to severe atrophy of her limbs. When rescued, her drinking water was so dirty it was green.

Despite still suffering from both the mental and physical effects of her previous life, Victoria is now free to run in the green grass and carry out her natural instincts. She has taken a particular liking to Samuel, a calf rescued from the dairy industry, who also lives at the sanctuary.

Ismael Lopez, co-founder of Sanctuary Gaia, is well aware of the cruelty that these live pony rides entail. He states, “..the child in the photo is me because the education I received was a speciesist education where I was taught that I was superior to any other animal, which is why for 30 years of my life I have used animals for my benefit…no one taught me there was another way, and that is why I work to show the reality of these exploitative industries.”

Animals Are Not Ours For Entertainment

No animal deserves to be used for our entertainment. With more and more people becoming aware of these inhumane practices, we are able to unite and collectively demand an end to this injustice.

In July 2013, the Spanish municipality of Pamploma approved a motion with the unanimous support of almost all councilors to prohibit the use of pony drawn carousels in 2014. President of AnimaNaturalis Aida Gascon, an animal rights organization in Spain, said “We welcome this news, because it shows that if society is informed and unites we can get a ban on activities involving animal abuse. Carousels with ponies are an outdated attraction that cause stress and suffering to the animals due to the noise and bustle of the fairs. In addition, they undergo mental and physical exhaustion caused by endless circling, and are also exposed to environmental conditions that can be extremely harsh.”

At my sanctuary (Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary), we will never stop speaking out for animals that need our help. We are working in collaboration with numerous other sanctuaries and animal rights organizations across Spain to put a stop to this cruelty once and for all. Join us in our fight by signing the petition below and sharing this post to help raise awareness of this issue.

Photo Credit: Animal Protection Navarra


Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O1 months ago

I see in 2016 they are still trying to encourage people to stop using these types of pony carousels.... Just how brain dead is humanity? Not just the businesses but the parents who add to the abuse? Painting up ponies etc is just so wrong... please grow a brain, and learn compassion.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Sara P.
Sara P2 years ago

We musth to stop this cruelty, please sign this petition:


Tanya W.
Tanya W2 years ago

Sadly noted. Glad sanctuary came...

AniMae C.
Animae C2 years ago

GREED is destroying so much!!!

Thanx for this forward Rosie A.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

It not happens in Spain, it happens worldwide. Thank you for caring and sharing.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Just deplorable. Thank you for sharing.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Christine Stewart

I am glad to hear that the carosels are being shut down- but I hope the ponies will be rescued and not neglected or worse...

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton3 years ago

What people will do for the almighty dollar. What a shame.