Animal roleplay is a form of roleplay where at least one participant plays the part of an animal. As with most forms of roleplay, its uses include play and psychodrama.
Animal roleplay is popular in BDSM culture as a form of subjugation or humiliation, and is often referred to as petplay.
Pony-play is sometimes referred to as “The Aristotelian Perversion,” in reference to an apocryphal story where the philosopher Aristotle was persuaded to let a woman named Phyllis ride him like a horse, in promised exchange for sexual favors: an episode depicted in various woodcuts and other works of art.
Ponies (people involved in pony-play) generally divide themselves to three groups although some will participate in two or perhaps all three:
- Cart ponies: ponies who pull a sulky with their owner.
- Riding ponies: ponies who are ridden, either on all fours or on two legs, with the “rider” on the shoulders of the “pony” (also known as Shoulder riding). Note that a human back is generally not strong enough to take the weight of another adult without risk of injury, so four-legged “riding” is generally symbolic, with the “rider” taking most of their weight on their own legs.
- Show ponies: ponies who show off their dressage skills and often wear elaborate harnesses, plumes and so on.
A documentary film Pony Passion was produced by British pony play club De Ferre in 2003 showing their club’s activities and Born in a Barn, a 2005 documentary film, depicted the lives of several pony-play enthusiasts.