According to research, the term Sparkle Pony goes back to 2008. It is like glitter in the eyes or cotton candy farts of not preparing for an event where you could literally and unceremoniously DIE at. You have to be prepared, do the research, and make sure you bring what you need to survive for any Burner Event.
SPARKLE PONY, –NOUN, One of the Burner Principles is Radical Self-Reliance. Everyone at a Burn event is expected to bring everything they need to survive for the duration of the event — food, clothes, water and shelter. Yet this principle overlaps with another — the gift economy, where Burners share what they have with those that need. Of course there are those who take advantage of this by coming to the event poorly prepared.
A sparkle pony is a Burner who is under-prepared for basic survival but still managed to pack 2 suitcases full of fabulous outfits. He or she expects the community to take up the slack because they’re just so wonderful and drama inevitably follows when expectations are not met. – [source on ePlaya]
Radical Self Reliance
Burning Man provides a detailed survival guide on the main web site and a few cute phrases that really have import meaning:
That means stay hydrated. That means don’t be a douche and party your balls off without remembering to get plenty of fluids. All too often people do not come with enough water. Although many camps generously bring extra you should not expect others to cover your needs on any level.
The same goes with food, sleeping space and anything else needed for survival for the week.
According to the Urban Dictionary a Sparkle Pony is: A high maintenance person at the Burning Man Festival who is unprepared for the harsh camping environment and becomes a burden to their camp-mates.
What not to Bring?
It’s a good question, but the answer really is what should you bring? All those are covered in the above and the survival guide. You need to have all the essentials that will allow you to survive in the middle of no where for however many days you plan on attending. It’s just that simple.
There are things Burning Man does ask people not to bring that is always in the guide. Anything that creates MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) like feathers or paper or anything else that can break loose and blow across the playa.
Avoid being a Sparkle Pony if you can. Do your research and do your due-diligence and you will have a hell of a lot more out of the experience. A prepared Burner is a Happy Burner.