4 Tips for Caring for Ponies
Most of us have seen overweight ponies in a pasture, or have heard the stories of a bossy, cranky, or overly stubborn pony. Many of us learned to ride on one, and some of us even own one (or more!) of these little rascals.
Anyone with a lot of experience with ponies knows this already, but for everyone else, beware of underestimating a pony. Yes, they are small and cute. They will also eat until they are roughly the size of the Goodyear blimp, refuse anything that looks like exercise, kick anyone who approaches their feet, and take advantage of their young riders at every opportunity.
Of course, ponies still find their way into our hearts, despite their nefarious ways. If you can’t say no to these little equines, here are a few tips to help you care for the wily critters.
The high percentage of overweight ponies in the world is mostly due to the fact that people turn them out with other horses and feed them all the same. Due to their small size, ponies actually need fewer calories than regular-sized horses. Overfeeding makes them prone to obesity and all of the problems that come with it, such as laminitis, a painful deterioration of the connective tissues of the hoof.
Your best bet is to feed each pony or horse separately, such as in their stall or in a pipe pen. Because horses are generally fed about 1.5 percent of their body weight each day, a pony will get considerably less feed than a larger horse. The best way to ensure your pony is getting all of the nutrients he needs in his diet is by feeding a complete feed, such as a pelleted feed from Sacate.
A pony that is too small to be ridden by an adult will have a hard time getting enough exercise and staying fit, which is another contributor to obesity. To encourage exercise, ensure your pony gets daily turnout with other equines, but also try to maintain an actual exercise program. If the pony isn’t being ridden, longeing him regularly will help him stay in shape.
Even if your pony isn’t being ridden, it’s important to take good care of his feet. Remember how prone overweight ponies are to laminitis? Good hoof care will help you spot the signs of laminitis sooner, in addition to being better for the pony’s physical health. Picking his feet regularly will also help when the farrier comes out, as he won’t be half-wild and resistant to having his feet handled.
Finally, remember that a pony, while small, is still a horse, and needs to have the same manners you would expect from a larger horse. Unfortunately, ponies tend toward stubbornness and even manipulative behaviors, either because it’s their nature or because they are often handled primarily by children who let them get away with too much. Keep this in mind and take care to teach your pony good manners.
A pony’s needs aren’t that much different than a horse’s, but people often overlook the changes that come with the smaller size, especially when it comes to feeding time. For more help on choosing a feed and determining how much to feed, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.