How to care for a pony
Ponies require a lot of care and attention. Caring for a pony is no different to looking after a horse, they still have the same needs and wants. As with any animal, it is important that they are cared for in order to keep them healthy and happy. Before buying a pony, it is vital that possible owners understand exactly what goes in to owning a pony and the care they require.
It is important that a pony has the correct environment including grazing and housing, in order to be cared for properly.
Even when out on the paddock, it is vital that they have access to shelter to protect them from the elements. Shelter should consist of at least three walls and a roof, made from a sturdy and weather-proof material such as brick or wood. Stables should also have good ventilation to allow the air to circulate.
Shelters and stables, particularly those with concrete floors, should also have an ample supply of bedding to keep the pony dry and comfortable. Bedding such as straw or shavings is ideal, and should be cleaned out on a daily basis.
A pony’s diet should be tailored to their workload, health and age, but all ponies should be given a supply of good quality, fresh hay. Hay is vital to aid digestion and provide carbohydrates.
It is also essential that ponies are given access to fresh water at all times. Without water a pony will become dehydrated and seriously ill. Water and feed buckets should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Exercise helps to prevent obesity and keep the heart healthy. Riding and lunge-work is ideal to provide a pony with the exercise they need, however if this is not always possible, they should be allowed out into a large enclosure so that they can exercise at their own will.
When exercising a pony it is important that they are warmed up and cooled down to help prevent injuries and damage to the joints and muscles.
Grooming is an essential part of pony care as it not only helps to keep the skin and coat in good condition, but also helps to stimulate circulation, helping to keep the heart healthy. Grooming a pony is also an ideal time for owners to look for signs of injuries or infections.
Ponies should be groomed on a daily basis, with particular attention paid to their hooves. The hooves and legs carry a lot of weight, and can become damaged easily. Thrush, an infection of the hoof, is very common in ponies whose feet are not picked out regularly.