7 Care Tips For A Healthy Pony
Like owning a cat or dog, taking care of a pony can also be fun and immensely rewarding. For starters, ponies are a shorter version of horses. In other words, they’re small and sometimes considered dwarf horses. Besides, some say ponies are easier to train and care for than horses due to their calmer temperament. Many children find them cute, so they’re more comfortable playing with and riding ponies than a horse. Yet even with their diminutive stature, ponies love the outdoors just the same.
Ponies also live 25 to 30 years, just like horses. If you’re new to owning a pony, you may wonder how to ensure it stays healthy and gets all the needs it requires. Remember that taking care of a pony can also be a huge responsibility, and you must be ready for this long-term commitment.
For your guide, here are seven care tips to remember to ensure your pony leads a long, happy, and healthy life.
- Feed Your Pony with High-Quality Hay
Like horses, the proper diet for ponies is feeding them high-quality hay as it’s their most important source of nutrition. When choosing hay, ensure it’s soft, green, leafy, and fine-stemmed. Avoid feeding your ponies hay that’s already dusty, musty, or smells mouldy. Most of the time, hay heavily exposed to the sun will be too dry and with already drained nutrients. You can tell that hay is already sun-bleached when instead of green, it’s already yellow or discoloured.
Apart from hay, ponies also love to eat vines, twigs, shrubs, and other plants. Likewise, don’t forget to add a mineral block or salt lick to your pony’s paddock. Remember, your pony will need salt or sodium in their diet to refill their electrolytes, maintain hydration, and promote fluid balance. If you’re unsure whether to give salt lick or mineral block, you can experiment and find out which one your pony likes best.
You can also consult a veterinarian if you’re considering adding supplementary feeds for your pony. This is necessary, especially if your pony is regularly physically active. Adding supplementary feeds to their diet will ensure they get enough Omega-3 to help your pony get a shiny coat.
- Always Provide Them With Fresh Water
Aside from food, you must regularly provide your pony with fresh and clean water. Ponies are prone to dehydration, especially if they’re always physically active or frequently exposed to the sun. Neglecting your pony’s need for water may cause dehydration, affect their health, or even cause death.
You’re also encouraged to change their water now and then. Providing unhygienic water would likely have plenty of bacteria or viruses that may compromise your pony’s health. Lastly, ensure your pony’s waterer or trough is cleaned to prevent mould and other harmful bacteria from contaminating their water.
- Groom Your Pony
Ponies must also be groomed like other pets. Grooming your pony daily will keep their coat clean and shiny and promote blood circulation. While brushing your pony, you may use this time to check their body and see if you can find any tack. You may also invest in high-quality grooming equipment to keep your pony in good shape. Finally, part of their grooming routine is cleaning their hooves. While doing so, check for any cracks or bruises on their hooves or if their shoes are loose.
- Provide A Well-Designed Stable And Paddock
Keeping your pony healthy is also providing a safe and well-designed stable. This is where they’ll stay during extreme weather. All doors, fences, windows, walls, and stalls should have no sharp objects and other dangers. Additionally, ensure to provide extra space for your pony to move around.
For your pony’s paddock, see that their surroundings are free from hazards such as loose wire fences, holes, protruding nails, broken rails, and other sharp objects. Make time to check the paddock’s fences and repair any damage to prevent potential injury and escape incidents.
- Give Your Pony Some Company
Besides looking after their physical health, you must also pay attention to your pony’s mental health. The thing about ponies is that they thrive best when they have company. Remember, ponies are highly social herd animals, so they need companionship. Thus, give your pony company by owning another horse or pony, if possible. You can keep them in the same paddock or an adjoining paddock.
- Encourage Your Pony To Do Regular Exercises
Daily exercise is crucial for your pony’s general health. Being physically active can bring lots of benefits to your pony’s health, such as:
- Promote lung and heart health
- Increase their stamina and endurance
- Maintain proper hoof and bone development
Some basic exercises for ponies may include stretching, walking, and riding. Don’t forget to let them rest and rehydrate after every exercise.
- Get Your Pony Vaccinated
Have your pony vaccinated to strengthen their immune system and as protection from diseases. Consult your vet for more information about the necessary vaccines your pony needs.
Ponies are intelligent animals and fun to have on your farm. So, go ahead and get yourself a pony. You may refer to these care tips to help you care for your pony and ensure they stay healthy, happy, and in good shape.