Learn about pony care

Ponies are friendly, and spirited little mounts that can make great companions. Understanding their unique needs and providing a nurturing environment, as explained here, fosters a robust bond between pony and caregiver.

The most important piece of pony riding advice from a health perspective is probably the most obvious. Ponies can only bear small loads because of their small stature and it’s important to know exactly how much they can manage.

As a guide, a pony can carry 20% of their body weight every day. Small means hardy, so some ponies can bear a little more for short periods. But this should only be done with the input of an expert, such as an equine vet or experienced stable manager.

Super fact: Shetland ponies are among the strongest horses for their size. But they’re the smallest, too – so be extra careful.

Pony Care

Caring for a pony requires close attention to ensure its health and well-being. Regular grooming, proper feeding, and adequate exercise are essential for their happiness and longevity.

Pony health

While ponies have similar health needs and problems to larger horses, they are more likely to suffer from obesity. This is because of their small size and slower metabolism in comparison to their energy requirement.

Pony Food and Feeding

Because of a pony’s metabolism and small size, it is easy for them to get a little overweight on high-energy food. This is why it is important to feed them specially grown low-energy horse and pony food, such as Supergrass Chilled.

Supergrass Chilled – Pony food

For Ponies and other less energetic horses

Pony stabling and exercise

Stabling

Pony stables can generally be slightly smaller than those of larger horses. 10’ by 10’ is the smallest appropriate size of accommodation, but 10’ by 12’ is much more appropriate for all but the smallest ponies. And don’t make the common mistake of assuming small horses don’t need to be outside much.

Cleaning

Ponies and children go together like boats and water. So grown-ups, your little one needs to be told how much work is involved in cleaning, looking after and exercising them and how important it is. Around 10 hours is a realistic minimum for a beginner, but around 15 is more realistic for an unsupported horse owner. This involves a daily pony bedding muck-out.

Exercise

As with every horse, it’s important to exercise a pony according to its small size, but do not skimp on the time. Not everyone can ride ponies for weight-bearing reasons – see above. As such, in-hand or non-ridden exercise can be a great way of keeping your horse, or your child’s, healthy, happy and obedient. This can mean walking or loose schooling.

Popular Pony breeds

Shetland pony

These ponies are strong and incredibly faithful, making them an excellent choice for caring, hardworking owners.

Welsh pony

Hardy and spirited, yet obedient and gentle – Welsh ponies are a wonderful choice for a child’s first pony

Highland pony

These ponies are large, tough and economical to keep, not least because they require shoeing less often than most breeds.

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