Ask a pony owner and they will tell you: ponies are sturdier, smarter, stronger and healthier than any horse. They tend to be more resistant, have fewer hoof problems and are less prone to certain types of colic. They consume a lot less fuel. Rations that starve a horse would keep around and energetic pony. Most pony breeds developed where grazing was very sparse, the terrain rough and the climate harsh. They had to work hard to find their food. And so, in a short time, they evolved to use the little food they could find very effective. When we feed them, infants special preparations and lush grass, we often do more harm than good. Overeating is more often a problem for ponies than undernourishment.
The lush pastures are a danger zone for ponies. Ponies can melt in less than 60 minutes of grazing if they are suddenly introduced into a lush lawn. If you plan to keep your pony on grass, introduce it very slowly. Start with 10 minutes of grazing and gradually add a few minutes each day twice a day. If your pony eats too many rich pastures, it could result in colic or founder problems. You may never be able to leave ponies on good pastures. Ponies can become obese very quickly, which can lead to health problems such as metabolic syndrome.
Good pasture for a pony would be a job in which he will have to find the grass. A sparse grass that grows slowly would be ideal. He could also spend a little of his time grazing and the rest in a herbal paddock. It may be necessary to keep a pony off the pasture for part of the day. It may take some creativity to find ways to limit the amount of food your pony receives. Some people use their round pens or pens where no grass grows. Another option is to use a snout. Shaving muzzles left a pony grazing but received only a few blades at a time. The spaces in the muzzle also allow the pony to drink, so of course, make sure your pony has access to fresh, clean water.
Ponies rarely need concentrates or cereals. The exception would be a pony who works very hard: one who gives several lessons a week is often trained or pulls something like a competition, or is a lactating mare with a foal at his side. If your pony loses its condition, you can increase the amount of hay and if that is not enough, add a concentrate that is not too rich. A forage replacement enriched with vitamins and minerals can give your pony the nutritional energy it needs without adding extra pounds.
If you like to feed your pony even if it does not work hard – and for some owners, this is a very satisfying activity – look for a low-calorie concentrate. Some manufacturers offer special pony blends. These mixes are balanced with the correct amount of supplements for a pony. Do not be tempted to garnish it with many extras like molasses or beet pulp. If you give good hay, the pony has some pasture and you have a block of salt/salt available, your pony will get what he needs. If you eat treats, it is better to consider them in your diet in general so as not to overdo it.
The mouth of ponies is small, the teeth invaded by vegetation can be a problem. Hooks and sharp edges can make mastication uncomfortable because their mouth is compact and teeth, tongue, and gums may be closer together than in some horses. Do not forget to have your veterinarian check your pony’s teeth for easy chewing. You do not want your pony to lose weight because it has a sore mouth. A pain in the mouth can also cause behavior problems by wearing a little. Ponies also need regular deworming to stay healthy.
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