Challenges facing the Pony Club pony
- Ponies kept in sub optimal conditions or those needing a boost
- Excitable ponies
- Poor quality hooves, less frequent shoeing
- Reduced mobility
Pony Club and family ponies may be kept at livery or at home. They may be required to live out in all seasons and they may only be ridden intermittently, especially in the winter when the days are short. Often these ponies may be kept in suboptimal conditions where pastures they are grazing has become tired (“horse sick”) or there are large numbers of ponies competing for food. Many ponies are not shod or because they may live out in wet or excessively dry ground conditions they may have poor quality hooves. Some ponies may be very excitable and fresh especially if only ridden intermittently. Pony club ponies are frequently older and are of great value because they have done it all and they are an excellent mount to establish and build a child’s confidence. Unfortunately, because many ponies are older and often over weight, they may be prone to the development of laminitis or have equine metabolic syndrome (formerly Cushing’s disease) and consequently only be allowed restricted access to grass to limit carbohydrate intake. Older ponies are susceptible to all the conditions associated with age, such as poor dentition and a reduced capacity of the intestine to absorb nutrients. In addition, arthritis/restricted mobility are common.
Depending on the age and activity level of the leisure of pony, there are several ways in which dietary modification and the use of nutritional supplements can support a good health and performance.
CHALLENGE: Ponies kept in sub-optimal conditions or those on grass restriction needing a boost (Pony Club)
Nutrients that may be lacking in poor quality forage include energy
It has been well established that malnourishment negatively impacts equine