Pointers for preparing for a pony
It is many a young child’s dream to own a horse or pony and you might have found yourself in the perfect position to be able to provide one for yours. It may not necessarily be for a child, it could be for you, that lifelong dream of yours might just be coming true and this is an exciting time!
If this is for a lucky child then, let’s face it, they can barely be bothered to feed the cat let alone take care of a horse full time so we know who will be picking up the slack. Maybe you’re looking forward to the challenge and time with a horse and you’ve no doubt got experience with these fine animals. Horses are clever and graceful creatures and they deserve the very best, which we are sure you’re willing to give. Perhaps you are looking to ride or you are homing a retired one, just remember that every animal is different so you will have to gain an understanding of what your horse or pony needs from you.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for what lies ahead – and to embrace the joy that caring for a horse will bring – we’ve put together some useful information on how to take care of that gorgeous animal of yours.
They aren’t exactly small creatures so you’ll have to ensure that your horse has plenty of space to exercise outside, giving them daily access to a paddock to run freely. They love, and need to exercise and they like company of other horses too, they also need shelter while they are out in case of extreme weather and fencing needs to be secure.
Indoor areas should be kept at a suitable temperature and they need to be well-ventilated, clean and with dust-free and good quality bedding.
We all need nourishment and you’ll want the best for your pony. Spillers horse food will do the trick and constant access to fresh, clean water as well as forage and as much opportunity to graze as possible will give you horse the very best it needs to flourish. Avoid large amounts of fermentable foods, like apples, and remove any toxic plants from their reach. Always talk to the vet if you have any questions about your horse’s diet.
Annual dental checks, daily inspection of hooves and regular vaccinations are just some of the things you need to do to care for your horse’s health. Bear in mind it may come with, or be prone to, health issues so ask the questions before you buy so you’ll know how best to look after it. You’ll have to check your horse daily for injury or illness and if you are unavailable to do this, someone else will have to. Make sure tack is well-fitted and riders aren’t too heavy for the horse – poor riding technique can also cause pain or injury to the animal.
It is good to get to know your horses when they arrive so that any abnormal behaviour in the future can be picked up and looked into as this may be highlighting a health issue. Like us, they have personalities and can provide much fun for you and your family but they can also get bored and stressed, and are social animals so make sure they have the company of other horses, that they are familiar with, in the paddock. They are best trained with positive rewards rather than punishment for bad behaviour as this can lead them to become aggressive.
Hopefully we’ve provided some pointers and not put you off purchasing your desired pony. There is much joy to be had from caring for one of these amazing creatures and there’ll be more research to be done before you go ahead, but if your decision has been made then enjoy the years ahead with your new friend.