Ponies are a few things - adorably cute, feisty, and quite often a bit devilish. While ponies may be smaller, they are still as mighty as their larger horse counterparts. Ponies are also a bit trickier to care for simply due to their size. It’s not just bending over to pick out those feet - ponies are often a challenge to care for in other areas.
Tack fit is often a challenge for ponies and their riders, as you need to find saddles appropriate for the pony rider. These saddles must also fit the pony - which is often hard to do as the pony rider becomes taller and taller! When you are fitting a saddle to a pony, pay special attention to how far back the saddle sits, making sure it’s still comfortable. Croupers are common on ponies to help the back of the saddle remain properly placed. There are also some rein attachments that can be used to prevent your pony from eating while he is being ridden, thus allowing the young rider to have a more enjoyable time!
Their small stature means a few things in terms of how hard ponies work. Pound for pound, ponies can carry and move with more weight than horses. That’s added stress on their legs and backs! Ponies also tend to have more skeletal problems than horses, so daily attention and care for the legs is critical. When it comes to their feet, they are typically a bit tougher than the horse hoof, but remember that they carry a larger percentage of their weight with a rider than a horse, so that’s more for the hoof to support.
Ponies are also famous for becoming overweight! While this makes them adorable, the health consequences are real. Metabolic disorders, such as Cushing’s disease, are common and can contribute to laminitis. Ponies can also develop liver problems and have increased blood levels of fats. Overweight ponies also put more pressure and strain on their legs and joints.
When you are caring for a pony, you will need to step up the care and management routine in a few areas. Monitor weight, use grazing muzzles, and have regular blood tests to stay ahead of metabolic disorders. Support your pony’s body with properly fitted tack, and use therapeutic measures like ice boots to pamper his legs. Regular grooming, Veterinary care, and a well balanced diet will help your pony thrive!