Make sure your pony gets the care he needs over the next few weeks.
With your school closed for the near future, you may be expecting to spend loads of extra time with your fave pony. However, these are very uncertain times, and there’s always the chance that more restrictions could be introduced which stop you going to the yard at all. Just in case this happens, it’s really important to have a plan in place to make sure your pony still gets all the care and attention he needs. Here are a few things to think about…
- Ask your yard manager what steps they’ll be taking if horse and pony owners can’t get to the yard. This is especially important if your pony’s on DIY or part-livery and you usually care for him yourself.
- Put together some useful info about your pony, so whoever’s caring for him – such as your yard manager, another adult or a friend – can meet all his needs if you’re unable to. You can download an info sheet here, a printable care sheet then just fill all the details in and give it to everyone who needs one.
- Check you’ve got enough supplies for the next few weeks, such as feed balancer, hay or haylage, bedding, supplements and medication (if your pony has any). If there’s a chance you could run out, ask a parent or your yard manager to pick some up for you. While there’s no need to panic buy, it’s worth having a healthy supply just in case you can’t get to the shops for a while.
- Will your pony need vaccinating, or is he due to have his back or teeth checked in the next few weeks? It’s worth giving your vet practice a call now, to find out what their policy is on non-emergency appointments. If they’re still doing yard visits, they might suggest bringing them forward to make sure your pony doesn’t miss out.
- Get in touch with your farrier to find out if they’re still working and, if so, whether you need to schedule in a visit sooner rather than later. If they know your pony well enough, they may be happy to trim or shoe him without you there. If they’re self-isolating or taking a break to avoid contact with others, they may be able to recommend another local farrier who can help.
- Buddy up with a friend at the yard, so you can help each other out if one of you can’t make it to the yard.
If you don’t already have one, ask your yard manager to set up a yard Whatsapp group so everyone can keep in touch, and can ask for help whenever they need it.
While you’re still going to the yard, consider ways you can help keep yourself safe, such as going there at quieter times when there are fewer people around. Wear gloves and don’t use any tools or equipment that are shared by other people. If you can’t wash your hands when you get to the yard or when you leave, take a bottle of hand sanitiser with you.
There’s no doubt that these are worrying times, but if you know that your pony’s going to be taken care of, it should help make life a little easier. Also, if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to speak to a parent or your yard manager straightaway.