1. Why is it important to make sure your pony doesn’t eat too much rich grass in the summer?
a) The grass can stain his hooves and legs, which means you’ll lose marks for turnout when you take him to shows.
b) Grass doesn’t contain many different nutrients, so your pony will get too fat and he won’t be getting the vitamins he needs for strong hooves.
c) Too much rich grass can cause laminitis.
2. What extra precaution should you take before going for a canter in the summer?
a) Check how hard the ground is before zooming off – if it hasn’t rained recently, it might be hard enough to bruise your pony’s soles.
b) None – the ground is firm and safe to canter on, with enough grass to cushion your pony’s hooves.
c) Ask your farrier about putting studs in your pony’s shoes, as the hard ground can be quite slippery when you’re moving quickly.
3. How can you keep your pony’s hooves healthy during the summer?
a) Soak his feet for 20 minutes after riding to soothe any bruising of his soles.
b) Paint his hooves with hoof varnish to keep moisture out – your pony’s hooves should be kept as hard and dry as possible.
c) Apply a conditioning product to the wall of your pony’s feet a few times a week to moisturise them.
4. How often should your pony be shod in the summer?
a) Less often than usual as the hard ground and increased turnout means that his hooves won’t grow as quickly.
b) Your pony’s shoeing routine shouldn’t change.
c) He may need to be shod slightly more often, as his feet may grow faster and the hard ground could cause uneven wear.
5. How can you adjust your pony’s feed to improve the quality of his hooves?
a) Allow your pony constant access to a field with thick, rich grass – all the nutrients he needs can be found in natural forage.
b) Speak to your farrier about special hoof supplements containing vitamins and minerals that can encourage healthy hoof growth.
c) Decrease his feed, as his hooves are more likely to crack if he’s carrying
a bit of extra weight.
How did you do?
1. C – Your pony may think that the long, thick grass is delicious, but it’s important to restrict the amount he can eat! Really rich grass can make him too fat and can cause the blood vessels in his hooves to constrict, leading to laminitis. It’s best to turn him out in a well-grazed field.
2. A – It’s great fun to have a good canter in the sunshine! Taking the time to check that the ground is suitable means that your pony can have just as much fun as you do. Avoid cantering on very hard ground as this can bruise the soles of his feet and jar his legs.
3. C – Sometimes your pony’s hooves will need a bit of extra TLC to keep them strong and healthy. There are lots of moisturising hoof conditioners that you can apply to the walls of his feet – ask your farrier what he would recommend for your pony and how regularly you should apply it.
4. C – Some ponies have really strong hooves and don’t need to have their shoeing routine changed at all in the summer, but some need to be shod more often as their feet can grow more quickly or wear unevenly. Regular attention from your farrier also means that any cracks can be caught and treated early.
5. B – Ask your farrier if he thinks your pony would benefit from a special hoof supplement containing additional amino acids, vitamins and minerals to promote healthy hooves. Supplements containing biotin can help your pony’s hooves grow stronger.