Supplements can be fed to ponies in addition to their forage and hard feed. They normally include a mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Supplements can either be general, aiming to promote good health and a balanced diet, or specifically targeted to support certain parts of your pony’s health, such as his hooves or respiratory system. Always talk to your vet before you add any supplements to your pony’s diet, as they’ll be able to let you know if he needs them.
Top tip – Always follow the guidelines on a supplement to know how much to feed your pony. Over-feeding supplements can be dangerous.
Fight the fat
Lots of ponies, especially native breeds, are good-doers. This means that they put on weight easily, so don’t need very much hard feed alongside forage. For these ponies, it can be a good idea to add a general supplement to their diet to make sure they’re getting all the vits and mins they need.
A feed balancer is a common form of general supplement. It generally comes in a pellet, which means your pony can eat it on his own if he doesn’t usually have any hard feed.
If you’ve got a super-busy summer lined up with your fave pony, consider feeding an electrolyte supplement to keep him hydrated and performing at his best.
Ponies sweat during exercise to lower their body temperature, which means they lose water and minerals from their bodies. For most ponies on a balanced diet in light or medium work, it’s not a problem for them to rehydrate. But if your pony’s workload increases, such as at Pony Club camp, or in hot weather, he might need a helping hand.
Electrolytes replenish these minerals and help him rehydrate. You can give them to him dissolved in his water or with his feed. But if you’re giving them in feed, make sure to supply plenty of clean, fresh water to stop him becoming dehydrated.
Specific supplements include particular ingredients that aim to help certain areas of your pony’s health. For example, biotin is often found in hoof and coat supplements, and probiotics in digestive supplements. Specific supplements can target areas such as your pony’s…
- respiratory system
- immune system
- digestive system
- temperament and behaviour
DID YOU KNOW? Supplements are not medicines – they only aim to support good health through natural products. Speak to your vet if you’re concerned about any aspect of your pony’s health.
Sooner or later
If you’re looking to use a specific supplement, make sure to check if it’s short- or long-acting. Some supplements aim to provide quick, short-term relief, such as some calmers and soothing respiratory supplements, whereas others will act over long periods, such as a hoof or coat care supplement. For long-term supplements, it may take a while to see results, so don’t expect instant changes.
Supplements come in lots of different forms, such as liquids, powders, pellets or pastes. If your pony doesn’t like eating his supplement in one form, try it in another.