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Posted in Health Stable Management

Stable or field – what’s right for your pony? We investigate the advantages and disadvantages of both

Stabled ponies

Ponies may need to be stabled for a number of reasons, including injury or lack of turnout. Healthy ponies should get regular exercise if they’re kept stabled to stop them getting bored and stiff.

To keep your pony as happy as possible in his stable, make sure there’s plenty of natural light and ventilation, as well as keeping his bed clean and muck-free. Check out our bedding guide below to pick the right type for your pony.

Remember to give him access to hay and fresh water at all times, too, and consider getting a stable toy to keep him entertained.

Bedding guide

There are lots of different bedding options available and which one you pick depends on what’s right for you and your pony. Common bedding types include…

  • straw. This is traditionally the most common type of bedding because it’s relatively cheap. However, not all ponies can be kept on straw beds because some eat it and others are allergic to the dust spores it contains.
  • shavings. One of the most popular type of bedding – shavings are comfy for ponies and easy to muck out. The quality of shavings can vary between brands, so look out for shavings that are
    dust-free.
  • paper. Chopped paper is warm, dust-free and ponies don’t like to eat it. It’s a good option for allergy-sufferers, too. It’s important to muck out paper beds well to make sure they don’t get too soggy.
  • wood pellets. Made from heat-treated sawdust, you have to sprinkle water onto the pellets to fluff them up and create a comfy, absorbent bed.
  • rubber matting. Rubber mats can be used underneath bedding to make a comfy and safe base to his stable. It means you won’t need as much bedding on top, because the rubber will protect him from scrapes when he’s lying down.

Field-kept ponies

Ponies love to be out and about in their fields as much as possible and many can live out 24/7. It’s a more natural way to keep ponies because they can behave more like they would in the wild. There are also loads of health benefits to keeping your pony turned out because he’s constantly on the move and will get plenty to eat.

To keep your pony happy in his field, remember to make sure he has access to fresh, clean water at all times and check for poisonous plants and damaged fencing at least once a day. It’s a good idea to make sure he has access to a field shelter to allow him to escape wet weather, cold winds and pesky flies.

However, some ponies aren’t able to live out all the time, especially if they’re older or sensitive types, as they may struggle in bad weather. Also, many yards don’t have enough land for constant turnout, particularly over the winter months when there’s lots of mud and not enough grass!

Combined system

This is where ponies are stabled for part of the day and turned out for the rest. A common routine is to keep your pony in at night and turn him out in the day.

The combined system is a great compromise for ponies who aren’t able to live out 24/7 or when there isn’t enough grazing available. It’s often used for ponies in regular work as it’s easier to make sure they’re getting all the nutrition they need while keeping fit and healthy.

Sweet itch sufferers do well on the combined system because they’re able to come inside to the protection of their stable when the midges are at their worst, but are still able to go out and graze with their friends inbetween.

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