Keep your pony happy at home

Posted 12th November 2021

This Esme explains how you can make sure your pony’s happy at home

This Esme at home stables

We all want to give our ponies the best possible environment to live in – and ensure they’re as happy as possible, whatever we do with them. But a lot of our management techniques are pretty different to how a wild pony would live. Luckily, there are a few fun changes you can make to help your pony live a more natural and happy lifestyle. Check out my seven fave tips for environmental enrichment.

Field friendly

A great place to start when thinking about your pony’s environment is in his field. All ponies need friends, food and freedom to be happy – and he should be able to get all three in his paddock.

If he eats hay out in the field, lay it out in lots of different piles around the paddock (at least two more than the number of ponies) so he has to walk between them – this will also prevent any fighting between ponies who are vying for the same hay.

Speaking of friends, your pony should always have access to companions. Ideally, he should be in a field with at least a couple of others, but if this isn’t possible, make sure he has a friend or two in the field next door and can always see other ponies.

Spread out

Splitting your pony’s forage into separate haynets and hanging it around his stable will help keep him occupied and stop him rushing his food. If he’s a good-doer use small-holed nets or double net (put one inside another), so his ration lasts longer. This means he’ll get all the forage he needs but won’t have to stand around feeling hungry because he’s eaten everything too quickly.

Chop and change

Mixing your pony’s forage, or spreading different types around his field and stable, will keep him interested and his gut healthy, too. For example, you could mix straw into his hay if he’s a good-doer, or offer him a net of haylage alongside his usual hay ration if he could do with gaining a little extra weight. Always make sure he’s getting enough dry forage daily – at least 1.5% of his bodyweight – whichever form of roughage you choose to offer him.

Top Tip

Ask your vet for advice if you’re worried about your pony’s weight. It’s normal for him to lose a little through the winter, but he should still look healthy.

Pick up your copy of PONY January on sale 17 November 2021, and find out what else you can do to keep your pony happy at home

 

 

 

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