Nobody wants their pony to be in pain or to miss out on any precious riding time, especially during the summer holidays! The best way to avoid this happening is to take good care of his feet and legs, which will help to reduce the risk of him going lame.
Put his feet first
Most cases of lameness involve the feet, so it’s really important to take good care of your pony’s hooves. Picking them out at least once a day will remove dirt and debris and help avoid a nasty infection called thrush. Also, making sure he sees the farrier regularly, whether he’s shod or barefoot, will go a long way to keeping his feet in tip-top condition.
Watch his weight
Keeping your pony at a healthy weight can help him stay sound. If he’s overweight it’ll put excess stress and strain on his hooves, as well as the muscles, ligaments and joints in his legs.
Ride with care
Part of the fun of hacking out is having a blast, but riding your pony over unsuitable ground, especially at speed, can hurt his legs…
- hard ground can jar his limbs or cause concussion in his feet
- wet or muddy going can strain his muscles or cause him to slip or trip
- a stony surface can bruise the soles of his feet
So, always pay attention to what’s under your pony’s feet when you’re riding, and only trot or canter if you’re sure the ground’s okay.
Avoid riding on roadside verges, too, where there could be hidden dangers such as drains, holes, rutted ground or even glass bottles.
If you think your pony might be lame, call your vet out to check him over.
Take care of your pony’s legs with our top advice in September PONY, on sale 31 July, pick up your copy now!