Your shopping cart is empty.
May 13, 2010
They may be small, but ponies are tough and hardy and their nutritional requirements differ from a horse’s. Here’s how to feed your pony like a pony.
by Kerri-Jo Stewart as published in the current issue of Equine Wellness Magazine
Ponies aren’t horses. That means they can’t be fed the same way you would feed your horses. The obvious difference is in their smaller size, but ponies also tend to have more efficient metabolisms because they are designed to get maximum nutrition out of sparse coarse forage. They developed into tougher and more efficient keepers than most horses, and are adapted to conditions with harsher climates. Breeds such as Icelandic horses, miniatures, donkeys and mules are also hardier than horses and require their own specialized diets.
Basic requirements Many horses only require a good quality forage, salt, minerals and constant access to clean water to maintain good condition. Ponies and easy keepers are best kept on lower quality forage (in terms of protein, energy and nutrient levels). A sparse pasture or quality grass hay is the major component of a pony's diet. The pasture should be one in which the ponies have to work at finding the grass. They also require salt and mineral supplements (which can be free-fed in a loose crushed form), and access to clean fresh water.
Managing forage An excellent idea for pasture is to try to reproduce conditions similar to those in which the breed originated. Add in dirt and/or gravel areas and sparsely use native grasses. All equids (horses, ponies, donkeys) prefer to eat small amounts of food steadily throughout the day. Six or seven hours of grazing per day on healthy dryland pasture can meet all their nutritional requirements. It is far better for ponies to be outside on pasture, but when or where there is none available, hay becomes the main feed. Generally, forages may be fed based on weight, about one pound of forage for every 100 pounds of body weight. Many people successfully keep their ponies in a bare-land pasture and supplement with hay. Multiple feedings throughout the day help keep the pony's digestive tract healthy. Get your hay analyzed, then add supplements to correct it to what is needed. Some will add straw to a pony's diet to increase bulk, but this should be limited to 10% of the total ration. Chaff is a mixture of chopped straw and added molasses for palatability. Like straw, it can be a good source of bulk but again should be limited to about 10% of the total ration. Feeding too much poor quality fill will deprive the pony of sufficient nutrients.
Pony power – supplements and concentrates Ponies don't usually require concentrates, and grain can present unnecessary amounts of sugar and starch. A hard working pony or lactating mare may need some extra supplementation, but first increase the amount of forage and then provide a higher quality forage or hay. Beet pulp, which is lower in energy than grain, can be a good addition. If more energy is required, some oil can be added to top up the pony's diet. If a hard working pony needs concentrates, a ratio of no more than 30% concentrates to 70% forage is recommended. Most commercial concentrates are designed for horses and will often provide insufficient nutrition at the small serving sizes needed for ponies. The added nutrients are too dilute for the amount required in smaller feedings. If a pony requires concentrates, feed and supplements designed especially for ponies should be used. These feeds may be referred to as pony mix or "lite" feed. If the pony's coat starts to lose condition, she may need a protein supplement. Soybean meal can provide good quality protein without adding calories.
The downside of diets We know being overweight is not beneficial for any animal and leads to a variety of problems. However, putting any animal on a feed reduced diet isn't the answer and could create a situation in which the pony is being starved of nutrients. Caloric restriction, as well as not being able to feed for a sufficient time during the day, leads to problems that often manifest as behavioral issues. Instead, feed a good low quality hay throughout the day and increase the pony's exercise program.
Keeping track It is important to track your pony’s condition carefully. If you are unsure they are the correct weight, check them against a body condition scale. You can also measure their "heart girth" with a tape measure. In general, 30" corresponds to about 70 pounds. Multiply every additional inch by 13 pounds and add it to the original 70 pounds. Ponies are tough little animals. They have their own requirements and thrive in conditions similar to those they evolved for. Otherwise, they may require more management and their caretakers may need some help ensuring they are getting sufficient nutrients. It's always worth getting your pasture and hay tested so you can balance your pony’s rations. Keeping them on a natural healthy diet and ensuring they get lots of exercise means they will stay happy and healthy. A sparse pasture or quality grass hay is the major component of a pony's diet. Most commercial concentrates are designed for horses and will often provide insufficient nutrients at the small serving sizes needed for ponies.
Kerri-Jo Stewart has a masters from the University of Guelph in equine physiology and nutrition. She lives with her family in Maple Ridge, has Akhal-Teke horses and does equine photography. You can find more about her at http://Argamak.ca.
The presence of this badge signifies that this business has officially registered with the Art Storefronts Organization and has an established track record of selling art.
It also means that buyers can trust that they are buying from a legitimate business. Art sellers that conduct fraudulent activity or that receive numerous complaints from buyers will have this badge revoked. If you would like to file a complaint about this seller, please do so here.
This website provides a secure checkout with SSL encryption.
The Art Storefronts Organization has verified that this Art Seller has published information about the archival materials used to create their products in an effort to provide transparency to buyers.
All photography is printed on archival material, including glicee and specialist art papers. Watercolors need to be framed with art glass. Acrylics should not be hung in direct sunlight.
This is only visible to you because you are logged in and are authorized to manage this website. This message is not visible to other website visitors.
Click on any Image to continue
The above preview shows how to use the live preview on this website. The image displayed is just an example, and is not available for sale.
This means you can use the camera on your phone or tablet and superimpose any piece of art onto a wall inside of your home or business.
To use this feature, Just look for the "Live Preview AR" button when viewing any piece of art on this website!
Below, select which favorite lists you would like to save this product into.
SAVE 20% ON YOUR FIRST ORDER!
Enter your email below and we'll email you a 20% OFF Coupon right now!