Small ponies, like minis, can often put weight on in the blink of an eye but have a far more difficult time losing the weight. These ponies present their own set of challenges, since they’re usually too small for an adult to ride and exercise. These five tips can help you help your small pony lose weight.
Use a Grazing Muzzle
Many ponies become overweight because they eat too much grass. It is best to put a grazing muzzle on your pony whenever he is out on grass pasture. Even with a grazing muzzle, your pony will still manage to eat some grass, so if your pony is highly overweight then you may need to put him on a dry lot. A dry lot, or a lot without grass, is one way that you can manage and monitor exactly what your pony eats.
If your pony is significantly overweight, then his diet may be at fault. Assess how much you are feeding your pony, as well as how rich the feed is. You may need to make some dietary changes, such as feeding your pony less or switching to a feed which is less rich in calories. Many ponies do just fine without any grain; speak with your vet about exactly what your pony needs to be eating.
Find Ways to Provide Exercise
Ponies need exercise in order to lose weight and stay healthy. This can be a challenge when the pony is so small that you can’t ride him. However, there are ways around this. You can teach your pony to be lunged, and spend some time lunging him every day. The same is true of ground driving, and many ponies can even be taught to pull adults in carts. The more exercise that you can give your pony, the better his weight loss will progress.
Get Your Pony a Buddy
If your pony currently lives alone, providing him with a buddy may help him to lose some weight. Ponies tend to play more in turnout when they have a buddy with them. Giving your pony a buddy may encourage him to move about, which can help to take off some of the extra weight.
Consult Your Vet
If you’ve tried the above steps and are still having trouble getting your pony to lose weight, then consult with your vet. Your vet may have some additional advise specific to your pony.
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Overweight ponies and horses aren’t healthy. Though it may be a challenge, helping your pony to lose weight will also be helping to keep your pony healthy, too.