Need advice on what to feed. Horse and Pony. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Virginia
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Need advice on what to feed. Horse and Pony.

Okay I have posted these before.. But here I am again because I still don't completely understand lol.

I now only have two horses left. Well one horse and my nieces pony who I am taking full care of. The pony is a little underweight where it was in with so many other horses and they were beating up on him and not letting him near the hay. Now all the other horses have been sold and since my 6 year old niece is the only one that will ride out of my brothers kids he kept him for her and I told him I would take care of him and handle all his bills.

So more info on Jack the pony. He is a 9 year old, Shetland cross, About 40 inches. They didn't grain their horses and I haven't put him on any grain yet because I honestly don't know what to feed a pony (or rather how much).

Blue Eyes is my 8 year old Paint mare. She is 14.2hh and I think a good weight but I would like to maintain her weight. Right now she is getting three lbs of Legends Show and Pleasure (what the guy I got her from was feeding) in the am and pm. I continued her on this until I could find a better feeding program for both of them.

They have 24/7 access to hay, water and a salt block. The hay isn't great. It's what people around here call "cow hay". I don't have access to any other hay, my dad buys it so I have no choice there.

I am local to a Tractor supply store and my local feed store carries SOME legends feeds. Mostly Southern states feeds but I haven't had any luck with those.

Both are hand grazed about an hr or two a day. Both are ridden roughly 4 times a day for about 30 mins to an hour.

Pictures for reference.

Can't really tell in the pictures but Jack backbone is slightly sticking up. And I can see 3 ribs on each side slightly.

Blue Eyed BLY~ 2/3/03
Calico Sonny Stockman x She's On Cloud Nine
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 02:45 PM
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You are really dedicated to hand graze! I have had several hard keepers in the last 26 years including a TB mare that was way ribbier than your sweet little pony. The Vet's advice to put weight on her was to start with free choice low protein hay. Haven't owned many ponies, but I understand that they require even less protein than a full sized horse needs, and many people use feed that is too high in protein anyway. Therefore I would wait on supplementing his feed.
Perhaps we are so used to quick weight loss diets that we have become expectant of quick weight loss and quick weight gain in our pets. He isn't very underweight. I would give him loads of grass or grass/alfalfa hay and see if he gets heavier in about 6 months. You should measure his girth and compare before and after pictures to see. I have made the mistake of quickly adding supplements and I could see it in the ridges on my horse's hooves. Hindsight is 20/20, ya know, and I am more careful now.
The question I have is: how do your horses handle the dog enclosure fencing? lol
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 03:34 PM
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1) do not grain the pony. It is to easy to founder them.
2) Deworm them.
3) Corn Oil is a good fat to add without the risk that grain poses also a rice bran/supplement .
4) you could get a bag of alfalfa hay pellets (not cubes) pour oil on those.
Be careful with the pony. Again do not grain the pony.. they are prone to founder . good luck.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh and they are ridden about 4 times a week not a day lol..

Thanks. You can't really see it in the pictures, but Jack's back bone is seeable and a couple ribs, and I more or less am looking for a feed to maintain this weight not really increase it (well Jack needs a few more lbs but not Blue Eyes haha). And the dog type fencing is my yard haha I am standing outside of it. But neither bother any fence and we have a lot of different type fencing's. Board, electric and a few strands of barbwire. :)

Oh and they were wormed yesterday with Safeguard.

Blue Eyed BLY~ 2/3/03
Calico Sonny Stockman x She's On Cloud Nine
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 08:25 PM
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I have a shetland and agree with the above poster, do not grain the pony they are very good doers. Worm him feed a little oil in some chaff and feed forage like hay or if you have it in the states hoof kind chaff based feed.

I spend 3/4s of the year muzzling my little shetland to prevent laminitis ( founders)

I wouldn't say the pony looks to thin from your photos.


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post #6 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 04:34 PM
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I agree with the other posters that you do not want to feed grain to a pony. Ponies gain weight quickly and can founder easily. Worm both of them, and I would suggest buying a pre/probiotic suppliment from TSC like Probios or Optizyme and feed it to them daily. That will help them get more from the hay. I don't think your pony is *that* underweight, so I suggest going slowly and adding only a little bit more at a time, and keep a weight tape handy and measure him often to make sure he isn't gaining too much too fast. Again, ponies can get FAT quickly and they founder easily. Instead of grain you could get a Ration Balancer from TSC, like Nutrena Empower Balance or Purina Enrich 12 or Enrich 32 (TSC sells both Nutrena and Purina). You feed an RB based on weight, so it wouldn't be much extra but it would give her some extra calories and essential nutrients she's probably missing from the the low quality hay, and she's small, so it would be even more economical. The Nutrena has pre/probiotics in the feed, so you would not need to feed the pre/probiotic on top of the Nutrena. I don't know as much about the Purina. I used the Nutrena until we moved to SC and now I use Seminole Equalizer because that is what the feed store has. I have a pony but she is overweight so she only gets hay and Smartpak EZ Keeper Grass suppliment with Animed Remission (she was super chunky when we got her and we worried about founder). My hard keeper Appendix gets the RB and it works well for him (along with hay, soaked beet pulp and rice bran oil).

Whatever you decide to do, go very slowly with the pony and constantly monitor her body condition. Good luck!
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