Hi, I am thinking of buying a miniature horse or a miniature pony. I was wondering which one would be least likely to get over weight or founder? As I see this seems to be a struggle for most people.
Also I know what a biscuit of hay is but what is a flake? Not sure if we call it that in Australia?
There is no such things as a miniature pony ;) There are miniature horses, then there are pony breeds such as Shetland. Shetlands can be as small as miniatures but can also be few inches taller. Shetlands aren't usually as refined unless they are American Shetlands, and have more pony-like features such as drafty bodies, larger, thicker heads, and thicker hair. Well bred miniature horses should look just like a scaled down version of a full sized horse.
Both shetlands and miniature horses (as well as donkeys) are the 'air ferns' of the horse world, and can easily founder. Just because they CAN founder doesn't mean they will though. On a careful management plan of grass hay and very little to no fresh grass, there is a very slim chance of them foundering.
I believe a biscuit and flake of hay are the same thing.
^ Falabellas are a certain 'strain' of miniature horse I believe. Not their own breed :) They are considerably rare to find in a pure strain, and cost a lot of money. Not to discourage you of course. And yes, they can founder too!
Yes, any breed or age of horse can founder if it is fed food that is too rich for it, in too high of quantities. There is a QH horse mare on my local craigslist ads that has foundered. Its just more likely for ponies and minis to founder because they are so much smaller, their bodies were made to thrive of lower quality forage (think Shetland islands....freezing cold with insane wind constantly), and a lot of people tend to thing 'oh its a pony, its supposed to be fat' so they aren't monitored carefully. When fed grains and grass, their body goes into overload and they develop IR/Cushings, founder, etc.
Okay thanks, biscuit and flake are the same thing as described by scropshirerosie.
I am thinking of keeping it in a smallish paddoch that the other regular sized horses have eaten down already. If it were to graze on the left over pasture would that be okay. Too much or would still need a 'flake':) of hay?
( the other horses always move onto the adjoining paddoch when they have eaten one down, so they won't be in the same paddoch as I don't think it would be safe)
Overgrazed grass is I believed more highly stressed and so higher in fructans - and the advice is often to avoid this. In the UK it is fairly common to use the 'poorest' bit of land, that which has been trashed overwinter for instance.
Your best option is to talk to local pony owners, find out how they manage to keep their ponies trim and healthy. Now knowing what the climate and pasture is like where you are it is a little difficult to give you sound advice.