Our new pony is losing weight and my son has lost his riding confidence...
When we got him, about 8 months ago, he was underweight but managed to put weight on over the summer. He's an older gentleman (over 20), calm and placid and was hopefully going to be a good starting pony for my 10 year old son (who's been having lessons since he was 7). He's been happily sharing paddocks with another mare, the pony of my son's friend.
Whilst my knowledge of horses is fairly basic, I am open to learn, my son too, and friend's mum has kept many horses, as has my sister and niece.
During the autumn however, my son's confidence took a bashing when pony decided to just canter back of his own accord on a ride. My son stayed on, and managed to stop him but since then his confidence has gradually eroded as he is now anxious that his pony is going to do that again.
So, in the hopes of slowly building confidence, we have been doing shorter rides (he's wanting to be back on the lead reign) and, due to winter, only at weekends.
I have been trying to work out the best feeding program - not working much and now very little grass. He's on hay twice a day (on ground, not nets) and a nightly feed of chaff, sugar beets and a handful of hard food (senior conditioning mix). I have been advised to not feed too much hard food as he may get too energetic, but I now notice that he seems to be losing weight again.
Any advice would be appreciated. We are in South West England, damp and mild...