Our new pony is losing weight and my son has lost his riding confidence... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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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...
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 04:28 PM
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Can you work in a riding arena instead of out in the open? That would be my advice. Having the horse somewhat contained is great for dealing with that fear of a runaway horse.
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 04:49 PM
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Give him all the hay he needs. By chaff, isn't that just fiber without any calories? If he goes too long (a few hours) without feed, ulcers can become an issue.

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post #4 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 05:02 PM
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Is your son still taking lessons? With his pony or theirs?
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 06:04 PM
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Don't forget to check his teeth. If he's not chewing correctly he can't get the nutrients that he needs.

Starting off in an enclosed area really is a great confidence builder.
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 06:13 PM
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Sounds like he needs more hay/feed. Little & often is important, so I'd be feeding the senior feed in at least 2-3 meals daily. Enough hay to last, and perhaps more chaff & beet pulp. Can't say exact, when don't kno what/how much you feed. Teeth & ulcers also are common causes of failure to thrive.

As for sons confidence, sounds like he's not up to trail riding yet, and needs to gain confidence controlling his horse at walk, trot & canter in a controlled environment first. I kno many advocate 'just do it' type attitude, just make him do stuff 'until he gets over it' but I don't think 'sink or swim' situations are a good idea. First, 'sink' is a distinct possibility & I'm sure safety of your son is very important to you, but also if you want him to become confident & enjoy the experience, better to take it slow & easy & build on strong foundations.
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post #7 of 18 Old 01-06-2015, 06:21 PM
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droping weight.

hiya is your pony roleing hay and spiting it out have you checked his teeth just in case he has sharp teeth cuting in to his gums and or creating mouth owlsers.
also soak his feed as to being a soup so its brakes down and digests easaly.
what size is he.
i have a sec a welsh pony he is 30 years old and had a few issues and i got quoated by some one is he a six year old i said thanks.
his on 1 hay net a day.
dinner 1/4 scoop of 16 plus 1/4 scoop of pony nuts 1/4 of barley rings and a 1/4 scoop of molychaf.
and the same for breakfast.


12 001.jpg

Last edited by michaelvanessa; 01-06-2015 at 06:22 PM. Reason: for got to mention
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post #8 of 18 Old 01-07-2015, 09:36 AM
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Does your ds know about a one rein stop? It could be a useful 'tool' for him to have.
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-07-2015, 01:18 PM
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Hi Lytina!

As others have said, have a vet check teeth and tummy, and correct as needed. Beyond that, feed more hay, better hay, or even Alfalfa. Get a weight tape and keep records so you know for sure if the pony is gaining or losing.

It doesn't sound like you are at a point where "hot" feed is likely to be an issue. Running for home is a horse/herd thing, and they're gonna do just that unless the rider has sufficient assertiveness to "out Alpha" them. Arena work will help, riding out with a more experienced rider will as well. Putting your young man on a more "bombproof" mount may, or may not. If Mister Bombproof determines that he has to be Alpha to survive, he will likely go where he wants, on his own schedule. Rider assertiveness is the key here, and that has to be learned/developed thru successful interaction.

Hope this is helpful. Steve
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-07-2015, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ChitChatChet View Post
Does your ds know about a one rein stop? It could be a useful 'tool' for him to have.
This... Course depending on the length of the neck on the pony he may not have a choice

I would up hay before I would up feed (if his teeth check out). With the winter months even Fiona changes her demeanor and can become a handful. I had one mare who did a complete 180 in the winter (no grain, just roundbales) and was almost un-rideable in the winter.
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