A pony is a small or dwarf horse. It has a stocky body, thicker mains, thicker tails and coats, and is shorter and thick than a horse overall. Ponies are much easier to train, and most breeds have a calmer temperament than horses. Many people actually believe that they are more intelligent than them.
Ponies love the outdoors, however, they require less running and exercise than horses. Despite their differences, both animals naturally share the same lifespan, living between 25 to 30 years. The gestation period for a pony is 11 months, like that of horses and donkeys, and it naturally carries one foal.
Water, food, grooming, and medical care are the basic needs that a pony requires of you, as its owner. To keep your little pony healthy, strong, and happy, you must dedicate your time to daily stable chores, such as keeping the stall clean and organizing the hay storage.
In this article, we will share ponies’ basic requirements. We will also discuss how to establish a good environment for them and provide the care and attention they need to achieve and preserve good health and wellness.
Basic Requirements of Your Pony
Whatever reason you have for keeping a pony, you must have wide space for them to be able to exercise, play, and run around.
Check your town or city ordinances before getting a pony as the city ordinance may require you to have wide land to own a pony. In some areas, for instance, you’ll need to have at least an acre of land for your pony.
Below are some basic requirements for having a pony.
1. Building a Barn
Ponies typically belong in a barn located outside, in your backyard. If you want to build a barn for your pony, consider ordering a prefabricated one. Prefabricated barns are easy to assemble as they are cut to pieces and come with building instructions.
Ponies eat the same juicy meals as horses. They like to munch on hay. If you live in grassy wide spaces, this will be a great place for your pony to eat. Ponies also eat leaves, twigs, shrubs, vines, and other plants. Make sure to provide them with fresh and clean water every day.
Ponies also need sufficient outdoor space to eat enough hay and grass. Once ponies reach their full size, they need to eat about 1% of their body weight with natural sources of forage.
You can also provide grain-based feed to supplement the natural diet of your pony. This offers additional sources of complex carbohydrates and proteins to keep them strong and healthy. Overfeeding your pony can put them at risk of developing unhealthy conditions, so make sure to give them the right amount of food.
3. Medical Care
Prevention is always better than cure. Thus, vaccinate your pony against diseases it may be exposed to. Doing so will help your pony build up their immune system against infections and diseases around their home, barn, or the wider environment.
As an owner, it is your responsibility to keep track of your pony’s vaccination for them to grow healthy and strong. Consult your local vet for the schedule and types of vaccines your pony needs.
Here are the two most common pony illnesses:
- Hyperlipemia – This disturbance of the lipid metabolism can cause high blood levels of triglycerides and fat. Your pony may also suffer from a malfunctioning liver. To know whether or not they are suffering from this illness, check for signs of diarrhea, edema, less standing and running (weakness), loss of appetite, and depression.
- Equine Cushing Disease – This common pony disease is caused by abnormalities in the pony’s pituitary gland, which leads to laminitis and insulin resistance. Laminitis is a painful inflammatory condition of the laminae tissues that bond the hoof wall to the pedal bone.
Sometimes, an equine veterinarian will make visits directly to your barn. Veterinary care includes hoof care, dental care, deworming, regular checkups, and vaccinations.
Grooming your pony is the best way to bond with your animal. It will help your pony trust you by being brushed and cared for in a tactile way. Groom your pony once a week using a grooming kit specifically designed for them.
Most pony owners plait or braid the manes and tails of their pony to give their animals more dashing and attractive looks.
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How Much Space Does a Pony Need?
Ponies are significantly smaller than standard horses. However, they use standard stalls, usually 12’x2’ or 10’x10’ for a smaller size. It is economical and easier to use a standard measurement, even though most ponies do well in 6’x8’ stalls.
A bigger space provides a pony room to lay and move around as needed. Following the standard measurements is beneficial for future animals or the resale of your backyard barn or property.
As a general rule, a single pony needs between 1.5 to 2 acres. However, you will need to consider how much of the land is going to be used for exercise, grazing, and shelter. If the only forage your pony is getting is through grazing, it will need lots of land.
Ponies are social animals but keeping too many ponies in a small space can sometimes lead to fights.
Tips for Keeping a Pony in Your Backyard
Like many other pet animals, a pony requires affection and care — actually more than dogs, cats, or fish. You must understand both the time and financial commitment that a pony entails.
Below are some tips for keeping a pony in your backyard.
1. Organized Tack and Hay Storage
One of the biggest challenges in keeping a pony is to keep your shed organized. To do so, store your hay and grain in one place, and use the ceiling for hooks when you need to hang up bridles, halters, bits, spurs, and other items.
Also, keep a dustpan and broom nearby for sweeping hay scraps every day. You can also build a shed in which you can keep your pony’s food in a single space. Besides, it’s a great way to save money.
2. Daily Stable Management
Ponies require religious routine care for their health and wellness. Here are the typical daily stable management and pony routine care steps:
- Feed your ponies hay and/or grain every morning and night.
- Refill and clean their water buckets every day.
- Pick up and clean manure and urine spots every day.
- Replace fresh bedding.
- Check and pick out hooves daily.
- Let your pony on loose for them to have fun, run, graze, and exercise.
- During the winter, remove blankets in the morning and replace them in the evening.
- During the summer, spray your pony with fly and insect-repellent spray every morning and night.
Pony naturally are grazing animals. They munch on grass all day, receiving a steady stream of fodder and clean water. You have to provide them with food in measured intervals twice a day.
If you’re keeping your pony inside a stall, ensure that there’s a clean footing underneath. Don’t let urine and manure buildup in their stall for it can be a breeding ground for flies. It can also ruin your pony’s health and hooves.
3. Keep a Tidy Stall
If your house is near your backyard barn and you don’t want it to smell like a barn, keep your stall tidy. For instance, keep your pony’s manure in garbage cans, where it can be easily collected. Also, make sure to clean your stall every morning and night and hose down the dirt to manage the dust in the area.
You might also want to consider adding extra stall mats where your pony walks. Plus, doing so keeps additional dust from being stirred up.
Finally, use diatomaceous earth to dry up urine spots and have manure management to keep flies away. Look for a manure management system that works and best suits your property size.
4. Stable Chores
Pony care also means taking care of their stall and tack, which includes the saddle, bridle, lead rope, blankets, and halter. The leather must be cleaned regularly and conditioned to retain its softness, supple, and comfort for your pony.
Saddles pads and blankets must be washed so no mud and sweat may form on them, causing discomfort to your pony.
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Ponies are smart, fun, and bring a little something to your backyard. Because of their calmer temperament, some people prefer them over horses. If you want to get one or two ponies for your backyard, you need to prepare your property for the structures that they need and you also need to know how to take care of them properly.
Always check up on your ponies and know when they are ill, happy, energetic, and want to be on loose. You must be prepared and know how to handle all the basic requirements of taking care of a pony. Before getting one, make sure you have enough space for them to roam, graze, exercise, and run.