Friday, 7 May 2010

Restricting grazing, weight management and laminitis prevention

Having been out to see two little ponies today, I must stress the importance of restricting grazing for ponies and managing their weight. Native ponies are designed for rough grazing, something that is very rarely available to them nowdays. Most of us own improved pasture land with lush, green grass and it's too good for little ponies. If unrestricted with their grazing, ponies put on weight very quickly, and all too often this results in laminitis.

Restricting grazing is the kindest thing you can do to keep your pony healthy. Ponies need a high fibre, low sugar diet and you can supplement their diet with soaked hay to ensure they have enough fibre going through their system. They should not be starved. I recommend owners use a weigh tape so they can monitor and manage the weight of their horse or pony throughout the year.

If you are in the unfortunate situation where your horse or pony is displaying signs of laminitis, you must take your horse off the grass immediately. Filling a stable with stable shavings can provide a comfortable surface for them to stand on. Soak hay thoroughly to remove sugars and there are hay replacements (designed specifically for laminitics) available in feed stores. Make sure you cut out feeding carrots and sugary snacks . Contact your vet or farrier/hoof care practitioner for advice.

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