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Caring For Your Pony

Your horse or pony will rely on you for everything 7 days a week for 52 weeks of the year. No days off for Christmas or holidays. You must also remember you can’t go on holiday and expect your horse or pony to fend for itself. Always make sure your horse is looked after by someone knowledgeable.
 
For stable-kept horses you should, every morning, make sure they have a clean bucket of fresh water and give them their breakfast. It’s important that you pick out their feet every day and groom them. If your horse is stable-kept for most or all the time, you will have to groom him or her every day. Field-kept horses need less grooming because their natural oils will help keep them warm and dry.
 
Stable-kept horses need to be mucked out at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, to make sure the horse and stable are kept clean. So a never ending supply of suitable bedding, either straw or shavings, is necessary. A stable with a rubber floor is great for padding, but it’s not bedding. 
 
Mucking out doesn’t stop at just the stable either. Horses kept at grass will also need their field or paddock mucked out and depending how many acres it is, will depend on how much time it will take.
 
During the winter you will have to change their rugs daily. If you don’t have time to ride in the morning but you turn your horse out during the day, it’s easier to muck out once they’re in the field. For horses who are turned out, remember to check they have fresh and clean water available. When you’ve mucked out the stable you can keep the bedding banked up along the stable walls, until they’re brought back inside.
 
The routine is similar at the end of the day. You might want to prepare their evening feed and lay their bedding before you bring them in from the field. When you lay the bedding, remember to replace it with what you took out when you mucked out in the morning, it’s important your horse is warm and comfortable. Once inside the stable, remove any rugs, pick out feet and groom your horse before replacing any rugs. Putting a rug on a horse when it’s muddy will cause sores.
 
Once he or she is settled, now is the time to muck out the field or paddock and check the fencing is secure and there are no dangerous plants or objects lying around.
 
Horses are sociable animals and can easily become discontent if left alone for any time. So it’s important you also spend time to just be with your horse. This is particularly important when you first bring your horse or pony home. He or she will need time to adjust to their new surroundings and to trust you.
This is also the time for you to get to know your horse or pony and to develop a bond with each other.  The better you know your horse or pony the happier your relationship will be.
 
For anyone who hasn’t kept their own horse before, the first week or two is really hard work and very tiring.  However, you’ll soon get yourself into a routine and this too is important because horses and ponies need routine.
 
For those who keep their horses in full livery it’s still important to understand and to be able to look after your horse properly. If you can’t, you shouldn’t buy a horse. The British Horse Society offers lots of good and free advice. For children, The Pony Club  is an ideal place for any young person to learn about equine welfare while making plenty of new friends and having lots’ of fun. 

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