Feeding a yearling

  • Christine Smy, equine nutritionistreplies: You have done the correct thing by changing to a low-energy feed which, in conjunction with gelding your pony, has quietened his temperament. This will improve further if you can turn him out for extended periods of time.

    I suggest you feed around 1-2kg of low-energy cubes daily, as these tend to contain higher levels of fibre and lower levels of starch than a mix, which is more likely to cause excitability. Add chaff (but not chaff that is highly molassed) to prevent him bolting his feed.

    This diet will provide your yearling with all the nutrients he needs, and there is no need for you to purchase extras. New Forest ponies are very tough – their natural environment is swamped with bracken and the grass has been grazed into oblivion.

    Make sure you are providing him with enough good-quality forage and beware of the spring grass. New Forest ponies are exceptionally good doers and it is not advisable for his young limbs to have to support excess bodyweight.

    As the New Forest area is also a popular tourist spot, these ponies have contact with humans on a regular basis and tend to be greedy as a result.

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