Feeding for the show ring is a highly controvercial subject, but producing a native in ideal condition for the show ring is not rocket science.
There are many feed products available on themarket that are designed to give the right amount of bloom and condition for the show ring. To make the right choice for your pony advice must be taken, labels must be read and the pony’s own metabolism and character must be taken into account.
Look at your feed regime and choose products that are recommended for coats without causing overfreshness. Ensure you are feeding a balanced diet with enough minerals and vitamins, but take care over quantity as many natives are susecptible to laminitis.
If you are not feeding your pony anything other than hay then you must introduce feeds very gradually. Feed little and often to prevent problems in weight, brain or limbs. Be aware that haylage has a higher level of protein and a greater water content than hay so quantities may need to be adjusted accordingly.
There is much controvercy about ponies’ weight in the show ring. A pony in ideal show condition should have round quarters and be able to move freely. The pony’s ribs should be able to be felt but not seen. Excessive fat on the crest is generally frowned upon. In hand ponies can afford to carry a little more weight than ponies under saddle.
Ponies that are being shown are likely to loose some weight due to stress while travelling. If you now your pony is likely to “drop off” in transit then you will need to ensure it carries a little extra weight to compensate.
Do not forget that feeding alone does not produce a pony in show condition. Exercise and grooming both play vital roles in producing a pony for the ring. Lunging, long reining, walking out in hand and hacking can be mixed to provide variation for ponies if access to schooling facilities is limited.
A vigous and thorough grooming as well as strapping the neck and hindquarters will help to condition the animal more quickly. If you are unsure how to strap get advice before subjecting your native to your first attempts.