My Little Pony: A Parents Guide to Keeping Horses

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    Dec 17, 2012
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If you were to look at the bookshelves or the toy cupboard of a little girl, one thing is fairly certain, you will probably find something about horses. Whether it is a collection of ‘My Little Pony’ toys or a copy of the novel ‘Black Beauty’, having a pony of their very own is something that little girls often wish for. This interest is down to the enjoyment they receive from the required grooming, the pretty ribbons and braiding that can be used to individualise a mane or tail or the fact that horse riding, giving the owner a chance to directly interact with their pet. Because of this horses and ponies remain a very popular choice on a little girl’s wish list.

Early Starts and Morning Walks

Often it is simply a phase and a toy horse is enough for a child until they decide they want a more low maintenance pet or they’d rather go to dance classes. However, for some the interest continues and attending or working at a stables fuels an interest in horse riding as a hobby. Most riding centres offer part time work or experience to interested horse lovers and potential stable hands. This can be a very good way for parents to test the enthusiasm of their child before making the huge investment and commitment that it requires to own a horse.

Mucking Out Reaps Rewards

If your child has mucked out stables, coped with the early starts and given the horses the exercise that they require whatever the weather, they should be well aware that the life of a horse owner is not as glamorous as the movies make it look. If you are in a position to indulge their passion for horses then there are a few important factors that you will need to keep in mind.

Hoofing Around

You will need to assess whether you plan for your horse to be exercised on roads to a great extent. A horse will need to be shod if it spends any time on the road. Regardless of this a horse’s hooves are incredibly important and hoof-care should be paramount. Poor hoof-care can lead to a horse going lame. Checking for and removing stones can be quite simply done; however, regular checks from a professional Farrier are advisable.

‘Tack-tical’ Challenges

You must always ensure that your horse’s ‘Tack’ (accessories needed for exercising your horse: reigns, bridle, saddle and all associated equipment), fits well. Ill-fitting tack can cause physical discomfort and even injury. This can then have the added problem of causing behavioural problems as your horse becomes irritated. It is advisable to re-check the fit of your tack as your horse gets fitter and therefore changes shape.

Equestrian Emergency Room

Basic checks as to your horse’s health can be done by checking the condition of its hair, skin, eyes, ears and nose. Hair and skin should be soft and smooth, any dryness or flakiness could indicate underlying ill health. Eyes should be bright and not cloudy, ears should be ‘pricked’ or relaxed back and noses should be free of discharge.

Apart from lameness, as mentioned above, Colic is one of the most dangerous conditions for your horse. A horse’s digestive system is very different from that of other animals, meaning that a bout of colic is potentially fatal. Horses cannot vomit to get rid of anything that they find indigestible or disagreeable. Therefore it is vital that their digestive health is closely monitored. Ensuring that your horse has regularly freshened water, small, high fibre meals and a defined equestrian worming plan will avoid problems in the gut that can lead to Colic. Equine wormers are easily administered in an oral gel, tablet or liquid form.

A horse is a very expensive and emotional investment. However, with good hoof and tack care and the regular use of equine wormers, their delicate sensibilities can be catered for ensuring a long and happy life.

Debbie Reade is a frequent contributor of articles for and has written on many subjects pertaining to all animal needs including cats and dogs but mainly on the subject of Equine health.

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Debbie Reade is a frequent contributor of articles for and has written on many subjects pertaining to all animal needs including cats and dogs but mainly on the subject of Equine health.

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