Having your own pony is such an exciting opportunity, but with it comes hard work and responsibility. Like any pet, a pony needs care and maintenance to keep it fit and healthy, and grooming plays a significant role in this. Here are 5 great tips for grooming your new pony.
You and your new pony need to get to know each other. Grooming is the ideal way to communicate with your pony and gain its trust. It is never a good idea to ride a pony that you haven’t bonded with first.
Ponies in the wild mutually groom each other by scratching and nibbling one another’s back and neck. This practice takes the place of brushes and combs and is known as Allogrooming. Stabled ponies should be groomed regularly, always before and after a ride. However, ponies that live more naturally will do some of the job themselves by rubbing against trees and fences and rolling on the floor. Your new pony will become used to your touch and start to enjoy it when you rub its hard to reach places. Becoming used to your hands-on contact will also mean that saddling up your horse will be easier as you have to touch sensitive areas when doing this.
Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed
Grooming is a great way to check the physical state of your pony. You can check it for external wounds, rashes, scratches, and swelling and treat them before they develop into something more serious.
The natural oils or sebum in your pony’s coat are dispersed when brushed, keeping it moisturized and shiny. Loose hair and dirt are removed, which helps prevent skin damage from the saddle or girth rubbing. A good grooming session increases blood flow to the skin’s surface and massages large muscle groups.Sebum also protects the skin from insects and plays host to friendly bacteria that help keep harmful fungi, parasites, and other pathogens at bay.
Soap and Glory
Ponies can get very dirty and overheated after a ride, and sometimes you will need to wash them. It’s important to choose the right pony and horse shampoo. As with human shampoo, there are products formulated for all different needs such frequent use, deep cleaning, to enhance light or dark coat colors, or block ultraviolet rays.
When using a new type of shampoo, it’s vital you try it on a small area of your pony’s body and wait 24 hours to check for an allergic reaction before proceeding. Some ponies have sensitive skin and may break out in hives when exposed to certain ingredients. Use the minimum amount of shampoo specified on the bottle. Instead of applying shampoo directly on a wet coat, put some in a bucket of water, and sponge it on. This will distribute it more evenly and make it easier to rinse
Tools of the Trade
To groom your pony effectively, you need quite an extensive grooming kit.
To prevent your pony from developing common hoof issues such as thrush, a bacterial disease of the hoof, a pick is required to remove dirt and stones. A curry comb is a rubber brush that removes loose hairs and dirt when moved across the pony’s coat in a circular motion. It also gives your pony a relaxing massage. Dried mud should be removed from your pony’s coat using a hard-bristled brush called a dandy brush and then the remaining dust can be removed with a body brush. A body brush gives your pony’s coat and incredible shine. Finally, you can use a mane comb to detangle the mane and tail and remove any bedding or debris. For any particularly tangled sections, work the knots out by combing from the mane’s ends and working your way up to the roots.
Just a Trim
During the winter, your pony’s coat will become thicker. Some people clip their pony’s hair to prevent the animal from sweating excessively during exercise and enabling it to cool off more effectively. Clipping is advisable for ponies that are stabled during the winter and not for ones that are left outside as they need the extra hair to protect them from the cold. If a clipped horse has to be outside during the winter, they must wear a blanket.
There are several traditional clips for horses and ponies such as Full, Hunter, Blanket, Chaser, and Bib clips. Some people will design their own coat clip patterns to make their pony stand out from the crowd.