What to feed na­tive breeds Poi­sonous plants Dry skin so­lu­tions Feed­ing to avoid ul­cers

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QI want to take on a High­land Pony. Do you have any tips for feed­ing? So­phie Green, Peter­bor­ough

AIt’s great you’re con­sid­er­ing his feed al­ready. Be­ing a na­tive breed, High­land Ponies are gen­er­ally good-do­ers, who main­tain weight and con­di­tion well, but it’s im­por­tant to con­sider your horse as an in­di­vid­ual. Fac­tors to con­sider are: What’s he cur­rently be­ing fed? How does he look in terms of his weight and con­di­tion? What work­load will you do with him? Will he be sta­bled and/or turned out? Body con­di­tion scor­ing and weigh­tap­ing are great to help you get an idea of where you’re start­ing from, as is gath­er­ing as much in­for­ma­tion as you can on his past diet. It’s also es­sen­tial to know about any clin­i­cal is­sues he may have (such as be­ing prone to lamini­tis) be­fore you de­cide on what’s best. From here, you need to en­sure his diet is bal­anced in es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and qual­ity pro­tein, with ac­cess to good qual­ity fi­bre and for­age sources. You can then ad­just how many calo­ries he needs de­pend­ing on how much ex­er­cise he does.

Na­tive breeds tend to be good-do­ers and main­tain their weight well

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