What is best to feed shetland ponies?

momma_raven

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Hello,

I am a new shetland pony owner and have two mares.

One just foaled last Friday and one is going to foal within the next few months.

The person I bought them from was feeding them 10% sweet feed and minerals.

Is there anything else I need to feed them or something better?

Also what amount should I be feeding them?

The seller told me 2 cups of feed per day?

They have a salt block and hay and new grass growing in their paddock.
 

mydakota

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Definitely not sweet feed. Sweet Feed is really not good feed for any equine. Too many sugars. Most Shetlands do fine on straight grass hay. Have your hay tested, see what (if any) minerals it is lacking, and supplement for those. Many areas (mine included) are selenium deficient and it must be supplemented. Selenium is not easily absorbed without adequate vitamin E, so many selenium supplements also have added E.

Shetlands are notoriously known for obesity/laminitis issues. Most of them require no grain at all, and will stay nice and fat on straight grass or grass hay. If they have any history of metabolic issues, you will need to watch that they don't get too much green grass as that can trigger laminitis in horses that are prone to it.

There are many complete pelleted feeds on the market. I would far rather feed one of those than Sweet Feed. Since your girls are either pregnant or lactating you might feel compelled to feed more than grass/hay, but they probably don't need much in the way of concentrates. (this assumes the hay is good quality) If they were mine, I would feed grass/ grass hay, supplement for whatever minerals the hay in the area lacks, and watch their condition. If their body or coat says they need more, then go from there. With ponies of all breeds, you stand to do more harm by feeding too hot than from feeding just grass.
 

mydakota

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Just a note--many people on this forum also have goats. The horses should never be fed goat mineral. The formulation is entirely wrong and can be harmful. ( Also be very sure that they never have any access to any feed that contains rumensin or monensin. (this is sometimes in feed formulated for ruminants). It only takes a small amount of this to cause severe heart damage in some equines. You may know that already. Just thought I would throw that out there.
 

patandchickens

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Agree, definitely NO SWEET FEED, especially not in grass-growing season and especially not for pregnant/lactating mares who are more prone to laminitis already.

Just good hay. If you need more protein (for pregnant/lactating mares) than grass hay provides, feed part or all alfalfa, using an appropriate ration balancer to compensate for the skewed Ca:p ratio.

Shetlands are very prone to laminitis (which can have fatal consequences) especially if grained or on grass. Not to say you can't keep them at pasture but you need to read up on laminitis/founder and be very very watchful.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 

WhoaNellie

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www.safergrass.org is a great info source for feeding horses and ponies. As the names implies, it focuses on safely feeding equines that are prone to metabolic issues (like ponies), but it's a great source of information for all horse owners.
 
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