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Question:

Should I rug a New Forest pony?

I'm buying a New Forest on Thursday and have done some research but just want to see what your opinions are? Lady has a very thick coat on at the moment and for the time being, while I gradually get her back into work I won't clip her. Will she be ok in and out without a rug? What would you do in this situation? If and when I do clip her, what rug do you recommend? Just turn out or stable too and if so what thickness? Thanks in advance.

Answer:

Keep her the way she's been kept. With a thick coat she's likely been on her own, which is perfectly good for a nice, woolly native pony. All our ponies are quite happy under what they've grown for themselves. Try to provide run-in shelter or at least a wall, so that if she's out in driving sleet she'll have a bit of protection. It's amazing, though, how much ice and snow will pile up atop the pony, not melting at all, showing the excellent insulating power of a winter coat. Come spring, of course, you'll be covered with loose pony fur as she sheds. It will get in your nose, your mouth, your gloves, your knickers, and your soup. If you decide to clip next fall, then it'll be a whole different situation. But for goodness sake, don't clip now!
Aug 23, 2017
Depends on how cold it gets if it turns icy or snowy i would recommend it
Aug 23, 2017
I think you should buy new forest it will be better.
Aug 23, 2017
If she hasn't been rugged this winter I would definitely not rug her - you'll only flatten her coat and take away her ability to regulate her own temperature. Native ponies are very good at looking after themselves naked, but if she has been rugged over the last few months her coat will not be as good as it could be, it will be lacking in some oils to keep her waterproof and it won't be able to fluff up properly. It takes a whole coat cycle (ie a year) for a pony's coat to recover from being rugged unnecessarily - not a lot of people know that! - and in the meantime she'd be cold without a rug. Most of my ponies live out naked and they'll start to come back into work in the next couple of months. You have to take it slowly and not let them get sweaty, which is not easy with a pony with a full coat, but you just need to keep to walk and don't be tempted to speed things along by trotting. I wouldn't clip after the new year, the spring coat never comes in nicely if you clip too late.
Aug 23, 2017
Keep her the way she is for now until you start to do more than gentle hacking. But ask the previous owners about how much work she's been doing and whether they have clipped her in the past. I kept a NF unclipped throughout her life and always let her coat get reasonably thick before rugging her up for the rest of the winter. However, she was only ever in light work and did not sweat much. Cold is rarely a problem, only rain AND cold will bother her, so she will not need a very thick rug. I would say 9 or 12 rating is more than enough. I'm jealous - you're going to have SO MUCH FUN! :D
Aug 23, 2017

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