Any tips for transitioning a pony from full board/grain/hay round bales to 20 acres of pasture? He was on pasture board before I bought him (12 years ago!) and had been well kept, quite happily in a pasture for years. Since I have owned him I have full boarded him but this month I have to make the transition. I will be going out there at least 3 days a week to ride him, take lessons, and groom him still. The pasture is very well kept so I am not concerned about that really, I am just not used to this. They don't blanket the horses in the pasture, which he has plenty of hair and I live in FL, but will he be ok? They have one other horse in the pasture that is healthy and chunky and they don't feed it anything. My pony is the kind that does tend to get fat on air so they recommended trying to take him off his grain, see how that works, and then if he does lose weight we can adjust that. I am going to work on weaning him back off what little grain he gets now just so it won't be a shock.
Should I be concerned about him not getting enough vitamins or minerals like that? What if I put a little bucket of loose minerals by the water trough? Should I put a rainsheet on him if there is rain, or just let him be? Any tips for transitioning would be helpful! I feel like I am evicting my horse from his home, but I keep telling myself he would probably actually much prefer to roam free on 20 acres of grass any day.
Oh, I am not tossing him onto the grass by any means! The pasture is attached to the same pasture he already gets turned out in for 10 hours a day right next door. Do you think I should also turn out in a grazing muzzle?
I wouldn't be too worried if he is already used to grazing for long periods. Most do just fine off grain. You can always give him some of your own grain after rides as a treat.
I have one horse who is a particularly hard keeper. Believe it or not, but he holds weight better on pasture board than indoor. He just simply eats better, and as his herd leader he feels more comfortable when he is out with them. Hes a thoroughbred and gets cold in the winter, so I have to blanket him appropriately, but he is happy and that's all that matters. I bet your pony will be just fine, and happy to boot
If it rains, he will get wet. But that's OK, he will dry out and he will not shrink. If your area gets a large rainfall regularly and is normally damp, keep an eye out for skin fungus problems.
IMO, at pasture is the healthiest way to keep horses. Lower chance of colic problems, lots of exercise running around. Social contact with others keeps them sane. Locking them in boxes doesn't do many of them any favours, though it has to be done at times for human convienience.
Pasture grazing and a trace mineral salt block is normally all a horse or pony needs, especially a pony at light work.
I am going to start letting him out in that pasture for a few extra hours starting this week until he gets to spend the night and stay eventually. I am also going to buy a mineral block if they don't already have one in the pasture. I appreciate it!