Advice Please.... just purchased two shetlands!

Frances144

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Dec 21, 2011
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My fat lot. They live out 24/7 in Shetland. Shelter from the old buildings and low walls. Nothing else. No extra food, no extra anything. They are fat - they shiver it off. That is what winter is for.

Worried? No. Only if I feel ribs. We have no ribs.
 

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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Be careful grooming too much, you don't want to strip the oils out of their coats as that's their waterproofing, depends what brushes you're using though.

Mine get very little feed, half a coffee cup of fibre nuts, a pinch of chaff and a little linseed. They have adlib hay 24/7 and very limited access to grass. Tbh they only get a bucket at all because my mare gets one for meds and supps, they don't need bucket feed. I'm pleased with Hanks weight just now, I can feel his ribs. Dan however has a way to go after all his escaping on to the grass this autumn, I still have to dig for his ribs :rolleyes:
 

Mary Poppins

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You are right. The coat clip was a ridiculous thought process and ive put that to bed. I am overthinking things and ive over complicated the matter by bringing them in each night. They dont need to be in, they have a fabulous paddock, lots of shelter and a super swanky new field shelter with integrated water and a Bark-chip floor so i realise i'm being one of those idiots who humanises their ponies! I think (my gut feeling) the bad behaviour is as a result of being stabled overnight. So last night i left them out. But i still showed up at the same time, brought them up to the yard and groomed and fed them. Darcy still did her usual pushing and barging at me, but she eventually played ball albeit she wasn't happy about it. I from daily, but i'm wondering if this is too much, they're not used to that much?! So perhaps every other day is better.

I think they're getting enough to eat. When i get there in the morning I give them a scoop of pegasus conditioning mix, with a handful of honey chop chaff and a bit of cider vinegar for their breakfast (as per the instruction of the stud farm they came from - and i wanted to keep them on what they were used to), they scoff it whilst i poo pick and then i try grooming and that's when darcy starts with all the pushing and shoving. Today the farrier came and trimmed their hooves and he said they look in great shape, hooves are all good. He said if anything i'm feeding a little too much and i should be careful of the big L..

In a day they get their paddock grass (which is pretty low now), their breakfast is as above, and they get a big hay net in the morning in the paddock and a hay net in the evening.
To me that sounds like a lot of food to give them. Have you condition scored them? Do they actually need this feed?

I agree with the advice to not clip them - unless they are hugely overweight in which case I would clip them to try and get the weight off.

I would also handle on a daily basis and get them used to routine. I think that if horses know they are coming in for a feed, they may well become bargy. I would question if you really need to feed them?
 

Frances144

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Mine get absolutely no feed any time of the year. They are fat ornaments.

They are allowed to get fat in summer so they can get think in winter. This is how nature works up here in Shetland.

If you are on good grass, then I would not feed, I would restrict.

if you are on mud in winter, I would only feed hay unless they are very very thin or old.
 

NicNac2018

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Thank you ladies. They are certainly not old, frail, or thin. I m only doing the bucket feed because its what they've had daily on the stud farm and they're used to it. Theres no grass left in their paddock now, so i automatically switched to the hay nets, one in the day one in the evening, but perhaps i should just do one at night and the small bucketed... i mean it is a very small portion... in the morning. I am fast learning that shetlands are extremely hardy.

ps.. ALL the bad behaviour has stopped now that they're both out 24/7!!!!
 

Jessey

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Thank you ladies. They are certainly not old, frail, or thin. I m only doing the bucket feed because its what they've had daily on the stud farm and they're used to it. Theres no grass left in their paddock now, so i automatically switched to the hay nets, one in the day one in the evening, but perhaps i should just do one at night and the small bucketed... i mean it is a very small portion... in the morning. I am fast learning that shetlands are extremely hardy.

ps.. ALL the bad behaviour has stopped now that they're both out 24/7!!!!
You might be surprised at how much grass they are getting, mine was still growing last week, apparently fields around here are still producing 3kg per acre per day! you might just not see the growth as they are eating it all as soon as it sprouts :) I would always choose to feed hay before a bucket, a scoop doesn't sound like a small portion but I guess that depends on the size of the scoop :) If you really want to feed something from a bucket, an unmollassed chaff is a good option, I buy freeze dried grass and even at a handful a day (more than mine get now) it lasts 6 months a bag :)
 
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Just wanted to ad re Shetland’s reputation. I did an intro dressage class before Christmas and won the senior section on 69%, the junior section was won by a child on a standard Shetland with a whopping 72%! It was nice to see one being ridden properly and going beautifully.
 

sillygirlfun

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Jun 6, 2019
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Thank you! Yes I’m concerned about the feeding.... the stud farm tell me they’re out on grass all year round and they don’t use additional haylage or anything. So perhaps I’ll mow the paddock (had visiting sheep on it over the summer)so that the grass is very limited and just give them 1/3 of an acre. Perhaps bringing them in for a few hours in the day or overnight is better....?
I’m a little nervous of them both ganging up on me but I’m excited to explore their personalities and see what they like and what they don’t in terms of lead rein walking, lunging, schooling etc... we are very easygoing, so as long as everyone keeps breathing we can make it all work xx

Eating grass in the pasture in the early morning has less sugar in it and that is when I read it was best for them to eat it. The grazing muzzle assures that they are not eating too much. Your vet should be able to give you the right way to go as far as their diet. They are absolutely beautiful.