How Can I Help My Pony Regain His Vibrant Sheen?

Our older pony has taken a long time to shed her winter coat. It has lost the vibrant sheen it once had. How can I help? – Shawn F., Greenwood, SC

First, make sure your pony is healthy by having your veterinarian perform a complete physical exam on her. Cushing’s Disease is a common problem in older horses and ponies, and can result in long, curly hair as well as other symptoms. Next, discuss your pony’s nutrition with your veterinarian. Dental issues, parasites and simple old age can all affect how well she can chew her food as well as digest and absorb it. Now may be a good time to gradually switch her over to a senior diet. Finally, senior equines can benefit from a few carefully selected supplements such as digestive support, antioxidants like Vitamin E and Vitamin C, and support for aging joints. But there’s nothing like Omega 3 Fatty Acids for a shiny coat!

[Ed. note: Originally printed in the May 2010 issue of Salt Block Gazette]

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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