How to Exercise a Fat Pony to Help Weight Loss

Riding a horse or pony that is overweight can be a challenging and frustrating experience. Not having suitable equipment only further complicates the problems. Read on to get some ideas on how to make the best of this situation.


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    Obviously, if it can be avoided at all, do not ride with equipment that is ill-fitting. Try to use a wide-tree saddle if needed. Sometimes, it's better to ride bareback if your tack doesn't fit right. Try asking someone who would know what well fitting tack should look like on a horse.
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    It is best to obtain better fitted tack before attempting to ride. Otherwise, your animal will never be able to put forth their all, and keeping them happy is pretty much impossible.
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    Start out with slow, short workouts. The horse or pony will probably be in shock the first couple of times you ride it, and will give you repeated "You want me to do WHAT?!?!?" looks. Keeping the first workouts slow and short is vital to keeping the animal happy.
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    It is usually best to keep the sessions to around 30 minutes or so in the beginning. Start out with lots of walking, and no more than 10 minutes of trotting. This helps give the animal time to adjust to the idea of work, and will also begin to start building muscle and working off the flab. The first week or two your pony might not be all that happy (depending on how "out of shape" they are and their attitude.
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    After the first two weeks or so, you can start to slowly increase both the workout's length and the time spent trotting. It's advisable to not try cantering for more than a few minutes at this point.
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    After a month to two months, the pony should be a little bit slimmer. This will do wonders for improving his mood, since the work will be less difficult for him now that he's in better shape.


  • Again, well-fitted tack goes a long ways towards making your pony happy. A saddle that pinches or has a too-small tree could make for an extremely unhappy horse!
  • If your saddle used to fit before your pony fattened up, and your pony is reasonably well behaved, try riding bareback.
  • Try turning your pony out in a dry lot (pen with no grass) for a few hours each day if you keep them stalled. If not, just make sure they don't eat too much grass (with the new workout, they might try to make up for it) because it can cause them to founder
  • Just remember to start out slow and short. It might be boring at first, but it will pay off in the long run.
  • If the pony is obese, also try decreasing his feed. As well, consider grain vs. hay; unless he's working really hard, grain will just make him fatter.
  • Also try lunging, ground driving, or ponying from another horse. But only try these if you know how or have someone experienced to teach you.
  • Keeping a fat pony happy when you are rising takes a lot of patience. The animal may be lazy in the beginning, and will probably need lots of encouragement to keep moving. Do your best to never lose your temper, as this will exacerbate the situation.
  • Limit them to a few treats, because if they have no treats, they might struggle to be happy and healthy.


  • Do not push the pony too hard to lose weight or it will be unhealthy for the pony.
  • Riding is a dangerous activity, and should not be attempted unless you have previous experience or are being supervised.

Things You'll Need

  • A pony or horse
  • Well-fitted tack
  • Time and patience

Article Info

Categories: Riding