We should look at ponies from all possible sides: right, left, back and front sides, when we are assessing their physical conditions. Such an accurate assessment should give us proper starting point. We will know whether the pony is well muscles or whether it has a crest to its neck. It is also important to keep in mind about the breed of the pony. This will determine how we use the pony and whether its general structure will support our requirements. Many ponies are used only as backyard pets, but we can also ride some breeds better. We should see whether its hip is lean, round or strong. Like people, riding ponies should be reasonably lean without too much excess fat.
If its ribs are visible, it is possible that the pony is a bit too thin. In general, we should make sure that the pony is in good condition and well muscled. Pastured ponies won’t get too much exercises, so they may appear thinner, because their hips aren’t well muscled. It is important to note that we should look at our ponies as a whole. By seeing the whole picture, we could look for areas of the body that tend to be fleshy, thin and muscled.
We could start by beginning our physical assessments at the head and then work our way to the back. We should feel and look at each area. Proper assessments should be made on the rump, tailhead, ribs, back, shoulders, wither and neck of the pony.
There are eight grades of ponies based on the physical conditions:
Emaciated ponies have visible bone structure and no fat layer. Ribs are easily seen and we can feel space between two ribs. Shoulders are usually angular and sharp.
Ponies with this condition have slight fat layer, although the bone layer is still visible. Ribs only have very thin fat later.
Thin ponies should begin to have visible musculature on the neck, although they are still thinner than normal horses,
These ponies now have fuller neck and smoother fat deposit throughout the body. Bone structure is less visible and ribs only have faint outlines.
These are ideal ponies that we should have. Neck should blend smoothly into their. We no longer be able to see ribs easily and there’s enough fat layer around bones.
Fleshy ponies may have a crest along its top and the shoulder has a thick layer of fat that we can easily see. Although the ribs are no longer visible, we could still feel them.
Fleshy ponies have thickened crest and very smooth neck. The back has very discernible crest and there is reasonably thick fat layer between ribs.
Muscles are no longer seen on overweight ponies and their crest may already blend with the neck. The tailhead has very soft fat later and the inner thighs already rub together.