Exmoor Ponies - conserved by conserving

Sustainable
Biodiversity

Volunteer Pony Watchers' Health CheckList
for conservation grazing livestock

Keeping Safe 1. Always ensure that appropriate outdoor footwear/clothing according to weather conditions, are worn. 2. A mobile phone may be useful. 3. Observing ponies from a distance can usually identify any health problems. 4. If it is necessary to go closer, always approach the front of the pony and speak quietly at the same time, so as not to suprise it. 5. It is preferable not to try to handle the ponies or to deal with any on site problems discovered, but to ring the contact number provided.

Check that:-

  1. The correct number of ponies is present.
  2. Water supply is working.
  3. Ponies are grazing happily or resting.
  4. Ponies are walking with an even gait, i.e. no lameness.
  5. No cuts or abrasions.
  6. General condition is good i.e. fat layer covering ribs. Coat has no unusual bare patches.
  7. A pony alert and responsive i.e. ears pricked and interested.

To facilitate the above it is helpful if the identity of individual ponies can be learned, i.e. by brand numbers or individual characteristics.

Signs of ill health and situations requiring immediate veterinary attention

An ill pony, from whatever cause, may be listlessness and dull, shivering or sweating and / or coughing, rolling, refusing food and exhibit the absence of normal healthy behaviour signs (as above). It may not be particularly interested in human attention.

Situations requiring immediate veterinary assistance.

  1. Colic. Pony repeatedly rolling sweating and grunting, swishing tail and in obvious pain. ( Not to be confused with a pony rolling to scratch his back which will only last a few minutes.)
  2. Poisoning. Pony may be dull, sometimes staggering or unwilling to move. Unresponsive to surroundings.
  3. Severe lameness , i.e. pony holding a limb or unwilling to put weight on it when asked to walk. (Not to be confused with a resting stance when a pony will rest a limb while dosing)
  4. Injury or laceration needing stitching. Small cuts can be treated with antiseptic spray as long as the pony has previously had a tetanus vaccination.

    N.B. Ponies often adopt a resting mode, which can mean they lie flat out with eyes closed, (and appear dead from a distance!) or stand with head down and rest a hind limb. This is usually a group activity and there will be more than one pony resting. A sleeping pony can usually be easily awakened by an approaching person and will yawn and stretch and get up. Exmoor ponies are particularly hardy and as a rule maintain a good state of health on conservation sites.

    Site management contact number ................................ ....................................

    Vet contact number for emergency. ............................ ....................................

    List of Names and phone numbers for other watchers .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... .................................... ....................................

    Tim Mackintosh()