FB Pixel

The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

13 September 2023

Last week we headed to central London to visit The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre – who have been feeding Simple System Horse Feeds to their horses and ponies for in excess of 15 years. The centre is a registered charity that prides itself on ‘being a safe space for all’ with a focus on those with special needs. Our visit began with coffee and a catch up with the Wormwood Scrubs staff, where we discussed our feeding system and learned how the team were managing the equines in their care. We then headed onto the yard to look at the feed room which we are pleased to report was fully stocked with their Simple System favourites – including Timothy Chop, HayCare and Lucie Nuts. First up we met Vectrix – a handsome Camargue horse. Feed Line advisor Ellen demonstrated how to correctly condition score, sharing her top tips – the favourite being how to use your hand as a general guide to assessing fat coverage on the ribcage. Vectrix was also weighed using a Simple System weigh tape and the results were compared with those from the weigh bridge. Some of the team also got ‘hands-on’ feeling the Vectrix’s condition – who was scored a 3.5 out of 5, a good score for the time of year given that he would naturally lose a little weight when turned out in the winter months. We also looked at several other horses - an interesting one being a lovely traditional cob mare, who was a recent arrival to the centre. We had a game of ‘guess the weight’ and it was great to see that the team were already aware that she was a little portly. Steps to managing her weight were already being made, combining exercise with the appropriate Simple System diet, along with soaked hay. There was also a discussion about why we NEVER recommend ‘starving’ an overweight horse. Horses need constant access to forage - they are nomadic trickle feeders. This means they eat for most of the time, wandering around as they do so. Within as little as an hour without food, the horse begins to feel hungry. Within 2 hours the horse starts to feel uncomfortable due to the build-up of acid and any longer than this, the risk of ulcers is greatly increased. Horses who are over-restricted very cleverly lower their metabolic rate and hold onto body fat as part of their natural survival mode, this makes weight loss trickier and increases the risk of Cushing’s, EMS and subsequently laminitis. Following our condition checks we had a Q&A session with the team with some great questions relating to nutrition and general management. We were also able to meet the horses, ponies and donkeys out in their paddocks. It was a pleasure to see happy horses with access to turn-out, right in the heart of the capital. A real credit to the amazing team at The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre.

Featured News

Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?

Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.

Mud, not so glorious, mud...

Horse ownership and mud - they seem to go together in the winter don't they?

Frost and the increased risk of laminitis

Many of us have seen hard frosts this morning and snow may even be on the cards for some parts of the country later this week. This has the potential to increase the risk of laminitis.