According to an Australian Pony Club-based study, Norman Thelwell may have been on to something more than the creation of the world’s greatest cartoons.
In the recent Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, study, “Misbehavior in Pony Club Horses: Incidence and Risk Factors,” the owners of 84 Pony Club mounts from seven rural Australian regions kept daily nutrition, healthcare, exercise and misbehavior diaries and found,
unsurprisingly, that the “risk of misbehavior was higher in horses that were fat or obese and in those that were ridden infrequently,” while “horses exercised more than three times each week had lower odds of misbehavior.”
Perhaps more concerningly, the study found that “horses and ponies that were excessively fat were roughly three times more likely to misbehave.”
And anyone who’s attempted to remain upright on a fat, misbehavin’ pony knows, crupper or no crupper, saddles and fat ponies don’t mix.
Moral of the story: Take care of your pony, and your pony is more likely to take care of you. (After all, the foremost duty of ponies everywhere—fat or fit—is to teach us how to hang on.)