I've had my 17-year-old Connemara pony/thoroughbred since he was fourwe grew up together and have always been close. I used to have my own barn, but we lost our property and now have to board him. I moved him several months ago (along with his best friend, a 7-year-old Appaloosa), and then had to move him again a few months later so he was closer to me.
Lately he has been acting a little gloomy and not his usual self. Some days he seems depressed and a little lame, and then other days, perfectly fine. I'm wondering if he just doesn't bounce back as easily from change because he's older, or if he really is depressed. What can I do? He's just not himself, and it worries me.
Whenever someone describes a sudden change in an animal’s behavior, especially tied with lameness, I think first of physical health as opposed to behavioral issues. I strongly suggest that you have your vet conduct a full physical exam on your pony.
If he checks out okay, make a list of all the things that were a part of his life in his last environment that are not part of his life in this new barn. Is he spending more time in a stall? Are there fewer grazing opportunities? Once differences are identified, try to supplement his new environment by adding the elements he might be missing, one by one.
For example, if he had more grazing opportunities in his old home, try making artificial grazing opportunities in his new home with small hay piles, hidden treats, and changing feeding stations daily. Watch for behavior changes over time to best pinpoint what makes your pony happy.