The existence of an innate insulin insensitivity in ponies was investigated and compared with the situation in larger breeds of horse. Ponies that were fat or had previously suffered laminitis were found to be far more intolerant to oral glucose loading (1 g/kg bodyweight [bwt]) than normal ponies or Standardbreds. These ponies also exhibited a far greater response in plasma insulin levels after glucose loading. Insulin response tests (0.4 iu/kg bwt insulin intravenously) showed only a minimal and very protracted response in both the fat and laminitic groups. The relevance of these findings in regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and their role in the pathogenesis of hyperlipaemia, are discussed.