Preparing an Older Horse for Winter

While there are several steps you must take to ensure your horses are ready for winter, your senior horses in particular should be a focus. Depending on the horse, your horse may be considered senior anywhere from 15-20 years old. Whether you’ve noticed your horse has been slowing down, has been getting sick more often, or has even had trouble keeping a certain weight, these are all signs your horse is getting older. Make sure you keep the following in mind before and during the winter season in regards to these horses.

One of the most important things to remember is that your horses won’t get the most out of their meals if they don’t have healthy teeth that allow them to properly chew. While most horses should have their teeth checked at least once a year, you may need to give your older horses two dental exams. This is especially important heading into the winter when your horses need to be as healthy as possible, which can’t happen without enough food.

In addition to receiving the proper nutrients, you also need to ensure your senior horses are as warm as possible. As a horse gets older, it has a more difficult time regulating body temperature, which means you need to step in and find ways to keep it warm. Providing your horse with warm blankets is an easy solution, just remember that they occasionally need to be removed.

Overall, one of the best things you can do before winter is to give your horse an overall physical exam. If possible, bring in a veterinarian to help you evaluate your horse’s body condition, and check its weight over the course of several weeks or months to see if it is consistent. By following these tips you can rest easy knowing all of your horses are healthy throughout the winter, including the oldest ones in the group.