Winters can be hard for just about anyone. Special preparations need to be taken care of before its arrival, so one can easily continue with their daily life through the cold weather.
But while it’s easier for human beings to fight their way through the cold, it might not be as easy for your horses. Senior horses, especially, need a lot of help from you when winter is coming.
What Age Does a Horse Become a Senior?
There is no particular age that defines a horse as a senior, because different horses start showing signs of slowing down at different ages. Hence, the term senior is given to horses based on their psychological age. While there are many effects that age has on them, senior horses normally have trouble maintaining their weight, their immune responses decrease, and they encounter stiffness of the muscles.
If you have a senior horse under your care, you should prepare it before winter comes. Even if it has made its way through previous winters, it still needs your help.
Here are some ways to help you make sure your horse is getting the assistance it needs this winter.
Keep an Eye on their Physical Condition
The first thing to do is to make sure that your horse has a healthy body weight before winter starts. Senior horses should be subjected to two physical exams each year, according to most veterinarians. So during the fall checkup, make sure it is healthy and also learn a few things about checking your horse’s body condition so you can keep an eye on it during winter.
Ensure Good Dental Hygiene
While it is important to keep getting your horse’s teeth checked throughout the year, it becomes crucial during winters. The reason is that a horse cannot chew its food properly with teeth in poor condition. Ensuring that their teeth are healthy will lead to better utilization of nutrients in their body.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Many people underestimate the advantages of a blanket. It is thought that horses don’t need them during winter because they can regulate their body temperatures, which is true in the case of younger horses. Senior horses, however, have trouble with this, so using a blanket to provide warmth and added protection from the elements can go a long way into making sure that they stay healthy and happy this winter.
Keep the Horse Moving
If your senior horse is still ridden, then make sure you keep riding it regularly to keep it in shape. This is important because it’s harder to recondition senior horses after giving them time off for a whole season. If you don’t ride your horse anymore, then walking the horse around for a set period of time each day will help in regulating body temperature as well as to fight against muscular stiffness.
Winter can be a very tough time for senior horses, and they need as much help from you as possible. As winter is coming nearer and nearer every day, be sure that your horse is prepared to fight off the cold, and that you are mentally ready as well to care a little bit more for them.
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