Do you have a horse that’s enjoying its golden years? When it comes to winter, aging horses are much like humans. They struggle with the challenges of the cold and can’t handle winter as well as they used to during their younger days. It’s important to remember this as you plan your winter horse care in Montana.
The main winter challenges for horses over 20 are staying warm, getting enough movement and maintaining their weight. Use the following tips to help your aging horse stay healthy this winter.
Horses use feed to stay warm. The digestion process generates body heat, and the calories that are stored create fat which insulates the horse. It’s important to remember that older horses don’t digest food as efficiently as younger horses, so they need extra feed supplies to maintain a healthy weight. If they aren’t able to keep their weight up, they are more likely to get sick.
With this in mind, you should feed your aging horse an abundance of hay during the winter to keep him warm. Increase the normal amount you provide. The best setup is around-the-clock hay availability. For horses who can no longer chew properly, provide chopped hay. Keep a close eye on your aging horse’s weight throughout the season to ensure she is getting enough calories and maintaining her weight. Add fat calories to her diet if necessary (not sugars).
It’s harder for aging horses to stay warm in the winter, so blanketing is important. Make sure you have plenty of blankets among your equine supplies in Montana. A good rule of thumb is to blanket any horse who is older than 20 years if the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember, horses shiver when they’re cold, and an older horse can quickly burn away essential calories and fat by shivering. This can lead to increased cold and eventual illness.
As you blanket your horse, ensure the blanket is a good fit. Straps that are too long can tangle an older horse in a mess that he is too weak to tear himself out of. It can also be helpful to have blankets of different weights on hand to provide comfort at a variety of temperatures.
If you need to blanket your horse regularly, be sure to also remove the blanket regularly. Weight loss, pressure sores and skin infections can go undetected if the blanket is not removed each day for a thorough inspection of your horse.
Winter terrain can be extremely challenging for aging horses. For the best horse care in Montana, keep older horses on land with good traction. Avoid snow and ice. Frozen mud can also be treacherous. If your horse has arthritis or other aging conditions, it is especially important to keep her limited mobility in mind during the winter season.
Prep for Winter
Do you need equine supplies in Montana to prepare for the winter season? Stock up on everything you and your horse need at Down Home Tack & Feed LLC. We carry a large variety of feed to keep your aging horse well fed this winter. Visit us or contact our team today!
Categorised in: Horse Equipment