Preparing An Older Horse For The Winter
Both the Veteran Horse Society and the Veteran Horse Welfare Society class horses as veteran horses once they are over 15 years old. However, just like human beings, horses are generally getting fitter and healthier and many lead active lives well into their 20s. No matter how fit your veteran horse is, you do need to be aware that they might require extra attention and this is no more important than in winter. It is important to prepare a veteran horse for the colder months to ensure that they are in optimal health before they have to face the demands of the season. We spoke to our horse health experts to find out the things you should consider when preparing an older horse for winter.
Body Condition Scoring
A growing winter coat can hide a horse’s true condition. Make sure that they are the correct Body Condition score prior to winter, guides are available from groups such as the Animal Health Trust. It is important that you provide the right amount of forage and make sure that adequate grazing is available when possible. You should also consider whether the diet that you provide for your senior horse is suitable.
An especially important topic when it comes to caring for older horses. Poor dentition can cause pain and discomfort, weight loss and even, in some cases, colic. Dentistry problems can include sharp points and overgrowths, diastema, periodontal disease and loose teeth.
Regular Health Checks
Cold weather can affect the immune system so it is important to book your horse in for regular vet checks, vaccinations and blood tests where required. Older horses can often be immunocompromised, so keep an eye on them when the cold weather sets in.
Geriatric horses can be more susceptible to worms. It might be sensible to book in for both a faecal egg count test and a saliva tape worm test in order to identify potential problems quickly. As a preventative measure treat for tapeworms, small red worms and bots in autumn, using a wormer that is effective against parasites such as moxidectin.
Book in regular and up-to-date visits with your farrier. It can be hard to avoid damp and dirty ground in autumn and winter, even in the stable, and your horse can become more susceptible to hoof-related issues such as thrush and abscesses.
Manage Cold Weather Conditions
Winter means reduced activity and cold damp weather, meaning problems such as arthritis can become more prevalent. During the autumn, arrange suitable housing or shelter for the winter. Look to provide hard standing in gateways and around shelters and always ensure that horses have somewhere dry to rest.
www.horse-insurance.co.uk offer all of the standard horse benefits for veteran horses up to 20 years old. With 40% Intro discount and 5% Multi-horse discount also available, you could protect yourself in the event that your senior horse experiences any issues this winter. Visit www.horse-insurance.co.uk today and find out more!
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