As sad as it is we must fact facts, winter will be here soon. While we worry about slick roads and layering up, we must not forget our hoofed friends; especially our older hoofed friends.
Even though they may appear to be seventeen years young; give or take, they still need extra care. Older horses are more likely to colic, founder and have hoof problems that we have to watch out for.
Make sure you have an ample supply of the best quality hay on hand. This winter there will be a hay shortage due to the recent droughts in the midwest, and you want to make sure to stoack pile as much as you can. Make sure your hay is not too green also because hay with too much green in it can cause your horse to colic. You may want to wet the hay as well to make sure your horse is getting adequate water. Sometimes in the winter a horse will not drink as much because the water cools them down. A good addition to hay would be beet pulp mash(a fave of my horses), its soft for senior teeth and is healthy as well as tasty.
You may want to try adding a mineral supplement to your horses diet as well, to make sure they are getting all the vitamins they need. Seniors don't absorb nutrients as well as younger horses so keep that in mind while planning their meals.
Also seniors do better with several small meals. Feeding seniors large meals may cause them to colic because their digestive systems work at a slower pace, smaller meals will mean they eat less allowing their bodies to digest in a healthy manner.
Lastly please make sure you check on your senior on a regular basis, or if you are unable to make sure someone you can trust will do it. The winter is hard on us all especially the older groups. Watch for hoof overgrowth or cracking, sweating, or signs of colic,. Keep in mind that colic can be helped if dealt with in a timely manner.