There’s something special about the relationship you have with your senior horse, a partnership that’s endured years, tears, ups, and downs. You probably know your horse better than you know your best friend.

While he might seem like the same old horse, his needs might change as he ages. Even if your senior has weathered previous winters without trouble, these tips can help you ensure he’s getting the care he needs and deserves.

How Old is a Senior?

We’ve all heard the saying “you’re only as old as you feel.” Turns out it’s as true for our horses as it is for us. While some horses might be starting to slow down at 15, others are still fresh and frisky well into their 20s. No matter what your horse’s chronological age, if he’s starting to show signs of aging such as stiffness, difficulty maintaining weight, or decreased immune response, it’s time to start thinking of him as a senior.

Fortunately, senior horse care has advanced significantly in recent years. Just because your horse is getting older doesn’t mean you need to “put him out to pasture.” You can keep your golden oldie going strong with smart care and management.

Dental Care

It’s important to monitor your senior’s teeth year-round, but in winter it is especially critical. If he can’t chew properly, he’s not going to receive the full benefit of the feed you’re providing. That means wasted calories and nutrients, and a horse whose diet isn’t meeting his needs.

Nutritional Needs

Speaking of diets, now is a great time to re-evaluate your horse’s program, ideally with the help of your veterinarian or an equine nutr