As much as I want to believe that the days aren’t getting shorter and the first few night rides under the arena lights (complete with epic spooks at [every] jump standards’ shadows) aren’t just a few weeks away, I’m finally resigned to the fact that summer is over. Fall is here in full force, so it’s time for meÑand every other horse ownerÑto start preparing for winter.

Over the years I’ve prepared many a senior horse for the deep freeze, so I’ve got my routine down pat. Here’s what’s on my fall to-do list when I’m getting senior horses, like Dorado, ready for winter:

What’s my favorite fall fundamental? Enjoying some great rides before the temperatures drop.

Photo: Erica Larson

  • I always like to make sure Dorado’s teethÑand all my senior horses’ teeth, for that matterÑare in good shape going into the winter. Dorado is a notoriously hard keeper in the winter and, even though he’s in better physical shape and at a better weight than he has been in several years, I don’t want dental problems to prevent him from maintaining his weight. This year I’m ahead of the game: Dorado got his teeth done in September and our veterinarian says he’s got no signs of dental disease. But if your senior has had some changes in dentition over the year, now might be a good time to chat with your ve