Packing Post-Winter Pounds on Senior Horses


No account yet? Register


Occasionally I peruse equine forums on the Internet to see what horse health and care topics people are talking about. Recently, I feel like I’ve seen an influx in discussions seeking advice on how or what to feed a horse (or, more specifically, an eventer or jumper or OTTB or pony or senior horse orÉyou get the picture) that needs to either gain or lose weight, improve coat condition, needs more or less energy, or has some type of nutrition-related issue. (After all, no one asks for advice when their feeding program is working and their horse is at an ideal weight, right?) And, generally, following said question are dozens of answers from well-meaning people ranging from very suitable feeding advice, to tips I know, but might have forgotten, to suggestions that make me cringe and vow never to trust anything I read on the Internet ever again (unless it’s the veterinarian-approved content we run on, of course!).

I bring this up not because I’m encouraging you to swear off Internet horse care articles and adviceÑlet’s face it, I’d be out of a job if that happened!Ñbut because I think there are benefits to discussing horse care problems one might be having, such as feeding issues, with other owners who’ve experienced something similar. And something I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of in recent weeks is that senior horses finished winter with a little less weight than they began it with.

This has happened to Dorado. We struggled with his weight for the first couple winters we had him because, regardless of how much hay we put in front of him or how meticulously we blanketed him to keep him from expending calories trying to stay warm, he just wasn’t maintaining his weight through the colder months.

The past two winters, I’ve been able to help Dorado maintain the vast majority of his weight (it only took three years to figure out, but at least we made progress!). Last spring, I decided to consult a friend experienced in helping horses maintain body condition and ultimately learned the value of getting advice, be it from a friend, an equine nutritionist, or a veterinarian

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What lameness issues has your horse experienced? Select all that apply.
107 votes · 207 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!