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 TheHorse.com, 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.