Cold and Rainy: Caring for Retired Horses

Am I right in saying that retired horses rule the roost?

They have often won our loyalty with years of faithful companionship. My retired off-the-track-thoroughbred-turned-Pony-Club-championship-novice-level-eventing horse owns my heart and I will forever love him.

A handsome gentleman

A handsome gentleman

Remember the song “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”? That’s my mare and my gelding. Both precious in my eyes: new friends and old.

My OTTB is home on my parents’ farm with his buddy Pete. I’m lucky to be visiting, even just for a few days. In large part, these two get to do what they want when they want. They are quite happily spoiled.

Even in sunny Florida, it’s important to take special care of these more seasoned horses in the winter. Today was quite rainy and the temperature is slated to drop to 41 tonight.

They tend to stay out of the rain, preferring to buddy up under the barn awning like this:

Morning showers

Morning showers

And we very rarely close their stall doors. But when I fed them this morning, I placed grain, carrots, and hay in the stalls in hopes it would entice the geldings to stay dry.

The bribe: stay inside for hay!

The bribe: stay inside for hay!

It worked. We blanketed them at dinner before the cold set in. Warm, dry, well-fed, and in good company. All taken care of for the night, the way dear friends should be.

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9 thoughts on “Cold and Rainy: Caring for Retired Horses

  1. Nice equines…

    For folks who live live up north when the temperatures stay generally steady and cool-cold, most horses develop a nice coat and keep it. In southern climes where we have a change of seasons, there can be wide temperature swings during the winter months, sometimes dipping into the 20’s like predicted for tonight, and by next mid morning and afternoon it might go up into the mid 70’s; as a result, horses don’t acclimate to winter weather and it becomes tricky as to when to blanket.

    As a general rule, most of the time we blanket (especially older buddies) when the temperatures are expected to dip below 40 Farenheit; there are no studies to sort this out; some of our friends don’t blanket untill below 30F; others don’t blanket their horses at all…!

    Things get trickier when we have a nice rainstorm, and it is late in the day and in the 60’s, expected to go to freezing by night-that becomes a nightmare because in that case blanketing a wet horse is a bad idea. Soo….watch the weather report; if rain is expected before big drop to freezing, put rain sheets or stall them till the rain stops. I guess for lack of a better word…I’m STALLING! 🙂

    • Sounds like your horses are lucky to have you! They are well cared for, indeed. Up in the mid-Atlantic, the horses are in during the night and any rain or snow. They have mid-weight blankets on almost all winter, and during the polar vortex, they had blankets topped with sheets and stayed in the barn day and night until it passed. I can’t say it is my favorite climate, but it could be worse!

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