Although mother nature has provided horses with their own winter coats to protect them even in sub-zero tempeatures, appropriate use of rugs is an important part of taking care of an older horse during the winter, especially if he is suffering from arthritis, as the cold weather makes it hard to move around to generate heat.
Even a perfectly healthy older horse is going to have a harder time staying warm when it is wet and/or windy, and particularly if they are clipped.
A cold horse not only will lose weight, but he will also become stressed and weak as his body struggles to maintain its temperature. This can lead to a compromised immune system, less able to fight off illness and infection.
But don’t just shove a heavyweight rug on your horse the moment the temperature drops and leave it there until spring. Especially in the north of the country – but even in the deep south – sunny afternoon temperatures can get up around 20 degrees. Sweltering and sweating under a heavy cover is just as uncomfortable for your horse as being too cold, and it’s just