Rugging an older horse

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28 December 2020
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148
We’ve just bought an older pony (aged 21, perfect weight). He’ll obviously feel the cold more and be more likely to lose weight so we don’t want him shivering (unlike my fat youngster!!) so will rug him more than a younger pony and in time we’ll get to know him and how warm he is. In the meantime are there any handy rules- eg does anyone do something like deduct 5oC from the temp and rug based on that? He’s living out 24/7 Thanks
 

Annagain

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10 December 2008
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Rug the horse you have rather than what you 'think' you have to do. He won't necessarily feel the cold more just because of his age and depending on his size, 21 isn't that old anyway. My (16.3) boy is in his late 20s. Last year was his first year retired and he was naked and unclipped all winter. He thrived. In fact, we had one day of unprecedented rain fall (over a month's worth of rain in 4 hours, my village flooded for the first time in living memory) and the rugged horses all had to have dry rugs on as they were soaked though. Archie was still dry and toasty under his top layer of coat. Then in May, after a really warm April where he lost all his winter coat really well (far better than when he was clipped (blanket) and rugged) it turned very cold, wet and windy and I had to rug him - along with my 7 year old so not an age related issue.
 

milliepops

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26 July 2008
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I go based on the horses temp. Check under the elbow. Not all older horses feel the cold as a rule. It will just take you time to get to know what they need there is no hard fast rule.
this
my oldies live out. i only rug them when it's totally awful (they aren't ridden so can grow yak like coats). one gets colder than the other but only when it's wet, i would say it's marginal so i just go off how they seem day to day and just chuck a rug on if she needs it. if they get lots of forage they don't seem to be colder than any younger horses, mine have ad lib hay in the winter so stoke up their central heating whenever they want ;) Mine are mid 20s so a bit older than OPs.
 

Akkalia1

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3 October 2008
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It very much depends on the individual horse and the type of horse too.

My fjord mare is 24 and goes through the Scottish winter with a full clip (partly to help get the weight off her so she doesn't come into spring too fat and partly because she gets rather hot with her wooly mammoth coat if it's not that cold). She only wears a 50g rug when turned out through winter with the full clip and is mostly naked in the stable overnight, unless the weather is extreme. If she wasn't clipped she wouldn't need a rug at all.

So go by how the pony is feeling and coping. If it's a finer type and/or a bad doer he might well need some decent rugging, but you won't necessarily need to rug just because of his age.
 

Peglo

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1 June 2021
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My 30 year old haffie is the hardiest of all the ponies in the field including a fat (suspected) shetland x Welsh thing and a British spotted. If they are all shivering she is usually ok. But I will admit I am fairly rug happy with her as she has lost too many teeth to eat grass so she’s on mashes and I really don’t want her loosing any weight. Also don’t have a shelter in the field.
 

Sussexbythesea

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2 July 2009
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My 26 year old WB has started shivering this year if he gets wet even if it’s not that cold. He’s got a very fine coat especially in summer. Currently he wears a fly rug during the day and a lightweight over the top at night even if it’s dry. He always has a lightweight on at least if it’s raining but sometimes he needs a 100g with a neck which I was surprised at as he’s never felt the cold really. He’s otherwise fit, healthy and ridden several times a week.
 
Joined
28 December 2020
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Thanks for the replies, so helpful. I’m really glad I posted on here (had it in my head I needed to rug more). I’m pleased he’s not considered that old ☺️ I’ll check his temp and get an idea of the rugging he needs as we get to know him. Thanks again
 

Esmae

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20 February 2016
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I have 2 oldies. They come in at night in the winter anyway, however one (28 yrs) has a coat like a yak and is never rugged. She would be far too hot in one. The other (25yrs) is much finer coated and does have a rug although only a lightweight one. It does depend entirely on the horse in front of you and not on the fact that it is old etc. My younger horse does appear to feel the cold far more than the older 2. Like us, they all are individuals.
 
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