Pete is around 29 years old now. I say around because we have no actual birth date on him, but a vet looked at him two years ago and proclaimed him 27. Since most horses have a spring birthday I just figure when Gem turns a year older every May so does Pete.
He looks amazing for his age. He is still full of spunk, his coat shines like a mirror and he never misses a meal. His teeth are in pretty good shape and he is still able to forage for grass, eat regular hay and a pelleted feed without fuss. In fact, if anything he remains a bit chubby but I’ll take it.
I start to worry about him though this time of year. While most people worry about getting their senior horses through a winter season, I become a hyper-aware nervous wreck come summer.
Pete is a big horse and he gets hot easily. Every fall I see him breathe a sigh of relief and relax as the cooler temperatures start to arrive and the humidity leaves. Right now though it is the beginning of 3-4 months of heat and high humidity and the poor old man looks exhausted and worried most of the time.
I’m not really sure what all to do for him either. I don’t use fly masks or blankets on him as they just trap more heat in and so he gets sprayed with fly spray instead. He has access to fresh water, a mineral block and the pond right now is flooded up into the back corner of the lower pasture. I’ve caught him in the water belly deep or rolling in the wet mud along the bank on several occasions. When he comes in at night, if he is sweaty and looks uncomfortable he gets a nice cold shower until the water runs cold off his body. He always appreciates that.
A lot of people around here will keep horses in during the heat of the day, but our barn isn’t really good for that. There are no windows for a breeze and the aisle is set facing the wrong direction for the wind as the breeze comes at it from the side and is blocked. Perfect planing to keep it warm in the winter, but it is an oven in there in the summer. Even with fans blowing, it is still way hotter in the barn and he looks even more miserable than if he was outside under the shade trees with a breeze.
His weight is maintaining, he is walking fine and drinking well so I will continue to do the above and keep him as comfortable as possible and wait for fall to come around and bring with it the relief of cooler temperatures. I like that he has a big pasture with lots of shade and water access to roam and keep his joints moving and two friends who don’t pick on him, He seems generally happy with life at the moment and I hope to keep Old Man Winter around for a long time yet.