This winter has been a wild one for some areas of the country. A few weeks ago, I watched The Weather Channel for hours on end to see how my family residing in Massachusetts were faring throughout Winter Storm Nemo. Currently, another nasty winter storm is blasting parts of the Midwest. Here in Kentucky, we've been pretty darn lucky this winter. We've had some very (very!) cold days and a few snowy ones, but we've avoided paralyzing ice and snow storms so far.

Dorado has weathered this winter in fine fashion, although I know he's eagerly awaiting spring and some warmer temperatures!

Photo: Erica Larson

In early February, I visited the barn like I usually do after work. It was too cold to ride, so I decided to give Dorado a (really) good scrubbing from head to toe. He's something of a mud bath aficionado and somehow even manages to get filthy in the dead of winter--a skill he's perfected recently in his 17 years on this earth.

I went about my work, chatting with barn friends and glancing over every inch of Dorado as I removed the mud from his coat. As I was about to replace his blanket, I stepped back to admire my work (knowing full well he'd be covered in mud again the next time I saw him). Much to my delight (and somewhat to my surprise), I saw a horse in very good body condition that didn't need to gain weight.

As I've mentioned before, Dorado and winter don't mix well. Not only is he just miserable in the bitter cold, each year has been a struggle to keep his weight up, regardless of his feed regimen. Each spring, my first goal has been to put weight on and then start rigorous preparations for the show season.

But this year, I'm very proud to say that Dorado has weathered winter exceptionally well. The feeding program I tried for this winter--a combination of extra forage, beet pulp, and a commercial concentrate--was very successful in maintaining his weight. Dorado is still in great body condition and he's been able to stay in light work throughout the winter. I'm looking forward to--for the first time--starting spring without needing to spend extra time helping Dorado gain additional weight. Can horses get heartier in older age? This one seems to be!

So for once, Dorado and I have successfully "beaten" winter. I'm excited to hear how your older horses are faring this winter! I'd love to hear how your seniors are doing, so please share your experience below!