How Long Do Horses Live? – 4 Must Know Factors

The United States alone has over seven million domesticated horses, making them one of the most popular domesticated animals in the continental US. But, this isn’t a recent phenomenon.

Researchers at Oklahoma State University believe that people first started raising horses for milk and meat.

However, humans quickly became fond of horses and started keeping them around for several other reasons: companionship, transport, sport, etc. 

In this blog post, we will go over everything you need to know about the lifespan of a horse.

A Quick Look: How Long Do Horses Live?

According to the statistics, the average life expectancy of a horse is 25 to 30 years. However, thanks to the advancement in veterinary medicine, many horses live well over the age of 30.

Ponies and smaller horses like the Arabians tend to live longer. On the other hand, larger breeds like the draft breeds have shorter lifespans in comparison.

Let’s Take a Look at Some Factors that Affect Horse Life Expectancy

Your horse’s life expectancy depends on several factors. While you may not be able to control all of these, you will still be able to influence some of them to ensure your horse lives a long and healthy life.

Would you care to take a look?

Food and Nutrition: What Goes in the Belly

A high-quality diet can help ensure that your horse remains healthy and disease-free. Horses should only be eating fresh grass or hay. You should ensure that the food is free from insecticide, pesticides, dust and mould.

In addition to that, you should make sure your horse has small meals throughout the day, instead of one or two big meals–this will help your stallion safe from diseases.

Another thing to note is that you should never leave your horse without access to water and food.

You’ve Got to Do the Work: Proper Medical Care and Treatment

Don’t slack off when it comes to your horse’s veterinary visits.

It can be hard work, but it is vital to keep up with your horse’s veterinary appointments and make sure that he’s gotten all the important vaccines.

Regular veterinary check-ups can help uncover diseases during their initial stages when they’re still manageable with medication.

Why take a risk when it comes to your horses’ health?

In addition to that, also make sure that you get the following vaccines for your pet:

  •  Botulism
  •  Influenza
  •  Rabies
  •  Rotavirus
  •  Tetanus
  •  West Nile virus
  • Encephalomyelitis
  • Equine herpesvirus 1 and 4
  • Equine viral arteritis
  • Potomac horse fever
  • Strangles

These vaccines protect your horse against life-threatening diseases to ensure he lives a long and healthy life.

It’s in the Genes: Breed and Workload

Of course, like with us all, genes have a large role to play in determining the lifespan of a horse.

Did you know that there are over 300 breeds of horses on Earth?

Horses come in various colors, shapes, and sizes–just like dogs. The average rule of thumb is that the bigger the breed, the shorter the lifespan.

Some breeds easily live over the age of 35, while others may have a maximum lifespan of 15 years.

So, it is best to do your research before you get a horse.

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

The amount of workload your horse handles also plays a major role in determining its lifespan.

For example, racehorses are thoroughbreds that work risky and intense jobs where they may even get seriously injured. This means that they experience a lot of stress and may have a shorter lifespan.

On the other hand, horses that don’t get enough exercise are at risk of getting obese and developing heart issues, diabetes, etc., which can also reduce their lifespan.

So, what’s the way out?

Moderate workload and exercise, along with a lot of rest to rejuvenate, helps make sure your horse is healthy.

Your Cheat-Sheet: How Old Do Horses Live to Be?

Let’s take a glance at the average life spans of the most popular horse breeds.

Horse BreedAverage Life Expectancy
Appaloosa      25 – 33 years
Arabian          25 – 35 years
Clydesdale     25 – 30 years
Miniature Horse         25 – 35 years
Quarter Horse25 – 35 years
Shire   25 – 30 years
Thoroughbred25 – 28 years

The Lifespan of a Horse: Here’s How to Ensure a Longer Lifespan

  • Assign proper rest time: Horses are hardworking animals that may keep on working until they collapse, which is why it is crucial to ensure your horse is getting the rest it needs.
  • Daily exercise: Daily exercise helps improve the horse’s musculoskeletal health by keeping conditions such as lameness and arthritis at bay.
  • Hoof care: Since your horse’s hoofs carry all the weight, it is important to make sure they’re cared for.
  • Proper food: Your vet will be able to guide you about your horse’s nutritional requirements. Healthy and balanced meals ensure your horse is getting all the nutrients he needs from his food.

Life Expectancy of Wild vs Domesticated Horse

As you might have already assumed, wild horses have a shorter lifespan than domesticated ones since they don’t receive the proper care they need and aren’t vaccinated against potentially deadly diseases.

The average lifespan of a wild horse is 14-16 years, while that of a domesticated one is 25 to 30 years. This goes to show how important factors like medicine, veterinary care, food, and lifestyle are.

Rounding It Up: Horse Life Expectancy

On average, horses can live up to be 25-30 years old.

Fun fact: Did you know that the oldest living horse, Old Billy lived up to the ripe old age of 62?

Let’s take a look at how you can tell a horse’s age:

  • The most reliable way to tell a horse’s age is through registration, breeding, and other veterinary documents.
  • A horse’s teeth can help determine its age. You’ll be able to start noticing brownish markings on the horse’s gum line around the age of ten years. These markings, known as Galvayne’s Groove incrementally increases in size as the horse grows older. It reaches the middle of the teeth by age 15 and all the way down by 20.

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