How Long Do Horses Live? Unveil The Truth Here!

With the dates of equestrian events at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris out, the lovers of the game cannot seem to keep calm. Apart from the barrage of queries that have been put forth on the internet, there’s one query that surprisingly has been doing the rounds – how long do horses live? For the unversed, petMD notes that the typical timeline is 25-30 years. However, it depends on – the breed of the horse, its medical conditions, and the care received. In fact, a TikTok user back in 2023 revealed that her horse Cherry (breed – cob) was living ‘her dream life at 45!’ 

Now that you are hovering on this page, why not get to know the details upfront? We will update you on the different breeds of horses and their timeline, what factors improve their lifespan, and answer some quirky queries that most searches about horses wish to know. Let us give you the specifics – 

How long do horses live? 

How Long Do Horses Live
Image Credit: Gallant

On average, the lifespan of a domestic horse ranges from 25-30 years. But, certain horse breeds, if given exceptional care, can live even up to their 40s! At the same time, wild horses and ponies can live up to 15-20 years. Especially, Mustangs live for 15 years or a little more, when left in the wild. 

The primary reason why domesticated horses live longer is due to the veterinary care that they get, unlike wild horses, which have to suffer extremes of temperature and get no medical help. 

Apart from these essential factors, there are a couple of things you must note – 

  • Draft horses (like Percherons) that are categorically used in farming generally have better health and live longer since they are bred that way. When given better care, they live up to their 40s. 
  • Quarter horses also live up to their 40s, all thanks to the nutrition and care that they receive. 
  • Miniature horses live for 12-15 years maximum, given that they are bred that way. 
  • Surprisingly, one of the smallest of the breeds – Shetland ponies live for a maximum of 18-25 years. 
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At the end of the day, what matters the most is the care, nutrition, environment, and medical help that they get. 

However, there is more related to that, and the upcoming section will detail you on the same. 

Why do some horse breeds live more? 

How Long Do Horses Live
Questions and Answers

Along with knowing how long do horses live, there is another point you must understand – some breeds live more than others. But why does that happen? Also, which are those breeds that live more? We will tell you – 

The horse‘s breed determines its weight and size – which ultimately affects its lifespan.

BREED OF THE HORSE AVERAGE LIFESPAN 
Belgian Draft Horse  25-30 years 
American Quarter Horse  20-25 years 
Norwegian Fjord  20-25 years 
Percheron  25-30 years 
Icelandic Horse  25-30 years 
Clydesdale Horse  20-25 years 
Friesian  16-18 years 
Arabian Horse  25-35 years 
Gypsy Horse  20-25 years 
Tennessee Walking Horse  28-30 years 
Mustang  15-20 years 
Thoroughbred  25-28 years 

How will you improve the lifespan of your horse? 

how-to-take-care-of-a-horse
Image Credit: Zareba Systems

The answer to how long do horses live depends significantly on the lifestyle that you (or the one taking care of the horse) offer. The better that person can care for the horse’s health issues, the higher the chances of an increased lifespan. 

Taking care of the nutrition 

For starters, you must feed forage to your stallion. This includes – long stem hay (alfalfa) and pasture grasses primarily. Also, count the calories you feed it, and refrain from excessively providing it with corn and grains (unless it requires explicitly concentrated calories). Pack the stallion’s plate with calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, and A minerals. Feeding your horse twice a day is adequate. 

Health care is of prime importance 

Taking care of your horse’s health is of prime importance. From regular vet checks to dental and hoof care (especially dental floating), ensure that you take your steed for regular medical tests. Regular checks are mandatory for better health (thrush or shoeing). 

Also, your horse must be vaccinated for – herpesvirus, tetanus, Potomac horse fever, encephalitis, botulism, rotavirus, streptococcus equine infection, rabies and equine infection anemia. 

Make your horse exercise to improve its lifespan 

To expand a horse’s lifespan, exercise is of prime importance. It does not imply that you have to make it race regularly, but what matters is its ability to move. Regular exercises like lunging (20 minutes per day), hill work, trail riding, or interval training are the exercises that are most opted for. 

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Temperature management is the key to bettering health 

Temperature regulation is a must for horses. In summer, it is imperative that they are kept warm, and in winter, they must be blanketed regardless of their age. This temperature control helps them survive longer. 

To ensure that your stallion lives a longer life, you must take care of these essential aspects. 

Parting words 

Horses have been, since ancient times, a crucial part of human civilization. Whether their usage in royal affairs or their becoming objects of betting in race tracks, these agile mammals have always served humans in the best possible way. For those of you who wish to know how long do horses live, assumingly, this post has given you the correct answers. If you have any ambitions to host an equine friend, or even if you want to gain some info, we hope this article can be of help! 

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can keep an eye out for such interesting content on this website. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How do horses sleep? 

From what we know in popular culture, horses do sleep standing up. Given the weight of the horse and the fact that they are trained to be ready in the case of predator attacks, for them to get up while lying down is a problematic issue. Horses have stay apparatus in their bodies, which enables them to sleep on their feet without falling over. However, the horses do lie down once in a while to reach the potential REM level of sleep. But such cases are rare. 

2. What is the maximum period that a horse has lived? 

According to reports, Old Billy, a large Shire-type horse, holds the Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest at 62 years of age. 

3. What are the signs of aging in horses? 

The key signs of aging in horses are – immune system-related issues, decreased nutrition absorption, dental issues, and increased stress. If you notice any such issues, then you need to take extra care of your equine friend to ensure its longer lifespan. 

4. What can cause a horse to die? 

Primarily, it is old age that causes horses to die (0.6% of them). Apart from that, certain diseases like – equine metabolic syndrome, laminitis, equine herpesvirus, equine viral arteritis, and Potomac horse fever are the causes behind a horse’s death. 

5. What is a unique feature of a horse’s anatomy? 

Unlike other animals, the sphincter muscle located in the horse’s lower esophagus is comparatively more robust than that of humans. Since this is a one-way valve, ingested food cannot be returned. This unique physical mechanism prevents the horse from vomiting, helping them run long distances.