How Long Does A Horse Live ? lifespan facts

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Lifespan of a horse


Horses are such pretty and loving animals. A farm is significantly empty without the presence of horses. Also, what would the derbies look like without horses? Sure, leopards are faster, but the leopards cannot run in a derby.

The demand for horses is global, and the horses bred in some regions of the world are more popular than the others.

lifespan of a horse

Since the time of cowboys, horses have never failed to astonish us.

Though, if you pet a horse or keep one on your farm, how long does a horse live? The lifespan of a horse mostly depends on its living conditions. Also, it depends on the horse’s work. Whether, it is used as a farm animal or as a derby horse.

Likewise, multiple factors like the breed, nutrition, dental care, and diseases determine how long can a horse live. So, here a few aspects that determine what the lifespan of a horse is.

infographic: How Long Does A Horse Live ?

how long does a horse live
Infographic: How Long Does A Horse Live ?

factors determine the lifespan of a horse

1. Breed:

The breed of a horse determines how long does a horse live. Different breeds of horses live for different time duration.

Arabian horse:

Arabian Horse
Arabian Horse

There would hardly be any person foreign to the Arabian breed of horses. This breed is amongst the most popular breed of horses in the world. And it is not only famous, but legend also says, it is one of the oldest breeds in the world of horses.

Furthermore, this breed of horses is used for various purposes; their spirit and endurance being the primary reason for their popularity and fondness.

The average age of horses of the Arabian breed ranges from 25 to 30 years. Provided that you take proper care of your horse, regardless of its work.

Quarter Horse:

Quarter Horse
Quarter Horse

This breed of horses is arguably the most famous one in the American subcontinent. The kind has become so popular that its breeding association has become the largest association in the world. For a horse to qualify as a Quarter Horse, it must be over 14 hands high.

The Quarter Horse is known mainly for its speed. Its high speed makes it suitable for many applications. Be it riding, racing, or other competitions, they can do most things deftly.

With all of this, you even have to take proper care of these horses. If you take adequate care of a quarter horse, they can live for up to 25 to 30 years.


thoroughbred horses
Thoroughbred Horses

If you have been to a derby or have even watched its live telecast, then you are bound to know about thoroughbred horses. In fact, in a derby, these horses are bid on the most.

Initially, these horses were bred five centuries ago in England. And ever since, they have been the show stealers. They are fabulous beasts.

This breed is the perfect one for sport horses. The enthusiasm and spirit of these horses are so high that they are perfect for various kinds of sports. These horses are used in sports such as racing, polo, jumpers, and hunters. The average age of thoroughbred horses is similar to all other breeds of horses and ranges between 25 to 30 years.


lifespan of a horse

As the name suggests, this breed of horses is from Andalusia. In the picturesque plains of Andalusia, these horses add to the beauty.

Back in the day, these horses were the most preferred option for wars. Their strength and agility made them an ideal breed of warhorses.

Furthermore, this breed is in existence for the past 6 centuries. In today’s date, the Andalusian is used for different purposes like driving, jumping, and even racing at times. Another trait from their personality is that this breed of horses is intelligent than the rest.

The average for horses of the Andalusian breed is 30 to 35 years, which is more than most other horses.


lifespan of a  horse

This fierce black breed of horses symbolizes courage and beauty. The Friesian horses were bred many, many years ago in the continent of North America.

The beauty of these horses is par excellence. Their fetlock hair and flowing mains only add to their charm. Initially, the Friesians were only used as farm animals.

Over time, the breed has evolved and is not just confined to the farms and fields. These horses are suitable for riding, jumping, and can even perform well in derbies. Due to their enticing looks, you can find the Friesians in show rings in many places. The lifespan of a horse belonging to the Friesian breed is between 16 to 18 years. Its lifespan is way less than many other breeds of horses.

infographic: lifespan of common horses

lifespan of a horse

2. Nutrition:

horse lifespan

Nutrition of the horse may not seem a big thing to most owners. Yet, it is an important detail that you should not oversee. Here are some essential things that you must take note of to increase the lifespan of a horse.


Whether a horse is on the farm or is preparing for a derby, oatmeal is one essential and necessary element that should be a part of its overall nutrition. Various kinds of oatmeal are available today for horses. Specially packed oats for different breeds of horses are available as well.

White-hulled oats are the most popular today, and you can find them at any leading store. Similarly, there are yellow-hulled oats, which are more preferred by the horses. The oatmeal gives the horse an appropriate amount of carbohydrates and gives them more energy.

Including oatmeal as a daily source of nutrition in a horse’s diet can help prolong its life by a few years.


Horses since their very existence on this planet are known to consume hay. Well, be it due to liking or lack of choice, the horses have grown rather fond of hay. Although, you need to monitor the kind and quality of hay that a horse is consuming.

Consuming the wrong kind of hay can cause serious issues to the health of the horse. Consecutively, it may affect the lifespan of the horse if it is too severe.

You shall not feed your horse with moldy hay. The spores present in this hay can cause many problems. It can give respiratory issues to the horse. These issues may take a toll on the horse’s lifespan.

Cleaning the hay is also equally essential. There is lots of dirt and other substances on the hay that can be harmful to the horse. You cannot clean the hay with water; instead, you can opt for steam cleaning.

Special Diets:

Like humans, there are specialized diets, even for horses. These diets prepare the horse for some particular event or race but is not necessarily that. These diets are essential if the weight of the horse drops below or increases above the healthy range.

IF the weight of a horse increases above the healthy range, there are many problems that a horse may face. Firstly, the performance decreases; the body becomes susceptible to diseases. The body heat produced increases when they do some activity.

Likewise, if the horse is underweight, it can catch many diseases. It cannot perform as deftly, and its overall body posture changes.

In such cases, specialized diets can help bring the horse’s weight back to normal. Obviously, only the diet is not sufficient, proper exercise plays an important role too.

To wrap up the nutrition, you must ensure that whatever food you give to your horse consists of all essential elements and minerals. It should be a balance of all elements to keep the horse healthy for long.


Water is the basic necessity of most living beings to survive. Horse being no exception needs clean and appropriate amounts of water to survive.

Dirty water can cause many health problems in a horse. In a shed or a stable, most of the time, the water is exposed to the environment. The water being stagnant is susceptible to catching millions of harmful bacteria. When the horse drinks such water, it takes a toll on its health.

You must ensure that the horse has enough supply of clean drinking water and should replace periodically. Impure water can cause dastardly diseases and can significantly reduce the lifespan of a horse.

3. Dental Care:

horse dental care
Horse dental care

Humans are not the only ones who require proper dental care. Some animals require appropriate dental care too. Horse, being one of them, it requires proper dental care and hygiene. This is mainly because of the diet of most horses. Due to excessive chewing of the food materials. Foods like hay and grass have lots of dirt and silica, which wears down the horse’s teeth.

It might sound ridiculous, but taking care of your horse’s teeth can have an impact on the quality of its life. Which can, in turn, elongate its life. The teeth of a horse grow as long as it lives. Thus, telling a horse’s age just by looking at its teeth is not a tough task.

Well, the tooth actually does not grow; only the surface does. If the teeth of a horse do not grow properly, it may form some sharp edges in the mouth. These need to be eliminated to filled as per the condition.

There are other dental problems as well, like broken teeth, missing teeth, etc. There are some symptoms that the horse might show if it is facing any such issues. Some of the symptoms are foul odor, vigorous head tossing, chewing oddly, and foaming.

You must immediately appoint a dentist if you notice any of these symptoms in your horse. Regardless of the age of your horse, dental care is an essential part of the horse’s health maintenance. Proper dental hygiene increases the lifespan of a horse by a few years.

4. Diseases:

lifespan of a horses

Apart from dental health care, the overall body health of a horse is important too. Whether or not a horse has any diseases will tell you how long does a horse live? One of the crucial things is to get your horse’s health checked regularly.

Depending on the work of a horse, it is prone to many sorts of diseases. These diseases may be caused due to several reasons. Some of the reasons include nutrition, work, workload, and the environment. Freedom from diseases determines how long does a horse live.

Here are some common diseases that occur to horses. You should ensure that the horse is free from any such diseases to elongate the average age for horses.


This disease is caused by bacteria and is one of the most common diseases that occurs to horses. Strangles can occur to horses due to their food or sometimes even because of the presence of bacteria in the air. It can also lead to a horrendous fever.

You can avoid this disease occurring to your horse by timely vaccination and keep the environment clean.

Some of the common symptoms of Strangles are swallowing difficulties, excessive coughing, and high fever.

Equine Anthrax:

This one is another disease that is caused due to bacteria. The occurrence of this disease is due to a bacteria named Bacillus Anthracis that resides in the soil around the stable.

There are not many apparent symptoms of this disease, but it is an acute disease. The horse may lose its life in 3 days if the proper medication is not given. Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, swelling, excessive fever, and increased heart rate.

You shall not wait for calling the vet if you notice any of these symptoms. Several antibiotic doses like Cephalosporin and Penicillin can help cure the condition. To avoid the occurrence of Anthrax, make sure to give proper vaccination to the horse from time to time.

Equine Rabies:

Rabies is a common disease that can happen to any animal of any breed. It is a deadly condition that has no cure once it has spread.

The disease is spread mainly through the saliva of an animal. The noticeable symptoms in the initial stage are irritation, loss of appetite, hyperexcitation, and constant restlessness.

Some medications need to be given with the regular vaccines to the horse. As, once Rabies has spread, there is no particular cure for the disease.

African Horse Disease:

If there is one condition in horses that is most horrific, then it is the African Horse Disease. It is a viral disease that is infused in the horse’s system via insects.

With the occurrence of this disease, the body temperature of the horse may suddenly shoot and cause excessive sweating. The infection is 70% and cannot be cured once infused in the system.

Thus, the only thing you can do is keep the horse free of this disease for long, healthy life. You must monitor the activity of the horse and ensure that it does not come in contact with insects much. Regular vaccination is effective as well, it causes the horse to grow immune to the disease.

infographic: how to help your horse live longer

how long does a horse live


Now, despite knowing all bits of information about a horse – there would still be a few unanswered questions about horses that you might be having.

So, to clear those qualms, here are a few frequently asked questions related to horses.

Q: What is the average lifespan of a horse?

lifespan of a horse


The average lifespan of a horse majorly depends on how you take care of one. The breed, nutrition, healthcare, and dental care all play a vital role in deciding a horse’s age.

Although, with decent care, an average horse may live somewhere between 25 to 30 years. Some breeds may live way less or more than the average lifespan.

Q: What is the longest any horse has lived?


There have been several horses whose owners have claimed them to be as old as 60 years old. One of the oldest horses that have lived was Old Billy, who lived on this planet for 62 long years – from 1760 to 1822. The Manchester Museum in the United Kingdom, with great pride, exhibits the skull of Old Billy.

infographic: 7 oldest horse in the world

7 oldest horse in the world

Q: Can you determine a horse’s age by looking at its teeth?

Determine horse age by looking at its teeth


Most people have this belief that the teeth of a horse determine its age. While it is not the most accurate and reliable way to do so, you can get a rough figure.

As your horse ages, its teeth get worn out. The color of a young horse’s teeth is pale yellow, and that of an old horse is brown. With age, its teeth start tilting to form an acute angle. The older the horse, the more tilted its teeth are.

Another thing that can help you determine is the Galvayne’s Groove, which is a brown colored blotch. It grows on the corner incisor of a horse. It grows at the age of 10, until a horse turns about 25, after which it vanishes. You can see if the Galvayne’s Groove is present or not to determine a horse’s age.

Q: What are the aging signs of a horse?

horse lifespan


As mentioned earlier, many factors determine a horse’s age. Yet, after a certain point, even after the aptest care, the horse starts aging.

Here are a few signs that tell you that your horse I aging. Loose skin on the body, dietary changes, missing and infected teeth, growth of grey hair, lack of energy, and poor eyesight are few signs of an aging horse.

Q: As a beginner, what is the ideal age of a horse for me?

Lifespan of a horse


Whether you are young or old, as a beginner, you would want to ride a young horse that is virile and powerful. Well, it is not always true that the younger horses perform better. In fact, middle-aged horses can be the best choice for you.

A horse that is somewhere between 10 to 15 years of age. You can bond with them without much effort. Plus, they have basic training; so, if you want to ride a horse around 3 to 4 times a week, then a middle-aged horse would be an excellent choice for you as a beginner.


Now all your questions like “how long can a horse live?” or “what is the lifespan of a horse?” may be clear.

So, you must be knowing what the factors that affect the average lifespan of a horse are. All the elements work in the amalgam to decide the lifespan of the horse.

Lastly, if you take optimal care of the horse, you can extend its lifespan even against the odds.

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