How Long Do Horses Live?

Old living horse staring at the camera

How long do horses live? Horses usually live around 20-30 years. However, this will still depend on the breed, as some horses tend to have shorter lifespans than expected. The horses’ way of life is also essential since how they live, eat, and exercise will affect their health.

It is quite unlikely that horses will live past the age of 30. But surprisingly, according to records, the oldest living horse lived for 63 years! For the past few years, researchers have successfully studied keeping a horse healthy and letting them live a longer life.

Improvements in equine health have been significant in recent years, allowing professionals to enhance how they manage common horse ailments and diseases.

Factors Affecting Horse’s Lifetime

Breed & Workload

There are around 300 horse breeds around the world. Each breed has a distinct color, shape, and size, and some have been bred for specific uses. And, as odd as it may sound, larger horses, such as drafts, live shorter lives than smaller horse types, such as Arabian horse breeds.

The sort of job that a horse does throughout its life is a big factor in its type of breed. The work that some horse breeds conduct regularly may make their lives more dangerous, resulting in a shortened lifetime; racehorse breeds are an example of this. They are generally trained from a young age and expected to race as soon as they are two years old. Moreover, they will retire when they are ten years old. Horse racing is a risky activity for people and animals alike. Horses may be engaged in an accident and may not always recover.

When these horses reach the age of retirement, they are sometimes abandoned or butchered for human consumption. However, if properly cared for, they may survive for up to 30 years. Some organizations monitor racehorses who have reached retirement age and provide care for them. This is to ensure that retired racehorses are not neglected.


Horses, like most animals, are more prone to various disorders and illnesses than other animals. This is usually due to the fact that certain breeders specialize in pure breeding. Along with it come the hereditary illnesses that are only handed down to the next generations. 

PPID is one of the most typical horse diseases that have a significant impact on their health. It does not kill horses instantly, but it does cause their health to deteriorate over time. It is most frequent in ponies and Morgan horses.


The health and diet of a horse have a significant effect on its lifespan. A horse fed with high-quality feed or pasture is more likely to live longer than a horse fed with low-quality feed.

Horse Stages

There are various terms that humans may use to explain the several stages of life that horses go through.

  • Foal – a one-year-old horse
  • Yearling – a horse that is one to two years old
  • Colt – a male horse that is less than four years old
  • Filly – a female horse that is less than four years old
  • Mare – a female horse that’s older than 4 years old
  • Stallion – a non-castrated male horse that’s older than four years old
  • Gelding – castrated male horse of any age

Who Is The World’s Oldest Horse?

Old Billy was the oldest horse ever documented in history, living up to 62 years and hailing from Lancashire, England. The Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company owned Old Billy, entrusted with pulling barges up and down the canal. Unfortunately, Billy died in 1822, and his remains are now on exhibit at Manchester Museum, where people may still see them.

Sugar Puff, a pony who lived to be 57 years old, passed away in 2007.

The horse was a 10hh Shetland-Exmoor gelding that was finally put to sleep in West Sussex on May 25, 2007, due to various health complications.

Ways To Ensure Horse Longevity

Horses, like humans, require basic human requirements in order to survive daily. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular checkups are essential parts of a horse’s daily routine. Furthermore, regular visits to the veterinarian can keep track of your horse’s health.

Rest Time

Horses, like people, need a lot of rest. They are still capable of feeling fatigued, no matter how strong they are. The length of how long the horse should rest is determined by the horse’s age, health, and daily workload. Horses who do not get enough rest may develop mental fatigue and other physical ailments.

Proper Feeding

Horses need to consume lots of water. They tend to work a lot; thus, a bucket of water is required frequently to prevent dehydration. It’s also essential to have the right amount of high-quality pastures since this will affect their health. However, older horses will demand a higher-quality feed since they need more grain and vitamins to maintain a healthy physique.

Daily Exercise

Because their muscles and cartilages become fragile and weak as they age, they are more prone to developing lameness. Degenerative musculoskeletal problems are more common in older horses. To prevent these health conditions, they should exercise every day, even if they are already old, just to avoid this condition. One of the most obvious ways to defend against these problems is to use pasture housing instead of stall confinement.

Horse Dental Care

Horses should have their teeth floated at least once a year and get a regular dental exam. This method involves filing sharp edges or hooks to provide a hard, flat surface that allows for more effective chewing. A horse with a dental problem can be identified by head tossing, foul scents, and constant drooling. An aged horse may require frequent dental examinations since their teeth may begin to fall out, making it difficult for them to eat.

Hoof Care

When a horse’s hooves are neglected and not cared for, it usually results in a harmful effect on the horse’s health in general. Their hoof carries the whole weight of their body and also serves as their support. As a result, it is essential to inspect their hooves promptly.

Ways To Tell A Horse’s Age

The age of a horse may be established simply by glancing at its teeth. There are numerous methods for determining a horse’s age based on the length of its teeth and how they are inclined.

Teeth Color

The color of a horse’s teeth will vary as it ages. Young horses often have white, creamy, but permanent teeth, which will then be replaced with creamy-yellow after some time. As the horse reaches the age of roughly 20 years, its teeth gradually become a shade of brown.

Baby Teeth

The teeth of an adolescent horse may be studied to determine their age by noting which teeth are missing and which remain present.

Permanent Teeth

Note that this technique is only reliable between the ages of 9 and 10 since a horse’s teeth will all be permanent after precisely ten years.

Estimating by Wear

It will be more challenging to estimate a horse’s age until they are entirely grown; thus, the easiest approach to determine their age is to inspect the number of teeth they have. Analyzing the form, angle of growth, color, and other variables may aid in determining the horse’s present age.

Old horse side view picture

Has your question “how long do horses live” been answered? Hopefully, this article has helped you learn more about horses than simply knowing how long they live. Now that you’ve read the entire article, you can confidently handle your own horse or be able to assist a friend who also owns and enjoys horses!

Have A Horse In Coconut Creek?

Millpond Stables in Coconut Creek is your number one choice when it comes to horse care. Our horse boarding services are top notch, our all wood stables are maintained by expert staff. Take horse back riding lessons with seasoned professionals and ride your horse on scenic trails near our stables. Get engaged in the community with local horse shows and gatherings. Are your kids interested in horses? We offer an annual summer camp designed to teach kids how to ride and care for horses. Contact us today to sign up.


Krizzia Reyes is an author for Millpond Stables.

About The Author

As a writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Reyes has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. It has been her passion to only deliver the truth and nothing but the truth.