How Long Do Horses Live? It Depends!


How long do horses live? On average horses live for 25 to 30 years, but there are always exceptions. Let’s explore how breed, health conditions, and care affect their longevity, plus the oldest horses that ever lived.

How Long Do Horses Live?

What is the longest life of a horse?

Here are some of the oldest horses ever recorded:

Prospect Point (1978-2016) – 38 years – Thoroughbred

Orchid (1965-2015) – 50 years -Thoroughbred/Arabian cross

Scribbles (1958-2009) – 51 years – Pony (unknown breeding)

Shayne the Big One (1962-2013) – 51 years – Draft Horse

Badger (1953-2004) – 51 years – Arabian/Welsh cross

Magic (1969-2020) – 51 years – Arabian

Shayne (1962-2013) – 51 years – Irish/Thoroughbred cross

Sugar Puff (1951-2007) – 56 years – Shetland/Exmoor cross

Old Billy (1760-1822) – 62 years – Draft Horse

How old is a horse in human years?

Horse to Human Age Comparison Chart

Horse Age Approximate Human Age
16
213
318
420
524
728
1035
1343
1753
2060
2470
2778
3085
3393
36100

At what age is a horse considered old?

By most standards, horses are considered to be “old” beyond 18 years, but many are still in their prime well beyond that! Older, experienced horses are beloved by riding schools for their patience with children and beginners, and many sport horses compete into their early 20s.

Horse Lifespans By Breed

Horse BreedAverage Years
American Cream Draft25-35
American Quarter Horse25-35
American Saddlebred30-35
American Standardbred30-35
Andalusian20-25
Appaloosa25-30
Arabian25-30
Belgian Draft18-25
Cleveland Bay30-35
Clydesdale20-25
Connemara25-30
Dutch Warmblood24-29
Exmoor30-35
Falabella16-20
Friesian20-25
Gypsy Vanner25-35
Hackney25-30
Haflinger30-35
Hanoverian25-30
Icelandic25-30
Irish Sport Horse25-30
Lipizzaner25-30
Miniature25-35
Morgan25-30
Mustang (domesticated)20-25
Norwegian Fjord30-35
Oldenburg25-28
Paso Fino28-33
Percheron30-35
Shetland30-40
Shire35-45
Suffolk25-30
Tennessee Walker25-30
Thoroughbred25-28
Trakehner25-28
Walkaloosa30-35
Welsh Pony30-35

How long do horses live in the wild? How long do mustangs live?

Mustangs, and other wild horses, tend to have a shorter life expectancy and often don’t survive beyond 15-20 years due to natural elements and predators.

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How long do Ponies live?

Many ponies seem to defy nature and live happy, healthy lives well into their 30s. It’s not unusual to see a schoolmaster pony that has taught multiple generations of children how to ride. Some even live into their 40s with proper care and nutrition.

How long do Miniature Horses live?

Much like ponies, these pint-sized equines often live 25-35 years. The current record holder as the World’s Smallest Horse is 8 years old and only 22 inches tall.

How long do Draft Horses live?

Horses that fall into the “cold-blooded” category typically have a slightly shorter lifespan, usually between 18-25 years. For more information about drafts, check out Types of Horses.

How long do Quarter Horses live?

Quarter horses tend to be a hardy breed and live an average of 25-35 years. Genetics, proper nutrition, care, and workload can all have an impact on their life expectancy.

How long do Thoroughbred racehorses live?

While most thoroughbreds retire from racing by the time they reach 7, many go on to have long riding or breeding careers. Their average lifespan is typical for performance horses, with a range of 25-28 years.

How long do Arabian Horses live?

Arabian horses generally live between 25-30 years, but like ponies, some have lived well into their 40’s. The longest-living Arabian was a Polish mare named Magic that lived to 51.

Horse Lifespans By Health Condition

Common causes of death in horses:

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How long can a horse live with Navicular?

Navicular syndrome is a lifelong condition that causes lameness and affects a horse’s athletic function. Fortunately, once the initial lameness is resolved, corrective shoeing can keep a horse from having repeated flare-ups and allow for light riding. Many live into old age with appropriate care and supplements.

How long can a horse live with EPM?

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is a disease that affects the nervous system and is caused by a horse ingesting a parasite through contaminated food or water. Left undiagnosed or untreated, EPM can cause debilitating illness within a few months. Many horses will improve with early intervention and a small percentage will recover completely. Unfortunately, relapse is common in 10-20% of cases.

How long can a horse live with Heaves (COPD)?

Heaves (aka. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is similar to asthma in that it affects a horse’s ability to breathe. Luckily, in mild cases or with early detection there are treatment options that can greatly improve the quality and length of life. In more severe cases, most horses don’t survive for more than six months once extreme breathing difficulties begin.

How long can a horse live with Ringbone?

Ringbone is a type of arthritis that affects the coffin joints and pastern. Like Navicular, it can have an impact on a horse’s athletic potential and quality of life. With corrective shoeing, supplements, and even surgery, soundness can often be maintained for light riding or happy retirement.

How long can a horse live with Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that can be fatal to horses. It often appears in the eye, on the genitalia or in other areas of unpigmented skin. Left untreated it can spread to the lymph nodes and then metastasize to other parts of the body. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, the chance of recovery is up to 90%.

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How long can a horse live with DSLD?

Degenerative Suspensory Ligament disease causes lameness, but unlike other suspensory injuries, does not improve with rest and often worsens over time. Unfortunately, there is no cure for DSLD. Euthanasia may be the only humane option for severely affected horses.

How long can a horse live with a heart murmur?

Heart murmurs can be the result of genetic defects or acquired due to a health condition or heart disease. They are graded on a scale from 1-6, with horses in the 1-3 range continuing a normal lifestyle and riding routine. For cases in the 4-6 range, more advanced diagnostic procedures would be required to find a suitable treatment option. The root cause of the murmur will dictate the horse’s life expectancy.

Tips to Extend a Horse’s Lifespan

Happy Riding,

How Long Do Horses Live?

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