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Lifespan of a Horse

Find Out the Lifespan of the Glorious, Yet Sweet-tempered Horse

The lifespan of a horse may vary from breed to breed and also depends on whether it is a wild or domesticated one. Let us see what is the approximate average of a horse's lifespan, in this article.
Sujata Iyer
Last Updated: Mar 15, 2018
Horses are one of the most regal animals to walk this earth. With their glossy coats and fine manes, they have the best looking body structure and yet appear to be uncharacteristically gentle in their disposition. Even in the wild, horses appear to have a calm and peaceful air about them. But how long does this last? How long does an average horse live? What is the lifespan of a horse? What does it depend on? These are the questions that will be dealt with, in this PetPonder article.
What is the Average Lifespan of a Horse
Horses come in different breeds and live in different areas. Hence, the life expectancy of a horse is quite understandably dependent on various factors. While many studies conducted have reached a conclusion that an average horse's lifespan is approximately around 30 years, there are some horses that have lived more than that. There are also cases in which a horse has lived much lesser than its average life expectancy level. Given below are some important factors that play a role in the determination of a horse's life span.
As mentioned earlier, horses come in numerous breeds. The breed of a horse is quite a major role player in its life expectancy. A thoroughbred horse is more susceptible to living a short life. This is because, even though it has a perfect upbringing and maintenance, it has a delicate and fragile internal system compared to other horses. This makes it vulnerable to diseases and other ailments. As a result, a thoroughbred horse may see only around 20 years of life compared to other breeds.
Living Conditions
Another key factor that has been known to affect the lifespan of a horse is the condition in which it lives. If it lives in the wild, it has limited access to medical help in case of anything affecting its health. On the other hand, since it lives in the wild and fends for itself, it builds up a naturally strong constitution. This helps it to fight diseases and remain healthy.
A horse that has been domesticated is more prone to a slightly weaker immune system. This is because it is bred in a well-protected environment that does not make it weak or susceptible to illnesses. However, the plus point is that even if it falls prey to any ailments, medical care is readily available. Hence, the lifespan can be extended by prompt medical attention.
When a domesticated horse falls ill, it is generally due to old age. Otherwise, with proper and regular medical care and checkups, it is quite rare for a horse to fall ill. After around 15 - 18 years, a horse does begin to exhibit the telltale signs of old age. Though there are some breeds that perform exceedingly well (in races) in their old age, there are some that do not. In many cases, horse owners assume that the horse will not perform. Hence, instead of footing the bills to give the required medical attention and help the horse recuperate, they prefer to put down the horse and use a much younger horse for racing purposes. In this way, the lifespan of a horse is grossly misjudged and hence, shortened.
Interesting Tidbits
  • All thoroughbreds have their birthday on the 1st of January.
  • The age of a horse can be measured by looking at its teeth. The more worn out the teeth are, the older the horse is. However, this might get a little tricky with purebred horses, because they are given proper dental treatment regularly.
  • The horse that lived the longest was a whopping 62 years when he died. He was called Old Billy and appears in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • While the average lifespan of a horse is around 30 years, horses have been known to live even up to 40 years of age.
Proper nutrition, dental and other medical care, and regular exercise is the best way to extend the lifespan of a horse. So, if you have an equine friend, take good care of it and ensure that it lives a full and rewarding life.