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How Long Do Horses Normally Live

author
Maria Garcia
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 7 min read

In fact, many horses live beyond the age of 30 with good care; some senior horses are still ridden or driven lightly. Advances in the understanding of animal care and veterinary medicine have increased the lifespan of horses, just as improved medical and nutritional knowledge has benefited humans.

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(Source: seriouslyequestrian.com)

Contents

Ancient age can be hard to verify, however, especially if horses don't have identifying paperwork and have changed owners several times. So unless a horse has some sort of competition passport or registration papers verifying its identity, information about age may be lost.

With careful attention to basic maintenance of a senior horse such as feed, dental, and hoof care, many horses can remain sound and useful into their senior years and remain a joy to their owners even when fully retired. Sometimes, a health issue will force an owner to euthanize a horse before it lives out its natural lifespan.

Complications from colic will force a decision, or a horse may be in constant pain from a soundness issue. While it doesn't seem natural and is a very difficult decision, euthanasia is preferable to the horse living a life of pain and struggle.

Written by Katherine Blockader Reviewed by Anna O'Brien, DVD Just like people, thanks to a better understanding of health and medical care, horses are living longer than ever. Not that long ago, 25 years of age was considered old for a horse.

Now, the life expectancy of horses has increased, largely because we take better care of them. If you own a mature horse, it's wise to watch it for signs of aging, so you'll know when to start treating it as a senior citizen.

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Several charts and calculators have been created in an attempt to compare a horse to human age. That's difficult to do, as the maturation and aging rate of horses and humans is very different.

Westend61 / Getty Images If you don't know your horse's date of birth, one way tell its age is by its teeth. Horses teeth erupt through the surface of the gum almost all its life, until the tooth itself is completely worn down.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. These advancements have provided owners with more knowledge about how to better care for horses which increases the chances of a longer lifespan.

The advancements in equine health have also helped medical experts to better treat common causes of horse illness and disease. Just like dogs and other animals the life expectancy can differ between the breeds and types of horse.

Different horse breeds may do more energy intensive and riskier jobs which ultimately mean that they may have a shorter life expectancy. As a result they are subject to abuse, neglect, and slaughter for human consumption.

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(Source: seriouslyequestrian.com)

As a result numerous charities have been formed to protect them when they are no longer able to race. This is often the result of over breeding which ensures that genetic disorders are continuously passed from parent to offspring.

For example Arabian horses can produce immune-deficient foals whereas Appaloosas are prone to eye problems. The nutrition that a horse gets plays a significant factor in their health and overall life expectancy.

Billy was owned by the Jersey and Orwell Navigation Company where he worked pulling barges up and down the canals. More recently a pony by the name of Sugar Puff lived until the age of 57 before dying in 2007.

Sugar Puff was a 10hh Shetland-Exmoor gelding and was put to sleep at home in West Sussex on the 25th of May 2007 following a number of health issues. Exercise, diet, and regular check-ups are the best ways to ensure that a horse stays healthy.

Check with your local vet for more comprehensive info on horse management. An overworked horse can result in mental tiredness and it usually causes soreness, stiffness and overuse injuries.

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Finding the right balance between fitness and rest is essential for the long term health of the horse. One of the most important factors in horse health is making sure they have access to continuous fresh water.

Older horses should be receiving high-quality forage and grain and supplements as needed. Budget feed is unlikely to provide them with the nutrients that they require to maintain a healthy body.

Older horses are more susceptible to degenerative musculoskeletal conditions such as laminates and arthritis. Their cartilage and muscle fiber is more brittle and is more susceptible to damage which will ultimately cause lameness.

The risk of these conditions can be mitigated through exercise and good horse management. Pasture housing instead of excessive stall confinement is one of the most obvious ways to protect against these conditions.

This is the practicing of filing down and removing the sharp edge that can form at the corners of the teeth. As a horse gets older they may require even more dental care as they may start to lose their teeth.

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Estimating by Wear : Once an adult horse has all of its teeth it can be a bit more tricky to determine their age. Specifically analyzing the shape, angle of growth, color and other factors can help to determine a reasonably accurate estimate of a horses current age.

The older the horse, the higher the risk of succumbing to a disease or health condition. Laminates : Sometimes referred to as founder is a disease which affects the hoofs of horses.

While laminates itself is not fatal it disease will lead to perforation of the bone through the sole of the hoof. Laminates can also contribute to a number of other diseases which can decrease a horses' life expectancy.

However, in general there seems to be a consensus that domesticated horses are living longer due to humans improved ability to treat and protect against common disease and illness. There is a lack of reliable data to compare the life expectancy of wild and domesticated horses.

In general, we know that domesticated horses are more likely to live a longer life than their wild counterparts. They travel in large free roaming herds in States such as California and Nevada.

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There is evidence to show that wild herds will protect hurt and disabled horses which can help them to live longer. However, it is still thought that domesticated horses are more likely to outlive their wild relatives due to modern day advancements in equine healthcare.

Many common illnesses and injuries that are easily treatable in domesticated horses can often be enough to kill a wild worse. Wild horses are also at a greater risk of death from freak weather events, attack from other animals, and drought.

This decision depends on the vet, owner, the nature of the injury/sickness and the overall condition of the horse. For example treatment options for an older horse that breaks a leg are limited.

This way the horse will avoid living out their final days in pain. Regular and light exercise is good for a senior horses joints and mobility and will keep them fresh.

The exact amount of regular riding depends on teach individual horses capacity to work. There seems to be a lack of conclusive evidence on this question but in general it is thought that geldings have a slightly longer life expectancy than stallions.

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Appaloosas are known for longevity and will regularly live to beyond 30 years if they can maintain good health. In general Ponies have about 10 years greater life expectancy than the average horse.

It’s something most owners hate to think about, but the reality is your horse won’t live forever. I’m sure you’ve come across some senior horses that are still standing strong in their late twenties or even thirties.

The span of 10 years is because of varying factors like breed, size, genetics, and proper care. Ponies tend to live longer than larger horses and can be seen thriving well into their late thirties and even forties.

Colic and soundness issues can affect an older horse much more aggressively. There has been a few documented cases of horses living exceptionally long.

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