Horse Lifespan – How Long Can a Horse Live?
Whether you’re thinking about becoming a horse owner or you’re simply interested in learning more about the average lifespan of a horse, there are many contributing factors that determine how long a horse can live. Horse lifespan is much longer than other popular pets such as cats or dogs. In fact, when they’re taken care of properly, horses can live well beyond the age of 30.
Differences In Horse Lifespan
How long horses live generally depends on how well they’re looked after, as well as what breed they are. Thanks to advances in animal care, veterinary care, and owner awareness, such as knowing how to shoe a horse properly, the lifespans of domestic horses have significantly increased over the years.
The average lifespan of a domestic horse is between 25 to 33 years, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. Horse life expectancy increases significantly when horses are fed the highest quality diet, regularly exercised, and provided with exceptional levels of care. Well-cared-for horses and ponies can even reach 40 years of age! Unfortunately, just like many other animals, larger breeds tend to live shorter lives. A Draft breed horse lifespan isn’t as long-lived as an Arabian breed horse. That said, larger breeds have been known to reach 40, albeit rarely.
It’s Not Always Easy to Know the Breed of a Horse
It’s not easy to look at a horse and instantly guess its age. This means it can be difficult to officially verify the age of a horse unless there’s the proper documentation from its previous owner(s). It’s possible to reach an approximate age by carefully examining the horse’s teeth, but this can never be a 100% accurate way of determining a horse’s age as they continue to advance in age, even way beyond their 20s. Always ask for the supporting paperwork to verify a horse’s age if you’re buying one. The cost of having a horse can soon add up if you take on a horse that’s older and more prone to health issues as a result.
How to Help Your Horse Live a Long and Healthy Life
With good care, even senior horses can continue to live a good quality of life, even way beyond their professional racing careers have ended. By paying careful attention to the welfare needs of your horse, such as ensuring they’ve got a high-quality feed, their teeth are getting regularly checked and you or your farrier is ensuring their horseshoes are in regular upkeep, horses can live long and well into their 40s.
A horse’s environment is an incredibly important part of supporting their physical and emotional wellbeing. We’d always recommend that anyone who isn’t keeping horses on their own private land should carry out substantial research online to find out where the best local places are to board a horse. Their stables should always be big enough to provide the necessary amount of shade that can protect them from the sun, as sunburn in horses can lead to serious reactions that can cause lasting damage.
Unfortunately, sometimes health issues in horses can force owners to euthanize a horse before it’s given a chance to recover or live out its life. Sometimes, owners simply are not able to afford the vet bills that would be necessary for the horse to make a full recovery, which is why it’s always important for owners to have health insurance for horses.
There are also times where euthanasia is preferable to the horse living out its final days in pain, despite how difficult the decision to euthanize a horse may be. Thankfully, many of the most common health conditions in horses can be avoided if owners assure they’re taken care of correctly. This will also ensure that the life expectancy of their horse is as great as it can be.