If you own horses, or you work around them on a farm, then you will probably need to know something about the average lifespan of a horse. As a horse gets older, it will develop illnesses and ailments just like people do. They won’t be able to run as fast or as far as they used to in the early years of their lives. They get aches and pains in their bones just like humans do, and sometimes even need surgery.
None of that means that a horse cannot live a very long and healthy life. The average lifespan of a horse that has no birth defects or pre-existing medical conditions is between twenty-five and thirty years. This number is just an average estimate. If you feed your horse right, house them comfortably, and treat them right then your horse could live well past their thirties.
Advances in medical technology have allowed us to extend the average lifespan of horses. We can take better care of them when they get sick, and we can also help them stay healthier than we could thirty or forty years ago. Back then if you got a horse to live past twenty-five, you were doing good, and that horse lived out its final days in a pasture somewhere. Now twenty-five years is an average age, most horses live five to ten years past that with very few problems. The oldest recorded age of a horse is 62, but that is not common.
Determining The Age Of a Horse
When determining the age of a horse, one of the first things you should look at is their teeth. The size of a horse’s teeth is one of the factors that the vet uses to judge the horse’s actual age. If you want to watch your horse live a long and healthy life, taking care of their teeth is one of the most important things you can do. For a horse, health begins in their mouth. Anyone who works with horses can tell you their teeth are flat and thick. This allows for easier chewing and digestion. A horse that cannot chew its food will quickly start to suffer from malnutrition, which if left untreated could cause the horse to sicken and die.
Horses are a lot like people in terms of aging. Like people, no two horses will be affected by age in the same way. Genetics has something to do with this of course, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Environment and upkeep go a long way to determining how well your horse will age.
As your horse starts to get older, you will notice some changes. They may get gray hair around their eyes and muzzle which is one of the first areas to go gray as horses get older. Their coats will get thicker and coarser, and the skin may also get darker underneath. Changes in appetite and/or behavior can also be a good indicator that your horse is getting older. Cuts and bruises will take longer to heal, and your horse may develop trouble with gaits that were previously no problem.
Help Your Horse Age Gracefully
You should be sure to remember that aging is a process that doesn’t always show on the outside. A horse could look exactly the same as it did when it was three yet still be experiencing the symptoms of advanced age. The best way to keep track of something like this is to keep records on your horse. Farmers and animal breeders already do this, it isn’t complicated.
You can increase their lifespan by making sure your horse receives the proper care during its life. Horses are not people, but they are a lot like children. They depend on us to provide for them, care for them and interact with them. If you plan on owning a horse, please make sure you can take care of it. Malnutrition and neglect can seriously cut into the lifespan of a horse.
The average lifespan of a healthy horse is around twenty-five to thirty years. Larger horses may not live as long as their medium-sized and smaller counterparts. The simple reason for this is the fact that larger horses tend to develop more health issues due to their size. Ponies and donkeys can live well into their forties. Over fifty percent of all domestic horses can live past twenty-five if they are well taken care of and loved.