How Long Do Horses Live? Average Horse Lifespan

old horse

If you own a horse, you will definitely be interested to learn how long these animals live. 

It is also important that you know which factors affect their lifespan. This article will ultimately help you with keeping your horse as healthy as possible so it lives a long time.

Average Horse Lifespan

The average lifespan of a horse is about 20-35 years, depending on the breed. The fact is that there are certain breeds that are known for living longer than others. Thoroughbreds live up to 28 years, while quarter hoses can live up to 35 years.

Stages of Life

The following stages represent the life of a horse:

  • Adolescent: A horse is considered to be an adolescent up until it is about four years old. These horses are also known as foals or fillies, respectively.
  • Adult: Once a horse is older than four years, it is considered to be an adult. Males are referred to as stallions, while females are called mares.
  • Senior: A horse is considered to be a senior once it has reached 15 years of age. While the horse might have another ten years of life left, it is closest to the end of its lifespan at this point.

How to Determine Your Horse’s Age

If you aren’t sure of your horse’s age, there are actually a number of helpful tips you can follow. While it may be impossible to determine their exact age, there are ways of getting a fairly accurate rough estimate.

baby horse

1. Look at Their Coat

Older horses typically have a rougher coat with less shine. A horse’s coat also tends to get thicker with age. If you have a senior horse, you might even notice some gray coloration on their coat. 

2. Examine Their Teeth

Sometimes it is also possible to tell a horse’s age by looking at their teeth. Once a horse reaches five years of age, each of its incisors will have a hole in them. An experienced veterinarian who deals a lot with horses can usually tell their approximate age this way.

3. Vision

If your horse seems to have poor vision, there is a good chance that it is a senior. These animals can develop all sorts of problems with their eyes as they get on in years.

How to Help Your Horse Live a Long Life

You will have a lot of control of how long your horse will likely live. It is therefore important that you keep a few key things in mind when it comes to taking care of yours.

1. Diet/Nutrition

The sort of food that you give your horse on a daily basis is incredibly important when it comes to how long they live. Just like with humans, diet plays a crucial role in overall health.

Most horses need plenty of alfalfa on a daily basis. You’ll want to avoid giving your horse certain foods like corn or oats, as they aren’t good for them. You should give your horse two meals each day, if not more. A pregnant mare will require more food than usual on a daily basis.

It can be easy to give your horse too many calories in its daily diet, so you will need to be careful. This is something that you will need to keep track of for the sake of their health and well being.

2. Socialize Your Horse

It’s also important that you allow your horse to spend time with its own kind. Whether it is your own horses or someone else’s, this can actually help extend their life. Just make sure that your horse gets along well with them.

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3. Make Sure They Get Regular Exercise

Horses need regular exercise to stay healthy, so you need to keep this in mind. Saddle up and take them for a ride on a regular basis. This can do a lot for keeping sickness at bay, which is especially important as they get older.

You don’t want to push your horse too much though, particularly if they are a senior. It is important that you know their limits and work within them.

Health Problems that can Shorten Your Horse’s Lifespan

There are multiple conditions that can have a negative impact on your horse’s overall lifespan. The more familiar you are with these health problems, the easier it will be to recognize them in your horse before it’s too late.

1. Laminitis

This condition takes a big toll on a horse’s hooves, and it is somewhat related to what they eat on a daily basis. The more overweight your horse becomes, the more likely they are to develop this problem, which can be very painful for them.

2. Arthritis

A horse that doesn’t get enough exercise on a daily basis can develop arthritis. This condition can be fairly mild of severe, depending on a number of factors.

3. Colic

The type of feed that you give your horse is incredibly important. If you aren’t meeting your horse’s nutritional needs, they could develop colic. This presents as severe abdominal pain, which can be debilitating until it is corrected.


  • The average lifespan of a horse is anywhere from 28 to 35 years old, depending on the breed.
  • Clydesdales have the shortest lifespan, which ranges from 20 to 25.
  • Quarter horses and Arabian horses can live up to 35 years.
  • A horse isn’t considered an adult until it has reached four years old.
  • Once a horse if 15, it is generally considered to be a senior.
  • It is important that you keep your horse on a steady diet of high-quality feed to keep it healthy.
  • Make sure that you watch your horse’s caloric intake so it doesn’t become overweight.
  • If you don’t know how old your horse is, you can get a better idea by examining their coat and teeth.
  • Regular physical exercise and interaction with other horses can help them live longer.
  • Your horse should be checked out by an experienced veterinarian each year. This can help with spotting problems like laminitis and arthritis.
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