Thanks to a better understanding of the health and medical care that has improved a lot, horses are somewhat similar to humans, so you need to know how long horses live.

When it comes to caring for a horse, there is a lot that goes into it. You will have to decide on who will be tending to their medical needs and hooves, the type of feed you will have to offer them, where you will be housing them, the amount of riding you will do, and so on as the list of questions is endless. For the horse parents, it is natural to wonder how long the horses get to live.

Starting from the diet to exercise, illness, and beyond is what the lifespan of horses generally depends on. It can be a hectic task to make the right choices. You want to ensure that you are taking the best care of your four-legged companion so that they get to live to a ripping old age in good health being a good horse parent.

So, how old do horses live, or what is their life expectancy? What are the things that you should know about their aging process? For example, how will you change the diet of an aging horse and adjust it accordingly? You also should keep in mind the health issues that are distinct to the older horses.

Variations in how long horses live

The improved medical and nutritional knowledge has benefited humans. Similarly, advances in the understanding of animal care and vet medicine have increased the lifespan of horses. So, just as many people are, horses and ponies are living longer than ever. But, unfortunately, few of the breeds live longer than the rest is the reality involved here will answer to your question that how long do horses live.

20-30 years is the average lifespan of a domestic horse. On average, many of the horses goes well beyond this. With several ponies still serving as schoolmasters well into the 30s, ponies usually tend to live longer.

Few of the ponies and horses may even live up to 40 years and over. As the smaller breeds such as Arabians, larger horses like the draft breeds are generally not long-lived. There are a few exceptions to most of  the rules, however, with how long do horses live. Out there, you will also find several elderly draft horses that are living.

It May be Hard to Know the Exact Age of a Horse

If the horses do not have identified paperwork and have changed owners several times, extreme old age can be hard to verify. Although teeth are not a 100 percent accurate way to determine the age of a horse, you can inform about the approximate age by looking at it mainly when they are advancing in ages beyond the twenties.

So, the information about how old horses live can be lost unless a horse has some sort of competition passport or registration papers.

How long do horses live?

You will come across few breeds of horses that are known to live beyond 30 years. However, the draft horse is an exception here as he gets to live even more than 45 years.

In front of this age range, not everyone is the same. For example, between the small horse and ponies, whose height at the withers is between 40 and 148 cm, a distinction must be made from the larger horses whose height at the highest can reach about 220 cm.

  • In small horses and ponies

The information you need on how long do horses live cannot be generally answered. However, smaller horses often live longer than their larger counterparts as they can easily reach 30 to 35 years of age like the Fjord and Icelandic breeds, to be specific.

Because they are not completely developed before the age of seven or eight and therefore mature late, it is explained partly. Unlike the larger horses, they often stay in service until more than 20 years.

  • In large horses

20-30 years is the general lifespan of the larger horses.

Cold-blooded horses have a life expectancy of only 16 to 18 years as they are in general completely developed at 3 or 4.

The average age of 20 years is the lifespan of a horse in half-breed breeds. Until around the age of five, they will not have completed their growth.

It depends on the use for which they are intended, the thoroughbreds will live around 25 years when you know about how old do horses live. For instance, they will tend to die sooner if they are used as a professional competition horse. This is because, in their competitive life, they indeed are subjected to higher physical and psychological stress.

  • As for the wild horse breeds

The wild horse breeds that are derived centuries ago from fleeing domestic horses, can exceed 35 years on the other hand. There will be no existence for the original wild horses. Much from the native wild horses having been exterminated or domesticated by the humans, almost every existing breeds today come from the escaped domestic horses. It is the general query that how long do horses live and you have the answer here now.

It is very complicated to predict an equivalent in human years to the horse’s age as separate races will have different characteristics and life expectancies. To precise correspondence tables, opinions differ on this subject.

Record ages reached by horse and pony

  • The oldest horse in the world

The Old Billy horse expired in 1822 at the age of 62, a record he achieved by becoming the oldest horse in the world today, born in 1760 in the British village of Woolston and bred by Edward Robinson.

  • The oldest pony in the world

Sugar Puff lived in England in Sussex obtained from the cross between a Shetland Pony and Exmoor. He is the oldest pony in the world and died at the age of 56.

Old age in horses

  • When is a horse considered “old”?

One year of life is corresponding to approximately 3.5 years of human age in younger horses. So, you can compare a 10-year old horse to a 30+ aged human. According to the age topped by the horse, this conversion factor varies. One year will correspond to about three human years for the older horses. It is something important to know when you question how long do horses live?

Therefore, to a human age equivalent to 60 years old, a horse can be of 20-years of age. When a horse reaches the age of about 20 years, it is when he is considered old. However, many of them are still in great condition, as it does not mean that all horses are 20 years and older.

What are the signs of horse aging?

The following are a few of the primary signs of your aging horse:

  • A sagging back with a prominent tourniquet
  • Loose skin and muscle wasting
  • Gray hair, mainly around the eyes, ears, mouth, as well as the forehead
  • Hazy eyes
  • A hollow face right above the eyes
  • Drooping lof the ower lip
  • Lameness due to weight loss
  •  or arthritis
  • Eating slows down, lacks appetite, chews hard due to lack of teeth

Ways to make your horse live longer and healthier

Let us check out ways in which you can take care of the age of your horse:


When you want to know how long horses live, you should not forget that a good diet guarantees a  longer life for your equine companion, which is similar to humans. It allows them to grow and develop well physically and mentally, thereby increasing their lifespan with the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, calcium, and other supplements provided the inadequate amount in the horse’s diet.

Younger foals need external feeds that can also be given as milk replacement as they need most of their nutrition from the mare. The diet of the adult horses is an pivotal part of their lifestyle that mainly defines their health along with their overall being, whether it is a domestic or a racehorse, as they graze easily through the pastures.

Horse diet to know how old horses live, the diet cannot be planned or calculated on charts. However, you can form a healthy diet for your equine friend of any age through a good quality of herbage added with essential nutrients in the form of pellets.


It is as important as any diet or physical exercise for the well-being of your horse and its longevity with its exposure to the outdoors. Nature has designed animals not to be locked inside a barn but to roam freely. It tones their muscles and keeps them fresh and active with their freshness and freedom of an open area.

While knowing how long do horses live, it is important to know that the older ones are kept inside and are refrained from doing so will make them sick, mainly if there are any visible signs of arthritis. Therefore, to keep them in shape despite age-related issues, outdoor activity or a mere stroll a few times each day is very important.


Dental care is important to its overall longevity and health, believe it or not. But, on the other hand, deteriorating health being observed that stems from the lack of nutrition, since they are unable to chew properly owing to dental issues often enough.

You need to have an eye on this aspect to ensure the horse doesn’t fall sick prematurely, as wear and tear of the teeth is inevitable with age, though. It can lead to malnourishment with their inability to masticate properly. The horse can face colic issues with the larger chunks of foods that remain undigested as they can choke through it. It is important to know this while finding out how old do horses live.


You can stay updated with what’s going in your horse’s system, along with any issues that could be nipped within the bud with proper medication and treatment with regular checkups. To have a long healthy life, they need deworming and parasite control medicine to avoid any serious ailments, so parasite control in horses is equally important while you explore the question of how long do horses live.

Specific health problems of old horses

  • Dental problems

The teeth in horses grow back from 2 to 3 millimeters per year as they have their mechanism to compensate for wear on the dental table. Eventually, their teeth wear and fall out completely is something you should know when you question how long do horses live.

Older horses have a lot of issue with chewing their food properly, which causes swallowing and poor digestion problems often.

There are often ridges and sharp edges on the remaining teeth. While eating, it can cause tongue and cheek injuries and cause pain too. Older horses even suffer from root issues and gingivitis. Your vet should remove the teeth of your horse immediately. If your horse does not have any teeth at all, do not panic. This fact is important when you want to know how old do horses live.

  • Osteoarthritis

Old horses are very often affected by osteoarthritis is something you should know while asking how old do horses live as it can sometimes affect one but often several joints of your horse. It disappears after a few minutes of exercising as your horse gets into its legs results in lameness and stiffness.

Symptoms worsen in cold, wet weather generally. Osteoarthritis can be slowed by certain medications but cannot be cured. However, pain reliever harpagophytum can relieve your horse along with fairly decent food supplements.

  • Hormonal imbalances

Playing the most important role in several bodily functions, the pituitary gland is a hormonal gland in the brain. Unfortunately, there is often degeneration of this gland, causing a series of symptoms in the older horses, such as:


  • A tendency to drink more water
  • A tendency to urinate in larger quantities
  • Liver and kidney damage

While asking how long do horses live, it is to be noted that it is quite common for a horse to come across changes in its liver and kidneys. As an outcome, these bodies can no longer work properly to perform their functions as an outcome.

Horses will lose their appetite and weight, which you may be able to compensate for with a change in diet initially. Your horse may also have behavior and become nervous, go around in circles, and press his head against the wall at a more advanced stage. Call your vet immediately if you are suspecting a liver or a kidney issue. To make a diagnosis, he will perform few tests and suggest the best procedure to follow along with knowing how old do horses live.

  • Tumors

At this point it is much less evident in horses than in humans, with certain types of tumors appearing more frequently with age. However, they are quite rare, except for sarcoid tumors and melanomas. Sarcoids can appear all over the body, appearing like warts. Melanomas are gray-coated horses usually found on the mouth, eye, and around the anus, happening to the older ones.

  • Impact on reproduction

As the horse ages, fertility decreases. Both in mares and stallions, hormonal changes eventually lead to sterility. In the castrated horses, inflammation and swelling of the urethra can occur, leading to difficulty in urinating.