How Long Do Horses Live

The lifespan of horses varies depending on the environment, care, and the type of breed. With advancements in veterinary medicine and improved animal care, the average life expectancy of domestic horses and ponies has increased, ranging from 25 to 32 years. Some horses can live into the 40s and beyond, like the 19th-century horse ‘Old Billy’, the oldest horse on record that died at the age of 62 years.

Horse Lifespan: Wild vs. Domestic

Wild horses live for about 15-16 years, which is considerably less than the average lifespan of domestic horses, including Miniatures, Warmbloods, and Racehorses that live for 25-35 years. It is most likely because wild horses are more prone to bacterial and viral diseases. They may also succumb to starvation or become a target for predatory animals.

What is the Average Lifespan of Some Common Horse Breeds

Smaller breeds like the Arabian usually live more than the heavier and bigger ones such as the Draft horses, though there are exceptions.

Breed

Average Lifespan

(years)

American Quarter Horse

20-25

Percheron

25-30

Belgian Draft Horse

25-30

Icelandic Horse

25-30

American Paint Horse

30-31

Norwegian Fjord

20-25

Appaloosa

29-30

Arabian Horse

25-30

Clydesdale Horse

20-25

Friesian

16-18

Gypsy

20-25

Tennessee Walking Horse

28-30

Mustang

15-20

There are many ways to calculate a horse’s age by comparing it to human years. But they are hardly accurate and just give a rough idea, as horses mature in a different way than humans. 

List of Oldest Horses and Ponies in the World

1. Old Billy

(Big Cob/Shire Stallion)

62 years (1760-1822)

2. Sugar Puff (Shetland-Exmoor pony cross)

56 years (1951-2007)

3. Badger (Arab-Welsh cross)

51 years (1953-2004)

4. Shayne (Irish Draught)

51 years (1962-2013)

5. Scribbles (Unknown pony)

About 51 years (1958-unknown)

6. Orchid (Thoroughbred-Arabian cross)

49/50 years (1964/65-2015)

7. Magic (Polish-Arabian cross)

About 46 years (1969-unknown)

8. Prospect Point (Thoroughbred)

38 years (1978-2016)

 

Interesting Facts

  • By looking at a horse‚Äôs teeth, an experienced horse owner can determine its approximate age.
  • An aging horse can sometimes grow grey hairs around their muzzles and eyes, and develop age-related conditions like arthritis.