Lifespan: How Long Do Horses Live

Last Updated on September 17, 2020 by Allison Price

Caring for a horse has a lot of factors. You need to decide where to house them and who will tend to their medical needs and their hooves. You’ll have to think how much you will ride your horse and what type of feed you will give them. There are many other things to consider throughout the life of your horse. So, it’s normal for horse parents to think – how long do horses live?

Not that long ago, 25 years was considered old for a horse already. But because of the better understanding of health and medical care… they are living longer than ever. Now, the lifespan of horses has increased. Because we take better care of them. We want our horses to stay with us for as long as possible.

How long do horses live?

Horses are living longer than ever with better veterinary care. Just as better health care extends the life of humans. If your horse is healthy, you can expect him to stay with you for over 25 years. A horse that is over 30 years of age is not uncommon anymore.

Domestic horses that are cared for as pets will have the chance of living a long time. Because they don’t have to worry about access to feed. And they usually have regular care.

A racehorse will probably have a shorter life. Not because they are not well-cared for. But because they have many life-ending traumas.

Does breed determine how long they live? No, the breed of horse won’t make a difference in the lifespan of the horse. But smaller horses like ponies tend to live longer than average-sized horses.

Helping your horse live longer

The cornerstones of good equine health are:

  • Good nutrition
  • Attention to health
  • Socialization with other horses
  • Regular exercise

It may sound simple. But these guidelines are often taken for granted. Follow these tips to help your horse live longer.

Feed your horse often but not too much

In the wild, horses eat small amounts of grass and other plants to keep them healthy. We can’t copy the wild but we can get close to it. And keep from overdoing the calories so your horse stays at a healthy weight. Because that is one way to prolong the life of your horse.

  • Feed the right kind of food

Avoid feeding your horse grains like oats and corn. Unless he needs the concentrated calories. Especially if they’re a growing colt. Or if they’re nursing and need extra calories to produce milk.

  • Feed your horse at least twice a day

This is the least. It is better to feed your horse at least three times a day to come close to the pattern in the wild. It’s ideal if your horse is put out to pasture. But if not, you can get a slow feeder.

  • Do not overdo the calories

Most pet horses are overweight. It’s a combination of too much food and not enough exercise. Counting calories is tough! Here’s an easier way to calculate the right amount of food:

your horse needs 1.5 to 2 percent of their body weight per day in feed.

There is also another way to tell if your horse is at a healthy weight. If you can feel his ribs and not see them.

Take care of the health of your horse

Our horses can suffer from a variety of illnesses. Some of them can be prevented. How? It is by making sure your horse gets vaccinations on schedule. Also, make sure they get dewormed if they need it. And that their teeth and hooves are taken care of.

Even so, your horse can still get these common diseases. And these can sometimes cut short the average lifespan of your horse:

  • Colic. Your horse can get abdominal pain if he is not eating the right kind of feed. To avoid this, feed your pet frequently. Don’t feed much grain. And make sure they get regular exercise.
  • Arthritis. We don’t know how to prevent this. But regular exercise is important.
  • Laminitis. This painful disease affects your horse’s hooves. But some of its causes have to do with what your horse eats. Don’t overfeed them. And don’t let your horse get overweight.
  • Thrush or abscesses. You and your vet or farrier should pay attention to your horse’s hooves and make sure they are okay. Follow any recommendations for trimming or shoeing. This is to keep their hooves in good health.

Make sure your horse moves

It’s not the intensity of the exercise that’s important. It’s just the ability to move. If you lunge your horse for 20 minutes a day, go on a trail ride. And leave them in a big pen during the day and the stall at night.

If you board your horse, the boarding staff should make sure to give your horse the exercise he needs. It will keep their body in good working condition. And it can prolong your horse’s lifespan.

Let your horse socialize with other horses

Horses like to live together. Because they’re herd animals.

In stalled cases, it’s helpful to let horses be able to see each other. It means a place where they can hang their heads out of the stall.

If your horse has a couple of companions they like to hang out with, put them out to graze together. It’s good for them to hang out with their friends. Although you want to avoid putting strange horses together. Because they might not get along.

Also, horses need time with their caretakers. So, spend some time grooming your horse. Pet them and tell them what a great pet they are.


Many horses live to be over 30 years old. And even much longer than oldest cats or dogs. They live beyond the age of 30 with good care. Some mature or senior horses are still ridden or driven lightly. The tips to help your horse live longer are also necessary for their well-being. Both the mental and physical. So, they can live a happy and healthy life no matter what the average lifespan of a horse is.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!