While a horse passes its physical peak at about ten to fifteen years, a domestic horse can live between 25 to 33 years. This age is much older than most domesticated animals. In recent years, the oldest recorded age of a horse was 56 held by a horse named Sugar Puff, according to Oldest.org.
Several factors affect how long your horse will live:
While some of these factors you can’t control, properly caring for your horse is essential to a long lifespan for your horse.
Do Some Horse Breeds Live Longer Than Others
Currently, there are over 300 breeds of horses in the world. As a general rule, larger horses live shorter lifespans. But other factors can affect a breed’s lifespan, such as type of work and susceptibility to illness.
The Human Society reported that the percentage of horses that live over fifteen years are:
- 57% of Morgans
- 52% of Arabians
- 30% of Quarter Horses
- 25% of Saddlebreds
- 15% of Painted horses
- 15% of Standardbreds
Morgans live long because they genetically are not prone to illness like other breeds, don’t get leg problems, and are easy to care for, according to the American Morgan Horse Association.
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How to Determine a Horse’s Age
The University of Missouri states that you can determine a horse’s age by examining its teeth. Four ways you can tell by teeth appearance are:
- The occurrence of permanent teeth: The number of permanent teeth can help identify age. A horse generally has all their permanent teeth by age five.
- The disappearance of cups: At age six, cups in the lower jaw in the centers are worn reasonably smooth. And cups disappear completely by age fifteen.
- The angle of incidence: the incisors appear to slant forward and outward with older horses.
- The shape of the teeth’ surface: The surface of a horse’s teeth can change dramatically depending on their age.
Why Horses Are Living Longer
Horses are living longer because equine health and medicine have advanced significantly in recent years. By providing better care from caretakers and veterinarians, horses have a better chance of living a long lifespan.
Dental care for horses is one of the primary reasons horses live longer because it extends the life of a horse’s teeth, which allows them to get better nutrition. Abscesses and chronic mouth pain are two of the main reasons horses stop eating as they age. By caring for their teeth, you can prevent abscesses and teeth loss.
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How to Provide a Long and Healthy Life for Your Horse
There are many things you can do to increase the longevity of your horse. While these habits can significantly improve your horse’s health, they cannot prevent injury or some illnesses.
Care for Your Horse’s Teeth
Equus Magazine reports that a horse’s health declines quickly when their teeth are bad. Bad teeth lead to abscesses and chronic pain that make it difficult for your horse to eat. These problems reduce the number of calories and nutrients the horse gets every day and reduces their lifespan.
Feed Your Horse Frequent, Small Amounts of Healthy Food
Because horses by nature are grazers, it’s essential to feed your horse a frequent, small amounts of food. Allow your horse to forage on pasture grass or long-stem hay like alfalfa. This will help extend the life of your horse.
Unless your horse is pregnant or nursing, you’ll want to keep a strict healthy diet and avoid feeding your horse treats such as:
According to Rutgers Agriculture Department, you should give these treats sparingly and less the one to two pounds per serving.
It would be best if you fed your horse at least three times a day to simulate a grazing pattern. Slow Feeders also encourage small amounts of food throughout the day.
Keep Your Horse’s Vaccinations Current
Horses can get several illnesses that can cut short how long your horse lives. The best way to prevent illness is to maintain regular veterinarian visits and stay current on your horse’s vaccinations.
Horse Vaccinations prevent several illnesses that can harm your horse. According to the Merck Veterinarian Manual, horse vaccines prevent:
- Potomac Horse Fever
- Streptococcus Equi-Infection
- Equine Infectious Anemia
Unfortunately, vaccinations cannot prevent all illnesses. Some illnesses that can shorten your horse’s life are:
Regularly Exercise Your Horse
Just like humans, horses need to be active to live a long life. The exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous but more routine. The Federation Equestre Internationale recommends:
- Lunging or long reining five times a week for at least twenty to thirty minutes.
- Hacking or trail riding to build fitness.
- Hill work to increase muscle strength.
- Interval training of short bursts of high-intensity canter followed by walking.
Socialize Your Horse
Horses are herd animals and are happiest when they live and associate with other horses and their caretakers.
Spend Time With Other Horses
Horses need to be with other horses. If you do not own more than one horse, you’ll need to find ways for your horse to spend time with other horses. Allowing them to graze with friendly horses profoundly contributes to their satisfaction.
Spend Time With People
Horses need time with their caretakers. Spending time with your horse by grooming, petting, and talking to them positively affects their overall well-being, which helps extend their lifespan.
Caring for Your Horse Will Extend Its Lifespan
By following these tips, you’ll be able to extend the lifespan of your horse. Caring for the social, physical, and health needs of your horse is essential. To provide proper nutrition for your horse, you should consider adding a dietary supplement to your horse’s diet.
Rogue Pet Science uses only proven ingredients to create all-natural pet supplements and vitamins to improve your horse’s overall nutrition and gut health. Rogue Pet Science offers a natural, highly digestible, and nutritious Origins Equine 5 in 1 supplement to help extend the life of your horse.
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