"How long do horses live?"

Cortez

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I've had a lot of horses under my care. I've seen perhaps more death than the average owner, everything from aborted foals to catastrophic injury resulting in euthanasia, horses drop dead whilst I've ridden them, mares and foals die foaling, horses attacked by cougars and bears. But the very worst things I've seen are horses kept alive too long by "loving" owners too selfish to do the right thing and make that call. An horse old beyond it's natural span is not a happy being.
 
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hobo

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Gosh that is really sad Ycbm a lot of sudden deaths. I have only ever kept horses where I have worked or lived on farms so I guess I have not been in contact with as many as those of you that work with horses or kept them at yards.

Bit of a grim thread really but so is life sometimes.
 

Kamikaze

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I usually say mid 20’s if people ask but it is so hard to answer. Sultan a 15.2 Anglo Arab died of old age at 38 (stroke perhaps). I lost Minto in an accident at 21 although he was semi retired with arthritis. And Soli at 10 to an accident. Abbey was early 20’s at a guess and probably was old age with arthritis in her neck.
 

conniegirl

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Another question how many of you have had a horse die ie not put down? Mine have all been put down 2 x 5 years , 3 x mid twenties.
Ive had 2 die on me outright.
one dropped from a heart complaint right in front of me aged 7 whilst i was lunging him.
another ruptured his diaphragm in the field and passed away aged 20.

Ive also had 2 PTS who would have died within hours.
a 36yr old pony Who’s organs had started shutting down, he would have died within a A few hours according to vet but we chose to give him the dignity of not going that way.
A 19yr old who ruptured his bladder sometime between morning checks and 6pm, he came into his stable and collapsed. Both the vet and I strongly suspect if i had been an hour longer we would have found him dead in the field.

ive had 2 PTS due to colic, aged 19 and 28.

and I’m about to have a 10yr old PTS due to severe arthritis.
 

Reacher

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I hate being asked the question too - especially if I have an older horse at the time. If someone asks my horse’s age I sometimes reply “old enough to know better” and they often don’t bother asking again. My ridden horse is (touch wood) a fit sound 16y overgrown pony (15hh) and I’m still sensitive about his age!
 

ycbm

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Ahh this topic scares me. My first pony is now approx 30. The past couple of years she’s really started showing her age so I know we’re not that far away... (although her behaviour and attitude says otherwise!)
I do hope that she just passes away naturally but I feel like that’s unheard of nowadays.
Please don't hang on hoping nature will take this decision out of your hands. Nature is not kind. Death from old age is not kind. If the horse isn't "lucky" enough to have a quick illness or heart attack, it's a lingering process of increasing pain, feeling unwell and disability.

The kindest thing an owner who truly loves their horse can do is to put their own pain aside, and give their old horse a dignified, pain free and peaceful death while they are still coping.

I know it's hard, but it's the last kindness you can do your pony.
.
 

JanetGeorge

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Only the good die young, as the saying goes, which is why Shitlands live for-effing-ever..!!!!!! 😂😂🙈🙈😱😱😈😈
Yep - I'd agree with that! The oldest pony I have known was with me for only 6 weeks - and was nearly PTS before he went on to Equine Market Watch Sanctuary where he lived in good health for the next 11 years. He was 41 - the state of him when he came to me made THAT a near miracle - skin and bone, due to teeth not being done for at LEAST 5 years, and riddled with worms. The oldest my Irish Draughts get to is 25-26: causes of death - usually colic, or system getting old and dysfunctional, and a couple went VERY quickly from a massive heart failure having been in 'good health' until a moment before!
 

Rosietaz

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Please don't hang on hoping nature will take this decision out of your hands. Nature is not kind. Death from old age is not kind. If the horse isn't "lucky" enough to have a quick illness or heart attack, it's a lingering process of increasing pain, feeling unwell and disability.

The kindest thing an owner who truly loves their horse can do is to put their own pain aside, and give their old horse a dignified, pain free and peaceful death while they are still coping.

I know it's hard, but it's the last kindness you can do your pony.
.
Of course I wouldn’t just wait if it was what was needed for her! Currently she’s sound and happy so I don’t need to make any decisions yet, but I know that will change eventually.
 

Shilasdair

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Just to depress all of you horse slaves further - the oldest pony I knew was 44 years old - always in the same two families so no doubt about age.
So you may have a LOT of poo picking ahead of you. :D
 

Tarragon

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My two ponies are full brothers aged 22 and 15 and I am 58. I am sort of hoping that I will still be riding my youngest in 10 years time, and that we will slow down and grow old together. My older pony is still in fine fettle, though he has Cushings, and ridden and driven regularly and will probably still be doing the same for a few more years.
 

Surbie

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I haven't known any die, all the ones I've known have been PTS. At the RDA we have had quite a few oldies. Most make it to their mid-late twenties and have to be put down for failing health or colic. My friend was gently riding her 15hh mare till she was 36, and then had another 2 years in the field as a lawnmower. At the other end of the scale another friend had to put down her 7yo mare after less than a year of ownership.
 

monte1

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we have a companion mare in the field with mare and foal and she is aged 42 - she is slower and needs a bit more food and TLC than a younger one, but is still alert, loves life eats rolls drinks and sleeps, so while she is happy let her be. she is also an excellent nanny for the foal :)
 

PapaverFollis

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I would count being PTS due to colic as a "natural cause" really because you are pre-empting an imminent painful death. Whereas a horse PTS due to lameness may have actually hobbled about for much longer but we make the decision to save them the stress a prey animal must feel in that situation as well as the pain of the lameness itself.
 

ester

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I get asked this question a fair bit too, even though when I say F is 27 they have said wow, so must have a vague idea?!

I usually qualify the answer as ponies v. horses.
 

abbijay

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I think this is two different questions.

What is the average age of death of a horse from any reason

and

What is the average age of death from old age of a horse.

I think the answer to the first question is about 15. I did a survey on the forum a long time ago and it confirmed that sort of age. Personally, I've lost ones at 15, 10, 10, 9, 8, and 4 in the last 40 years.

The answer to the second is around 25/6/7, with expected lifetime being shorter, in general, the bigger the horse.
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Yes!
i think the question others ask me is the 2nd one but the one I actually want to know the answer to is the first one. In short, has my clydesdale at 17 years old already fared better than half the equine population? I look back at pictures from his showing days as a 7 and 8 year old and realise that almost all the other horses in the pictures are no longer with us. Most of them were a similar age to him (plus or minus 2 years) in the pictures.
 

exracehorse

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Difficult one as many are pts due to colic. Injuries etc. It’s how many live to a ripe old age and then just can’t carry on. One on my yard was late 39 when he was pts but that was because he has zero teeth and couldn’t get up due to arthritis. Unfortunately most are lost at a young or middle age due to other factors. My mare is 21 but her father was 40 when he was found dead in the field. So ... I will be 72 if she lives that long !
 

Flame_

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I always say to people that their natural lifespan is until about 30 but they're very fragile and if they are ill or injured, which they frequently are, they're a lot less likely to recover and survive than people are.
 
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