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Average Lifespan of Common Horse Breeds Chart

Average Lifespan of Common Horse Breeds Chart

If you are a horse owner, you may be curious as to how long your horse may live. The average lifespan of a horse depends on a range of factors such as diet, exercise, environment.

However, no matter how well we treat a horse or how good its genetics are, it’s inevitable our beloved four-legged friend will pass on.

To give you an idea of how long you can expect your horse to live, here is a chart of the average lifespan of common horse breeds:

BreedLifespan (years)
American Cream Draft25-35
American Quarter Horse25-30+
American Saddlebred30-35
American Standardbred30-35+
Belgian Draft18-24
Cleveland Bay40+
Dutch Warmblood24-29
Gypsy Vanner28-33
Irish Sport Horse25-30
Norwegian Fjord30-35
Orlov Trotter25-30
Paso Fino28-33
Tennessee Walker25-30+
Welsh Cob35+
Welsh Pony35+

Factors Affecting a Horse’s Lifespan

Size Matters

As with dogs, and most other animals, the bigger the horse the shorter their lifespan tends to be. This counts for height as well as weight. For example, an Arab is likely to live longer than an American Quarter Horse because of their finer build. But a Fjord is likely to live longer than a Shire because of their height.

Besides the fact that smaller horses tend to be less injury prone because of shorter and often denser bones, they also need fewer nutrients to stay in tip-top shape.

That being said, there are some ponies that don’t live beyond 20 years and some drafts that are well over 30 years of age, so in the end, the lifestyle of the horse plays an equally important role.


The breed of a horse will determine the horse’s size and weight, which can impact their lifespan, but it also largely determines the type of life the horse will lead. For example, an Arab will probably be showed or do endurance.

An American Quarter Horse will most likely either be used as a show, rodeo, or working horse. And while endurance can be rough, a working cow horse has to put up with a whole lot more, without getting a routine vet check every set amount of miles.


Technically every horse has different nutritional needs. Two horses of the same breed may need slightly different types of food even if they do exactly the same type of work. This means that malnutrition is more common among horses than people realize.

On top of this, younger horses, especially those that are weaned young, are often deprived of valuable nutrients in their prime growing years.

But any horse that has had a nutrient deficiency at one point or another can take a serious hit that decreases their life expectancy.


Healthy horses can undergo a lot more than unhealthy ones, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell if a horse is unhealthy, or why they are.

If a horse doesn’t receive adequate care when they need it they can develop conditions that can take years off their life.

That being said, with adequate care, other horses have turned around at the grave and lived for many, many years after horrific accidents like losing an eye or even fracturing a pelvis.

4 Oldest Horses Ever Recorded

Some horses do get much, much older than expected.

These are some examples that give us hope that our equine friends will live forever:

Shayne the Big One (1962-2013)

So drafts aren’t supposed to live that long, bit Shayne is the exception that proves the rule. This exceptional daft even has statues in his memory.

The Official – Badger (1953-2004)

Written down as the official oldest horse by Guinness, Badger reached the ripe old age of 51. He was an Arab-Welsh cross, just furthering the point that with the right care and (cross)-breeding a horse can live a very good long time.

Sugar Puff (1951-2007)

This Shetland x Exmoor lived to the ripe old age of 56. Sugar Puff’s owner bought an “old timer” (29). Unbeknownst to her the resilient little tyke lasted another 27 years until his body gave out one afternoon.

Old Billy (1760-1822)

Considered the oldest horse that ever lived, Old Billy lived up to the ripe old age of 62 (give or take a year or two). He was an English cross-breed owned by Mercy and Irwell Navigation and he pulled barges for a living.

Just goes to show the crossbreed working horse can make it ALL the way in the right conditions.

How to Increase Lifespan of Your Horse

It’s pretty simple. Ask your vet for a nutritional plan for your horse based on their current condition. Your vet should be able to tell you which nutrients and foods will help maintain or improve your horse’s health.

Other than that, try to keep them as safe and well cared for as you can. Something as simple as having their hooves and teeth checked regularly can be all they need to live a glorious life because they will be able to walk and eat properly, something that makes all the difference.