What Is the Average Lifespan of a Horse?

The average lifespan of a horse is about 25-30 years. However, some horses can live much longer, with a little luck and a lot of care. If you're interested in horses, whether you want to ride them, own them, or have a fleeting interest in them, here's everything you need to know about horses and how to improve their life. This article will cover horses' history, the different types, and what owners can do to give these majestic creatures the highest possible quality of life.

What Is the Scientific Name for a Horses?

There are a couple of scientific names for horses that are important for people interested in the subject.

Wild horses have the scientific name of the Equus ferus, which is a subspecies of the genus Equus. That broad genus encompasses donkeys, zebras, and horses. 

However, wild horses are not the same as the domesticated ones that you can find on farms all over this country. The scientific name of those horses is Equus ferus caballus. These are the horses with which most of us are familiar, at least to some extent.

The History of Horses

Horses have a fascinating history. The species that we have today were likely domesticated somewhere between 4,000 and 3,000 BC in Eurasia. Interestingly, despite their prominence in many historical stories, plays, and documents, there isn't much history on horses otherwise. Scientists cannot say with 100% certainty how or why those people approximately 5,000 years ago decided to domesticate these powerful creatures.

The origin of horses, however, is much more definitive. Historical documents show that over 100,000 years ago, people hunted horses for meat and bones (for making tools). These primitive cultures stayed near places with wild horses and would hunt them for meat, often driving them off a cliff for a grizzly demise.

After some time, people began to keep these wild horses within fences. These steps would have been the first step toward domestication. The average lifespan of a horse, compared to a dog's lifespan, was likely quite a bit less than it is today because these animals would have endured many hardships that contemporary horses don't have.

The Idea of a Horse for Travel

Historically, people have used horses for travel. That idea didn't happen until about 3,000 to 2,000 BC. However, once it did catch on, it caught on fast! Within about 1,000 years, people were using these magnificent creatures for travel in Asia and Europe. 

For the longest time, this quickly became one of the primary uses for horses. History is replete with characters riding horses from town to town!

Modern-Day Uses for Horses

Now, horses have a multitude of uses. People still keep horses for work and riding. Some law enforcement agencies still have horses to patrol remote regions that would be difficult to travel to with a car. Ranchers still use horses to help herd cattle, just like what herding dogs dog do, and do other tasks that would be tough to do without the nimbleness and speed that a horse provides.

People keep show horses, as well. Equestrian sports are still a reasonably big deal around the world. Most people can find these equestrian sports on their local sports channels from time to time.

Of course, there's also horse racing, which still attracts millions of dollars in wagers every single year. Many people watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby in the US, one of the year's most significant horse racing events. While horse racing remains popular, unfortunately, it is not the best for the welfare of the animals. Many animal welfare agencies point out that horse racing is inhumane for quite a few reasons. Despite these concerns, though, it still goes on in most parts of the world.

What Affects the Average Lifespan of a Horse?

Owners can positively or negatively influence the lifespan of their horses by making choices.

To have your horse live the longest, you'd want to make sure they have a high-quality diet. Any pets need better food for them to have a longer life. According to Penn State University, horses should have the best alfalfa or grass roughage, combined with some grain. Horses should have plenty of water available whenever they want. The only exception to this is if your horse has overheated. Then, you should monitor their water intake so as not to overwhelm their systems.

You'll also want to be acutely aware of potential health problems that can develop with horses. There are five illnesses that you'll want to know and be on the lookout for - arthritis, gastric ulcers, colic, desmitis, and laminitis. While horses can survive most of these conditions, some of them, like colic, can be life-threatening under the right circumstances. If the horse has a twisted gut, then immediate surgery is necessary to save its life!

The Average Lifespan of a Horse Has Increased

From the early days when humans used to decrease the average lifespan by hunting to the modern days when many owners take their horses to vets to make them live longer, horses have always been alongside humans. Now, horses can live to be 25-30 years old with relative ease. If you're also interested in other types of animals, here are 5 pets that have the longest lifespan.

Additionally, with the right care and support, these animals can live for much longer. There have even been documented cases where horses live for upwards of 30-40 years! Although not particularly common, it can happen!

How long do horses live?

Horses live for quite a long time. If kept well and cared for, a horse will usually live to be 25-30 years old. As per the Guinness World Records, the longest living horse was Old Billy, who lived for 62 years.

Where do horses come from?

Horses have lived on this earth for more than 50 million years, according to science, and originate from North America. Fascinatingly, horses spread from North America to Europe and Asia and, 10,000 years ago, became extinct in North America. European settlers reintroduced them to this continent when they came over here.

How big is a horse?

Horses are quite substantial in size. They can be over five feet long from hoof to shoulder. With their big size comes an equally large weight. Horses can weigh as much as 2,200 lbs!

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Written by Leo Roux

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