Horse Lifespan


Author By Hope Horse

What is the average lifespan of a horse?

The average lifespan of a horse is between 30 to 35 years old. The oldest known horses can reach more than 60 years old. From birth, the first twelve months are considered foalhood. Up to five years old is considered young age, five to sixteen years old is considered middle age, and after sixteen years old is considered old age.


Horse life span compared to humans

Generally speaking, a one-year-old horse is equivalent to 12 years of human life, and a two-year-old horse is equivalent to 18 years of human life. From then on, each additional horse year is equivalent to three human years. Generally, the service time of purebred horses is 3-15 years old, up to 20 years old.


Ideal Activities for Horses at Different Life Stages

According to their ages, horses can participate in different activities. The ideal age range for speed racing is between 3 to 5 years old, for endurance racing it's between 9 to 11 years old, dressage is best suited for horses aged 10 to 18, and the optimal age for show jumping is between 8 to 15 years old.


How to determine the age of a horse

Without microchipping, we would judge a horse’s age based on their teeth.

(1) When a horse is born, it first grows milk incisors. Within 1-2 weeks, milk central incisors emerge, followed by milk intermediate incisors between 3-6 weeks, and milk corner incisors at 6-8 months. By observing the wear and black spots on the milk incisors, we can estimate the horse's age to be between 1-2 years old

(2) Subsequently, permanent teeth grow. At 2.5 years old, permanent central incisors erupt and replace the milk central incisors, at 3.5 years old, permanent intermediate incisors replace the milk intermediate incisors, and at 4.5 years old, permanent corner incisors replace the milk corner incisors. These teeth are permanent and do not change until they are completely worn out.

(3) Then, we can determine the horse's age based on the degree of disappearance of the black spots on the permanent teeth. For example, if the black pit of the mandibular incisor is 6mm, it will wear out by 2mm every year. It will start to wear out at the age of three, and wear 6mm in three years. In other words, it will be completely worn out at the age of 6 years. By analogy, according to calculations, when the black pits on the lower intermediate incisors disappear, it's seven years old, on the lower corner incisors it's eight years old. The black pits of the upper incisors are worn three years later than the lower incisors, so it is said that the age of nine when the black pits of the upper incisors are completely worn out. It is 10 years old when the black pits on the upper middle teeth are completely worn out, and 11 years old when the black pits on the upper corner teeth disappear.

(4) Finally, we can determine the age from 11 to 18 based on the time it takes for the permanent teeth to wear down. For instance, if the depth of the full incisor is 20mm, and it wears down by 2mm annually starting at three years old, it will take ten years to wear down completely. So, when it's thirteen years old, the lower incisor wears down completely. By analogy, the intermediate incisor disappears at fourteen years old, the lower corner incisor at fifteen years old, the upper central incisor at sixteen years old, the upper intermediate incisor at seventeen years old, and the upper corner incisor at eighteen years old.