Ask A Scientist

How long do horses live?

Asked by: Andrew Tarcha
School: Maine Endwell Middle School
Grade: 6
Teacher: Mr. Wagstaff
Hobbies/Interests: Art 
Career Interest: Art teacher

Answer from George Catalano

Professor of Bioengineering, Binghamton University

Research area: Turbulence, Fluid Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Environmental Ethics, and Modeling Ecosystems, Predator-prey Modeling, Restoration of Wolves
PhD school: University of Virginia, Aerospace Engineering, 1977
Interests/hobbies: All things Italian, Creative Arts, Model trains & cars, Ducati motorcycles
Family: Wife, Karen, is a registered yoga teacher at Yoga for Everybody at the Orthopedic Associates; lives with 2 Alaskan Malamutes, four more in our hearts     

How long do horses live? Today it is not uncommon for horses to live beyond the age of 30 with good care. The average age is 28 years. Ponies tend to live longer with many ponies still living well into their 30's.

There exists an extraordinary collection of myths and facts about horses, their honored place in human history, and the mystique that has surrounded them in cultures around the globe. According to many scholars, horses have always held a mystical sway over the human imagination; it has inspired the same reverence or cross-cultural fascination.

North America was the original home of the horse species. They evolved here, and thrived here for over 50 million years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role. About 8,000 - 10,000 years ago they are believed to have become extinct in the land of their origin, although luckily by that time they had migrated to Asia, where they spread into Europe and North Africa.

The genus Equus, which includes modern horses, zebras, and asses, is the only surviving genus in a once diverse family of horses that included 27 genera.

Issues associated with the existence of wild horses in the Western U.S. today represents another clash between those who see Nature as a collection of resources to be used to serve humankind and those who hold the view that Nature by itself has value apart from what we may wish to do with it. Today's wild horse management issues are extremely complex - if you are looking for simplistic answers, you will not find them here. The best thing you can do is to continually educate yourself and make your own decisions. Talk to people, talk to ranchers, wild horse advocates, recreationists, hunters & fishermen, campers, bikers, field biologists and wild horse advocates. Go visit the range yourself if you can. See for yourself what it's like. Imagine for yourself a "thriving ecological balance”, one with wild horse and one without. 

Last Updated: 3/1/17