How Long Do Race Horses Live?

As you think of getting yourself that racing horse, you’d ask yourself, how long will it live? With the work it does, can it keep you company for a long or short time?

Well, we are about to know. Here, we shall talk of this question, how long do racehorses live?

Many people think that the life of a racehorse only ranges when it’s on the race track. But that’s not the case. You’ll find that most racehorses are younger than one would think.

The way and how long a racehorse can live is not wholly different from other horses. Ready? Let’s find more about this as we start with the meaning of a racehorse.

What is a Racehorse?

What is a Racehorse

It’s simple. Any horse that you keep or raise to use on a racetrack is a racehorse. Whether you buy this horse or raise it from your stable, some things will show that a horse is indeed a racehorse.

What makes these horses unique is their body and how you raise them. As you care for one, remember that every sprinter horse spends most of its time in a stable unless it’s time for you to train it.

But if you are buying one, your focus should be on the horses’ body, balance, movement, and manners. These are the main things that can suit a horse to race. Take a look at short info about the specs of a racehorse.

  • Body

When looking at the body, ensure that the bones are in a good balance when you look at them from every angle. If the leg bones are weak, then that isn’t a racehorse. The feet and hooves show that a horse can carry its weight well while racing.

The body muscles also show if the horse is a racehorse or not. Its back legs and quarters should have strong muscles.

Still, on the body, a racehorse has a shiny coat. It shows that the horse always has good moods.

  • Balance

Also, the horse should have a proper body gait. So, the neck, hip, and back should be on an equal length. Without balance, it won’t race well on the field.

Most young horses have a good gait. This fact explains why people use them as racehorses.

  • Movement

Every racehorse should move well on any ground. The horse should give you an easy time as you ride.

Average Age for Many Racehorses

Average Age for Many Racehorses

You now know how you pick out a racehorse from a herd. But what is the average age that most racehorses live? Well, most of them live between 22 to 35 years old.

Remember, these horses can start to race even when they are two to three years old. Then from here, the kind of care the horse gets can help it live for long.

These horses in Australia and Europe tend to get old at 15 years. In the U. S., they get old at 20 years old. But it will depend on the breed.

Things that Determine How Long a Racehorse Can Live

How long a racehorse can live depends on the life of the horse. Remember, it’s the same way as other animals or even human beings.

But many factors can decide how long your racehorse can live. So, read to see the things that shape the racehorse’s age.

1. Genetics

Yes! An animal’s specs from the mare or the father can determine how long it can live. Remember, good genes are the key things to look for when checking for a racehorse’s lifespan. If both the male and female were good racehorses, then expect that the horse will have excellent features and for many years.

One of the main things that genetics determine in a racehorse is health. Better genes in the racehorse will show that it can stay in good health for a long time. The only worry now will be the injuries.

Other traits that a horse can get are fur color and texture, the structure of the muscles, and eye color. The parents can also decide if the racehorse is of larger or smaller weight. Remember, racehorses that weigh less tend to live longer than heavy ones.

Also, the racehorses that come from inbreeding tend to live shorter. The best example here is a Friesian racehorse breed. Though it has one of the best specs as a racehorse, it can only live for 16 years.

Genetics is the main factor. But keep reading to see the other elements.

2. Diet


Even if a horse has excellent specs, the kind of diet you give it will also determine how long it can live. Since they are a special kind of horse, you should be keen on what you give them.

At the start of their racing career, these horses will need more food. It will help them adapt well to the heavy task that will always come ahead of them. Remember, the feeds you give them will be like a life support system.

Also, the heavy diet that these young racehorses get will help them build their muscles. But what exactly should you feed these horses?

If you give them more vitamins, it will help the horses grow with a better immune system. Keep in mind that health will be vital to determine how the racehorse can live.

The proteins will help the horses repair any injuries they get from the races or anywhere else. It also keeps their muscles stronger and for longer.

These animals will need more minerals to help them have stronger bones, teeth, and muscles. So, they will race for long without problems.

Old racehorses also need quality hay food and vitamins. It will help them keep their weight, power, and health. These are the key things that will help the horse stay long, even when they are old.

If you keep giving your racehorse all the key nutrients it needs, expect it to have a long lifespan. A horse that gets a better feeding plan starting from a young age will live many years.

3. Exercise

Even though racehorses keep their bodies active, they’ll need to do more activities to keep them healthy and for a long time. The exercise shouldn’t be only physical. It would be best if you worked on the emotions of the horse.

If you always keep the racehorse alone in the stable, especially after a race, it won’t have sound emotional health. This move can make the horse even live longer.

Also, giving your horse hay in the stables isn’t bad. But before you take it for training. Would you please bring it to the herd and allow it to graze? It’s a simple form for it to exercise.

Remember, the horse can even become hard to train if it doesn’t exercise more. The result will mean that the horse will live for fewer years.

Racehorses that don’t move around for long will have weak legs. It’s because they tend to stand for long.

So, how long your racehorse will live depends on how much it exercises even after the races. The ones with lesser exercises tend to live for lesser years.

4. Check-Ups


It might seem small, but it can reduce the lifespan if you don’t keep checking on your racehorse. The horse that gets regular visits from a vet gets lesser risks of diseases.

A vet can come and see things you’ll fail to notice on your horse. Remember, with these checkups on the horse, the vet can even remove the parasites and check on the teeth. Poor teeth health can make the racehorse eat poorly.

Also, there might be some injuries that the vet can help you treat on the horse. Racehorses that get many checks from the vet or even you tend to live for many years.

Things to Expect from Your Racehorse as it Ages

As your racehorse keeps taking part in races, it will reach the peak age they start to age. You might still be giving it the care it needs, but it later gets old.

Just like human beings, some diseases can reduce the lifespan of a horse as it gets old. Could you take a look at them?

  • Heart issues

These problems are more familiar to racehorses that age. The heart valves can begin to have problems.

It will make the heart start working harder and later affect the horse.

  • Teeth Problems

As the horse ages, expect it to have tooth problems. These issues come from the diet, genes, and how you maintain the horse’s teeth.

Later the teeth will start to fall out. Then the racehorse won’t be able to eat. After that, it will die.

  • Muscles and Bone Problems

After racing for the better part of their lives, the muscles and bones will determine how long the racehorse will live. The tendons can have problems. But if you take care of the horse even during old age, it might live longer than you expect.


Racehorses tend to have a shorter lifespan than other horses. Well, it’s because they spend most of their time in life using more power to run. If you have one already, expect it to live for even up to 30 years.

If you are going to buy it for the first time, it’s easy to identify one. Look at the body, movement, and balance.

When the horse gets old, the lifespan can be cut short by some health problems. But if you keep caring for the racehorse, it can live for long.

So, do you have a racehorse or plan on buying one? How long do you expect the horse to live? Please feel free to share your experiences with us.

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