8 Oldest Horses in History: Old Billy, Shayne and More

Horses are fascinating creatures that have remarkable lifespans. They can usually live for around 25-30 years. However, some of the oldest horses in history have lived a lot longer than that, even twice as long!

If you’ve ever asked yourself questions like what’s the oldest horse in the world, then this one’s for you. 

The Oldest Horses in History

Hearing about a horse that is 30 and still thriving is very rare, but did you know that there have been many horses that have lived even past the age of 50 years! In fact, there are a handful of them that we’ll be covering in this article.

So without further ado, here are the oldest horses in history.

1. Old Billy – The World’s Oldest Horse

Who doesn’t know Old Billy; he holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest horse ever, living to the ripe age of 62. Billy was born in 1760, in an English village – Woolston in Lancashire Country. Although there is no record of his breed, Old Billy resembled a cob/shire horse. At the time of his death, Old Billy was owned by Mersey and Irwell Navigation. He was their barge horse and worked from the age of 2 till 30.

Although Old Billy’s birth wasn’t recorded, his death generated a lot of commotion, as he went down as the oldest horse in history. Two years after his death, his head was taxidermied and presented to the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museums.

2. Sugar Puff

Source: Horse and Hound

Sugar Puff might be remembered as one of the longest living horses, but that’s not all he is famous for. The sweet pony is also remembered as the most loving and amiable creature that taught numerous children to ride at school fetes.

Sugar Puff was put down in 2007 when his body suddenly gave up and the vet couldn’t do anything to help him. His owner Sally Botting had him from the age of 29 till the day he died at 52. 

3. Badger

Source: BBC News

At 51 years of age, Badger came close to being recognized as the oldest horse ever. In fact, BBC reports that during his last few years, he was the oldest living horse of the time. And he was a tough one too, as he was at the brink of starvation when Julianne Aston rescued him. The rescue team was amazed at the will-power of the old horse that refused to die in such dire conditions.

How did Badger end up in such horrible conditions? Well, past records show that a Welsh riding instructor initially owned him as a show horse. His owners changed twice before he was left as a useless horse at the livery yard in the year 1997. However, after being rescued, his life was as happy as could be.

Badger the horse passed away in 2004, healthy and happy at the Veteran Horse Society.

4. Shayne

Source: Daily Mail

Shayne, an Irish Draught, is another horse that lived a lot longer than what one might expect. A possible reason for his long lifespan could be the presence of Thoroughbred genes in his bloodline. He was put down at the age of 51 in 2013, as his arthritis got so worse that he couldn’t even get up. Shayne came from Brentwood Essex, England, and passed away at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary.

Albeit his fight with arthritis, he didn’t give up and enjoyed his fresh air gallop till the last day. Now that’s a feisty horse! 

5. Magic

Source: Horse and Man

Magic, until recently, was the oldest horse alive when it came to registered Arabian Horses in the US. However, she died in 2020 at the ripe age of 51.

Magic is an incredible horse that competed in many pole bending and barrel racing competitions. And she was pretty darn good at it, too. It’s reported that she received seven awards in her last competition!

Magic was a Polish Arabian; a breed that’s known for its longevity. In fact, she was blessed with some fine genes as well since her mother lived for 44 years as well. We can only hope that the 7 foals that Magic had would also live a lustrous life, just like their mother.

6. Scribbles

Source: BBC News

The last we heard about Scribbles was in 2009 when he had lived for 51 years. It’s believed that his remarkable age is a result of his special food mix and cod liver oil diet. What we do know about this horse is that he was born in 1958 in Cornwall, England. 

What we don’t know is whether he’s still alive or not. If Scribbles is still alive, then he would have unofficially broken the record for the oldest horse in history

7. Orchid

Source: Mirror

There’s some dispute as to how old the famous mare Orchid really was. Some say she was 49, while others claim she was 50, arguing whether she was born in 1964 or 1965. Regardless, this Thoroughbred mixed Arabian went down as one of the oldest horses in history when she passed in the year 2015.

It’s regrettable that this magnificent horse suffered a lot of abuse before she was recused and brought to Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary to spend her final days in peace.

8. Prospect Point

Gail Earle was the owner of Prospect Point, the oldest known Thoroughbred in history. Born in 1978, this feisty race horse lived to the age of 38 before he was euthanized in 2016. Prospect Point’s racing career was as commendable as his age, allowing him to win $28,553 in prize money over the years. After retiring Prospect from racing, his owner used him as a show-jumper for many years before retiring him as a pasture horse.

FAQs About the Oldest Horses in History

So, there you have it, folks! In this piece, we covered 8 of the oldest horses ever. I’m sure that this article made you curious about the average horse lifespan and its peculiarities. Here are a few questions that readers often ask us on this topic.

What age did the oldest horse live to?

The oldest horse in history, Old Billy lived to the age of 62 years, from 1760 to 1822. Old Billy was a barge horse that worked all his life. His only portrait, painted by W Taylor, is hanging at the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. You can also check out Old Billy’s skull at the Manchester Museum and his stuffed head at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bradford Museums. 

How old is a 27-year-old horse in human years?

A 27-year-old horse is 78 in human years. This is quite remarkable as an average horse can live up to 30 years. However, there have been many horses that even lived past 50.

A horse living such a long life will need to have an optimum environment and diet. Compared to the domesticated horses, the wild ones don’t live as long since they face rough conditions and greater competition in the herd.

Can you ride a 20-year-old horse?

One can ride a 20-year-old horse if the horse is healthy. There was a time when 20 was considered to be “old” for a horse. However, with advancement in veterinary services and horse care, most 20-year-old horses can still be ridden with ease. If your horse has received adequate health services throughout his life and hasn’t been overworked, then there’s no reason to believe that it can’t be ridden.

However, if your horse has joint problems or other health conditions that wouldn’ allow for excess physical work, then you might want to let your horse relax in the pasture and trot around when it feels like it.

How old is a six-year-old horse in human years?

A six-year-old horse is around 26 human years old. Horses usually reach physical maturity by 4 years of age. Around this time, they can be considered in their prime and will continue to live their strongest days till they reach 15 years, after which their performance will slowly start to decline.

How old can a horse get?

The average lifespan of a horse suggests that a horse can usually live up to 30 years old. However, Old Billy, the oldest horse in history, lived till the age of 62. Hence, that’s what’s considered the upper extreme. However, most horses won’t see their 30s, even if they are well cared for. Your horse’s age and lifespan greatly depend on the care, food and exercise it receives.

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