Of Horse

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Oldest Horse Recorded by Guinness Book of World Records
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Oldest Horse Recorded by Guinness Book of World Records

Today most horses have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Advancements in veterinarian medicine and food production are believed to contribute to horses living longer healthier lives. In February 2012, at the ripe age of 51, an Irish-Draught cross gelding by the name of Shayne was listed as the oldest horse in the world by officials at the Guinness Book of World Records. Other horses may have lived longer, but were never verified by Guinness. Shayne’s age had been officially verified by veterinarians. Horse passports were introduced long after the birth of Shayne. At that time, papers only existed for purebreds.

The stallion with a coat of chestnut mingled with grey resided at the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary, near London, England in the commuter town and principal settlement of the Borough of Brentwood in the county of Essex. Retirement living was rather comfortable for the gelding with 40 acres to roam and four meals served each day. Caretakers at the horse sanctuary fed him a special diet to maintain his weight at 480kg. His diet consists of cabbage, sugar beets, alfalfa cubes, fiber and chaff.

Caretakers bragged that Shayne had a lively, frisky personality. The gelding made friends easily with human and horses alike. In January 2013, Shayne continued to enjoy a trot that occasionally broke into a gallop, although he did not move quite as well at the age of 51, as he had in decades past. For years, he passed veterinarian inspections with a clean bill of health, other than for some mild arthritis.

Sanctuary owner, Sue Burton, along with caretakers at the sanctuary had Shayne put to sleep after the horse collapsed on February 22nd, 2013. The horse went to sleep and was unable to rise after a nap. Shayne is missed at the sanctuary and by horse lovers around the world. 


*Photo courtesy of Horsemart Co. UK.

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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted! 51?? That's amazing! I would never have guessed horses could live so long.
    1. Archippus
      Chestnut Mare, generally a horse that has received excellent care may live to be 30 or so. Thanks for the vote!
  2. TomCat
    I like knowing these facts. Keep it up.
    1. Archippus
      Thanks TomCat for the support!
  3. pftsusan
    One of the Queen' s cats was in her thirties as of last year. Also this horse was living in England. I think that the owners take very good care of them. Thus they are loved and live longer.
    1. Archippus
      Excellent care definitely contributed to the longer life. Thanks Susan for the vote!
  4. immasweetiepie
    Beautiful article but made me sad when I read he died! RIP you wonderful horse!
    1. Archippus
      Sorry Lori, I didn't mean to make you sad and know how much you love animals! Thanks for the support!
  5. Julie Sinclair
    That is very interesting information and also a long time for a horse to live.
    1. Archippus
      Researching this article was very enjoyable. Thanks for the vote and comment!
  6. jst4horses
    My friend had a 43 year old pony, and my horseshoer had a 40 something year old mustang. We had a 40 year old thoroughbred off the Arab quarter mile circuit. He had run, was put out to stud for over 13 years, then sold at auction, still uncut, then put into another auction where a friend of ours bought him for a parade horse. His feet were rotted off. It took us two years with vet and shoer working with us (I was taking care of the horse for his owner) before he could be reshod. He spent a couple of years not getting trained enough for parade, just ran off, and was sold to another friend and his girlfriend a trainer. He was great with little kids in the round corral with a lead...........I rode him no problem, bareback in the round corral, often with just a progress string on his neck. LUCKILY. He then took off up a mountain and barely missed going over the cliff with the man's girlfriend, a trainer, and back to the auction. I felt sad for him, and bought him so he did not go to the trippers, he had just been cut, and was still really stallion, thick neck, and big shoulders looking. It took two or three years for a friend who was a retired exercise rider, and myself to work with him, we called it upsy/downsy training one riding, the other with him on a lead after I made the mistake of saddling him up and taking him into the rodeo arena on the site. He would take off, full speed, three times around, and slam to a stop. He did that twice, and then I was ready and dismounted before he took off again. We figured out he also had a HUGE scarred area, someone had either used barbed wire as a bit, or wrapped a bit with barbed wire to try and control him, long before my friend bought him. No wonder he never had any control, the minute the bit hit, the horse exploded. SO, back to square one, and halter training only. He finally did get it, and was working with equine therapy kids the entire time, so sweet and gentle as long as in the round corral and on a line. He is featured in the inclusionary book "Carousel Horse" and lived to be 40 before we ran into an overzealous animal control officer who said "he would be long ago eaten in the wild" and forced us to put him down. Our own vets, two of them had known and taken care of the horse for track trainers, and owners, and stud farm owners, and us, had been with him lifelong, but she would not let our vets and high risk kids say good bye to him, or let his own vets put him down (THEY said, yes, he is old and frail, but he is happy and has a good quality of life) He was allowed to roam the stables when we were there, and everyone loved to bring him treats and brush or bathe him. He would jump and run with joy and go graze every day when let out. My heart was broken when that woman killed him. I was volunteering for the Mayor who was then running for office, and we decided not to sue for our losses and heartbreak, but did move our whole program to another county. We, horsemen need to make sure that non-horse people do NOT get to make decisions on when it is time for our horses to be put down. That particular horse has had put down signed documents with out vets for over ten years, just in case he had an emergency and they could not reach one of our Directors, so he would never suffer, but he was happy, and giving love and healing to many kids and vets and one mean woman who thought a horse no longer able to perform or be on the trail should be put down because in the wild it would be eaten long before should NOT be making those choices. It has left a horrible pain in my soul, let alone my heart, and the hearts of our therapeutic riders as well.
  7. lillysedrick
    It is amazing that this horse was able to live for so long. This is definitely one healthy horse. I would love to be able to have a horse that is in that good of shape. I definitely bet that his really good diet had a huge impact on his long age. http://MIDWAYFORAGE.COM
  8. HerptyDerp
    Uh, the longest lived horse actually lived to be 64 years old, and he wasn't pampered like Shayne probably was. But he wasn't 'verified' by 'Guiness World Records'. Though there is still plenty of evidence.

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