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.