From new life to death, the life cycle of a horse is fascinating. These beautiful animals have a unique journey from the time they are born until they enter their senior years. While most horse owners don’t get to see their horse go through all of the stages, it can be enjoyable to see at least a few of them. Take a look!
On average, a mare carries her baby for a little over eleven months. The birth process typically takes under an hour. And within a few minutes, the foal is able to stand.
Colts and fillies enter their first stage of life as a foal. These young horses will grow quickly during their first year of life. As early as ten to fourteen days old, the youngster may show interest in solid food. Around four to six months of age, the foal will be weaned from its mother.
A yearling, or one year old, has a lot of growing to do. Growth spurts can leave their hindquarters two to three inches taller than their withers. They start growing into those long legs and filling out.
Two Year Old
As the horse matures, their growth plates will begin to close. Certain breeds are slower to mature, but some may reach close to their adult height at this age. The horse is also likely to be inquisitive. Their mental capacity is developing and training may begin.
Once the horse reaches the age of four, they’re usually considered an adult. While some slow maturing breeds will still be growing, most will reach their adult size by four to five years old. Many owners will begin riding their horse at the age of three to four. Adulthood is often your horse’s prime years.
It isn’t until the age of twenty that most horses are considered seniors. Some may exhibit elderly signs as young as fifteen. As the horse enters their later years, they may struggle with weight maintenance, joint pain, and other conditions of old age. Many are still happily ridden throughout their twenties though.
Similar to most mammals, life begins in the womb and ends with old age. Cherish each and every moment if you’re lucky enough to see a horse go through these stages!