Some horses live quite a long life. The records for the oldest horse in the world are up around the 50 year mark and the longest-living horse ever that was a verifiable case was a certain “old Billy” – a British horse who lived until the ripe old age of 62 during the 19th century.
That was a truly exceptional case and any horse that survives until somewhere around the age of 50, but it seems like the British are good at producing horses with great longevity. One of them recently lived until 51. That horse was an Irish Draught Horse named Shayne and it died in 2013.
The next one to take up the mantle was an Arab-Thoroughbred called Orchid. This mare was in completely emaciated condition when she first arrived at a horse sanctuary in Essex, Southern England in 2012.
At that point, Orchid was not given too long to live. The general opinion was that she was lucky to have survived so long and that she would live out the very few days that she had left to live in the comfort and care of the people at the Remus Horse Sanctuary in Brentwood.
But it looks like Orchid had been waiting for this moment to shine for all her life. Instead of just fading away, she had a new lease of life and recovered to regain her full health. By early 2015, she has reached the age of 49 and is still flying.
She just loves to gallop, according to the owners of Orchid, even though the horse is almost completely blind.
The first thing that had the vets all stunned was the rapidity and completeness of her recovery but then they realized that she was also almost half a century old – something very rare in terms of a combination of events, for sure.
The founder of this great sanctuary is one Sue Burton. She told the British press how feeble Orchid was when she first entered their care. They had, she said, just plain given up any hope of Orchid every reaching anything like normal health again, when they found her lying on the floor, very emaciated and covered in sores.
Now, she can’t believe her eyes when she sees the same horse – well into its geriatric years – bucking, rolling and running around the place.
Her blindness doesn’t seem to be an obstacle of any kind and she carries on in positive fashion enjoying life as best she can. The extraordinary determination of the horse can be witnessed every morning when she bangs the door until she gets her food.
Just to put things in perspective, most horses live about 25-30 years on average. This kind of phenomenon is extremely rare. There was talk of a new owner bringing her down to southern Europe. Here, the mosquito control becomes an issue and horses in such areas where fly control is not as straightforward don’t tend to live quite as long, according to one expert. If she does have to go, then she will need plenty of pest control products and an owner who hopefully knows how to get rid of flies in house and home. Fly control for the elderly horse is of paramount importance.