Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
depends on how he vets, and if he's competed.
I've seen an appaloosa die at 22 of cancer, a thoroughbred stallion die at 19 of liver cancer, a two year old die of heart failure. My bo has a mare that was in an accident this spring in the pasture and is permanently unsound for the rest of her life. She's 8. I also have seen a 9 year old, 12 year old and 14 year old die of colic.
So where am I going with this? Who knows when/if a horse will be unsound/die. It involves a complex equation of a horses care(obesity, starvation, nutritional deficiencies all can contribute to lameness or early death), genetics, conformation, work load(started too young, too hard, carrying too much weight, compensating for ill fitting tack, worked too hard or too long, ridden on the wrong surfaces, etc) even coat color. It would be great if we could know every facet of a horses life and genetics, but we can't most of the time. If you buy a horse who's parents died in their 30's and its always been well cared for and ridden properly, the chances of that horse living till 30 are high. But for the majority of horses, that's simply not the case.
My bo's mare is 22. Started early, raced at 2, broke her leg and defied the odds, healing sound. Trail and mountain ridden, endurance raced, broodmare. She is sound and healthy. Her best buddy is 23, raced and started young, restarted and used by someone(I suspect maybe did some barrel racing, but not sure) for years, then became a trail and endurance horse. Heading to the mountains this weekend, never had an unsound day in his life. A friend had a gelding put down at 35, he was packing kids in the mountains into his 30's.
so make an educated guess. For some horses 19 is ancient, for others its still 10+ years away from retirement. Look at the horse, ask questions, get it vetted.