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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ROANEY-Probably the oldest horse

When people come to meet my horses, a frequent question is "How long do horses live?" As I rub their faces and look into their eyes I respond: "Forever, Just read Behind the Mist!"

The answer to that question really varies. Domesticated horses usually have the advantage of better feed, veterinarian and farrier care and freedom from preditors that wild horses don't have. So, the horses that are lovingly being cared for by humans live longer than wild horses as a general rule. Small horses and ponys live longer than large horses...this is also true for dogs. Some breeds have a longer life expentancy. Arabians are known for living well into their thirties. I have a friend whose little arab is now 33. I wouldn't say she is going strong but she is still hanging in there. Thoroughbreds generally die in their twenties. I have a wonderful thoroughbred that is now 21 and is doing great.

The oldest horse I have ever heard about is Roaney, a mustang. Roaney was born in 1923. His first career was as a cattle horse on a ranch in Wellington, Arizona. In 1935 he was purchased by William S. Hart, a silent movie star where he was known for playing the part of a cowboy. Roaney became one of the many horses that he used in his movies. Hart was a close friend of Will Rogers and the artist Charles Russell.

Mr. Hart loved Roaney and provided well for him. He kept him on his "Horseshoe Ranch" in Newhall, California. On St. Patrick's day of 1966, Mr. Hart threw a 43rd Birthday party for Roaney, complete with a 60 pound cake! Several celebreties were in attendance. Hart stipulated in his will that Roaney would live out his days on the ranch and be buried there. Roaney lived to 45 years old (equal to 180 for a human!) He died on April 26, 1968. He now runs across the flower-filled fields of Celestia. (IF you don't know what that means, you need to read Behind the Mist!)

If you know about a senior citizen horse that deserves to be honored, send me an email at:

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