Horse Health

World’s Oldest Horse Lives a Stable Life in the UK

from the pages of The Sun

Active 51 Year Old Horse Enjoys Life and Gives Love

Is the UK's Shayne the oldest horse in the world, his caretakers think so ~ SWNS

Shayne, a liver chestnut Irish Draught cross, has spent a lifetime in a private stables and has only been ridden occasionally.

As a result he is still happily trotting around his paddock and in better shape than many of his stablemates — despite being 20 to 30 years older than all of them.

Bizarrely, the elderly equine lives in the same Essex town as the world’s oldest dog — a 24-year-old terrier-whippet cross called Pip.

Shayne is believed to have inherited the title of the world’s oldest living horse following the death of the previous holder in 2004.

The 15 hands gelding is now enjoying a laid-back retirement with four meals a day at the 40-acre Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Brentwood.

Sanctuary founder Sue Burton said: “We get people who rescue a horse and they say it is in its 30s and then it knocks them for six when we say we have one in its 50s.

“Shayne is a really good boy. He is still very active — sometimes we forget how old he is.

“I guess his secret to a long life is taking it easy in his old age and enjoying his retirement.”

Shayne was brought to the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in April 2007 after spending many happy years with his previous owner in Chingford, Essex.

He is fed a high-calorie diet consisting of fibre, alfalfa nuts, sugar beet and chaff mixed together and he is also partial to a bit of cabbage to help keep his weight at 480kg.

Despite suffering from some mild arthritis, he is in good health.

The previous title of oldest living horse in the world was held by Welsh/Arab steed Badger, from Pembrokeshire, Wales, who died aged 51, in in 2004.

Shayne does not have a birth certificate but they were given his birth date by his previous owner and have since verified his age with medical checks.

Sue added: “Fifteen used to be regarded as old for horses when I started working with them, but research into medicines means they can live much longer now.

“The previous owner brought Shayne to the sanctuary after her other horse died.

“Shayne does not have a birth certificate so we are going by what his previous owner told us — but it all adds up.”

Remarkably, Shayne lives in the same town as Pip, the 24-year-old terrier-whippet cross, who was named the world’s oldest dog in December.

Pip unofficially became the world’s oldest canine following the death of a 26-year-old Shiba mix, Pusuke, in Japan.

Equine vet Erik Belloy, 46, from House and Jackson vets in Blackmore, Essex, said: “Fifty-one is definitely a ripe old age.

“It’s uncommon because ponies tend to live a little bit longer than big horses do.

“Horses do, however, live longer now because of advances in veterinary medicine and the production of their feed.”

A spokesman for Guinness World Records said: “We have not received any claim for the oldest living horse since Badger’s death and we are really happy to hear about the horse you mentioned.

“The owners could make a claim for the title.”

The oldest horse ever was called Old Billy, who was foaled in Woolston, Lancashire in 1760, and was 62 years old when he died on November 27, 1822.

13 replies »

  1. A lovely Sunday stroll with Shayne and Sue at a bliss-filled sanctuary. Thanks, R.T.

    Reading about oldest-ever horse Old Billy, 62 when he passed in 1822, reminded me of one of my favorite seniors, named Fly. He fought in the Civil War, and when he passed away quietly on the Indiana farm of his life-long owner, George Barrett, he was two months shy of 39.

    Fly outlived all of his famous equine brothers-in-battle, including General Lee’s Traveller, General Meade’s Baldy, and General Jackson’s Little Sorrel.

    I read about him in the sweet little book, “Fly Like the Wind,” by Bridgette Z. Savage.


  2. Great story…hope he makes the Guinness BOR!

    Now, the reality… how do we deal with humans and horse industries that expect to be involved with their equine charges until age 3-9 years for an animal that can live well past 15? Might explain the horsemeat biz. Even the traditional meat industries (beef, pork, poultry, lamb/goats) don’t have that need of stewardship.

    Houston, we have a problem.


    • It is called moral responsibility. Do not have a horse unless you can commit to a long term commitment. MY rescued Dusty Rose died at the age of 43 in her stall surrounded by love. Farm sanctuaries provide stewardship for other animals. My pig Margaret Ann is going on 14 and I hope she will be around for many more years. She is well known in the community and has many friends. If we look at the way we institutionalize the elderly, perhaps it is a reflection of a throwaway society. That needs to change. The philosopher Kant believed that caring for animals in their old age would teach us how to have empathy for people.


      • Faith…that’s my point.

        Even in the meat biz from inception they recognize that the animals will only be around for X number of days and even their long term breeding stock will meet/meat the CBG….the US equine industry NEVER recognizes their short term goals and the so called waste product they create in search of buck and that million dollar equine.

        We got ’em folks…and the foal machines know we got them.


    • Instead of looking at slaughter as a means of disposal maybe responsible owners breeding their horses in a responsible manner taking into account that thy can live to beyond 40 or 50 years is a more realistic option.

      When I see human meat offered up for sale for human consumption on a regular basis as I feel there are far more unwanted humans subjecting the planet to their deprivations mostly rotting in jails I would be possibly inclined to look into the sale of horse meat for the same purpose. Until that time I will never support horse slaughter


    • Such a wonderful story. I have a 33 year old Thoroughbred (Hurry on Slew) being a part of Seattle Slew’s lineage. He is as healthy as …….a horse. He does have arthritis from his eventing days, but we rescued him 5 years ago and have seen him improve since that time. Our horses are a reflection of our love and care to the best of our abilities.


  3. We can all learn from one another, if only we open up our hearts and minds to all living creatures and provide the responsibility that goes along with it. What a lovely story about a beautiful horse.


  4. Great story! Some local vets at a seminar I attended stated that at least 25% of their practice are geriatric horses. For all the issues we face as equine welfare advocates for our horses, the truth is that a great majority of owners take very good care of their horses.


  5. This is wonderful. Shayne must enjoy life and continue to be with us for a good reason. His experience of life is adding up to something truly great, that he will reap in Horse Heaven.


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