Aging The Horse By The Teeth – Podcast #070

The Equine Practice Inc, The Horse's Advocate

In 1979, I memorized the standard chart for aging the horse using the ware patterns of the teeth. Specifically, the incisors because they were readily available by lifting the lips. The features used included the cups, dental star, and Galvayne’s Groove. Horse owners and buyers used the chart for maybe a century, but in the 1980s, many equine dentists described the incisors’ bite. They noticed uneven wear patterns representing them as a smile, a frown, a diagonal, or a V-shape.

In 1983, I floated my first horse and since, have floated over 77,000 horses. I was asked to age a horse many times officially. I started to notice that if horses wore the incisors unevenly, the horse could be one age from the left side and another from the right. The old aging chart wasn’t working.

Several years ago, I asked owners with horses of verified age (papers or lip tattoos) to allow me to photograph the incisors. I shot the left and right lateral, the straight-on, and the open mouth of the lower occlusal surface views. My goal within the project’s time constraints was to get ten random horses of every age between 2 years and 30+ years. I could do this at some ages, while at several ages, I could only find one or two. This podcast describes my findings.

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