Of Horse

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Teeth Growth Holds the Secret to a Horse's Age
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Teeth Growth Holds the Secret to a Horse's Age

People are able to know someone’s age by counting how many years that person has lived, or by the number of birthdays the person has celebrated. But there is also an amazing secret of estimating age from teeth growth. However, this only applies to horses.

It is a surprising and fascinating fact that teeth growth holds the secret of knowing a horse’s age. If the growth of the teeth is thoroughly assessed and examined, one can accurately find out how old a horse is.

An adult horse normally has a minimum of 36 teeth. The animal may also have up to four canine teeth. Every horse should have this set of teeth:

  • Six pairs of incisors in the upper and lower jaw – two pairs in the middle called centrals, another two pairs on either side called laterals; the outer pairs are called corners. These teeth are also known as biting teeth that are used for tearing and cutting grass and other forage or bulky food.
  • 24 pairs of permanent molars – three pairs of premolars and another three pairs of permanent molars on both jaws that are used for grinding or crushing the food. These teeth are also called as cheek teeth.

The age of a horse is determined by the growth of their teeth, so, the older the horse, the larger their teeth (and are more in number). Here’s a description of a horse’s teeth growth with their age:

  • Newborn to one year

On their first week after birth, newborn horses known as foals will have their first pair of incisors. By the time they are two weeks old, their second, third and fourth premolars can already be seen. The young horse’s canines appear only when they reach 5-6 months.

By one year old, the young foal will have a complete set of 24 deciduous baby teeth.

  • The two to four years old horse

The first permanent incisors grow at 2 ½ years as well as the horse’s second premolars. The eruption of the permanent central incisors is already beginning; however, these pairs of teeth are not yet in contact.

  • The horse at age five

Permanent dentition is already full and complete. The 5-year old horse has already a complete set of permanent teeth and the gums are healthy and pink in color, and without bruising.

  • The horse at age 10

At the tenth year of a horse’s life, 36-42 permanent teeth can be seen. And the angle of the horse’s teeth and jaw is slightly slanting or oblique. Galvayne’s groove already appears. It is a dark or brownish groove seen in the upper corner incisor teeth.

  • The horse at age 15

Galvayne’s groove at this age extends halfway down to the outer side of the upper corner teeth. When viewed from the front, the lower incisors look shorter than the upper ones. And each of the biting teeth has a distinct dark and round dental star in the center.

  • The horse at age 20

When the horse reaches its 20th year, the Galvayne’s groove is present in the entire upper corner incisors. And all incisors appear to be triangular.

This may not be exact science but if you carefully study and examine the horse’s teeth growth, you will be able to determine how old a horse is. And this could be helpful when you are planning to buy a horse, for you not to mistakenly adopt an old one. Though it is an old and nearly forgotten way, but the idea, along with research and study, that teeth growth holds the secret to a horse’s age will always be fascinating.


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