Horse’s age has always been determined by looking at his teeth. Unscrupulous horse dealers would try and change a horse’s teeth to disguise his true age. Modern advances in equine dentistry, breed associations and micro chipping have given horse buyers and breeders other, highly reliable resources for learning the true age of a horse. Nonetheless, being able to estimate a horse’s age from his teeth is still a valuable skill. Read on to learn more.
Check to see if the last molar has erupted. If the last molar has erupted the horse is at least 5 years old. Premolars are present at birth and are replaced by the first permanent molars at 2 1/2 years of age. At 3, the second molar erupts and between 3 and 4 years the third premolar.
Evaluate the shape of the chewing surface of the incisor as it will also change with age. The incisors are diagonally oval until around 12 years of age, then between 13 and 18 years they begin to change to a rounder form. Then between 18 and 23 the incisors become more triangularly shaped. Finally after the age of 23, they become more vertically oval.
Verify whether Galvayne's groove has appeared on the outer surface of the upper corner incisor. Named for it's discoverer, Sydney Galvayne, who traveled throughout Europe judging the ages of horses and selling his secrets to other horse enthusiast. The grove erupts from the gum line at age ten. It runs down the middle of the tooth and will be halfway down the upper corner incisor by age 15. By 20 years of age the groove will run the length of the tooth. At 25 years the groove will disappear from the top of the tooth and only be visible on the lower half. Horses older than 30 will only have a little groove visible on the chewing surface.