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365 Days in Horse Country – Aging Your Horse

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | December 3rd, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Aging Your Horse



Everyone knows that you can tell a horse’s age by her teeth, but do you know exactly how to do that?

You can always just ask your vet to tell you your horse’s age, or you can just look at her registration certificate if she has one.  But it’s always a good idea to be able to judge for yourself.  Not only will it help you become a more knowledgeable horse person, but it may come in handy in the future if you are shopping for another horse.

When examining your horse’s choppers, keep in mind that as a horse gets older, her teeth change in length, colour, shape, and markings.  Surfaces of the teeth also wear down as the horse ages, and teeth also change shape.  Dental cups, the dark marks in the surface of the horse’s teeth, appear as the horse matures to adulthood, and then disappear as the horse enters her senior years.

Another giveaway that a horse is up there in years is the Galvayne’s grooves, which is a line in the upper incisors.  It starts when a horse hits around ten years of age, and it gets longer as the horse gets older.  When a horse reaches around age twenty, the groove reaches from the top of the tooth to the bottom.

The illustration above, showing the changes in your horse’s teeth over time,  will assist you in determining your horses age.