Like us, horses and ponies have a set of baby (deciduous) teeth that are replaced with adult (permanent) teeth as they age. The first teeth to be replaced are the middle four incisors, two at the top and two on the bottom.
Diva has just made this milestone with the loss of one of her top teeth. The remaining three of this set are all loose and looking rather wonky.
My pony’s cute little mouth is currently looking like she is in need of a set of braces to sort them out. Once they have succumbed and fallen out, I will have that neat mouth back albeit with slightly larger teeth.
The average age for this to happen is two and a half years old, so Diva is right on schedule. By the time the adult corner incisors have come through at roughly four and a half years old, all the teeth will have been replaced.
A horse’s age can be estimated by their teeth, and whilst the deciduous teeth are being shed is the easiest time to positively age them.
However, all horses are different. I have seen several posts on social media saying that someone bought a horse as a certain age only to have the equine dentist or vet estimate it to be younger. Not all these are necessarily cases of misleading the purchaser.
My homebred mare, Florence, fooled the vet when she was three and a half years old. Since she was just losing her centre incisors, her teeth were declaring her to be only two and a half. If I had not seen her moments after her birth, I would have been reassessing her age!
Your Equine Dental Technician or veterinary surgeon will refer to the teeth by numbers. I have attached a picture detailing this, so we know exactly which teeth they are talking about.
Unfortunately I didn’t find Diva’s tooth, so no Tooth Fairy money for her. She did, however, get a visit from a unicorn that cheered her up a bit!