Your pony’s teeth

Posted in Health

How much do you know about your pony’s toothy grin?

Shetland pony showing its teeth

Your pony’s teeth are really important because they allow him to eat. They’re also pretty cool because, unlike your teeth, most of each tooth is hidden inside the gum and they push out as they’re worn down. As his teeth wear down, they change shape, too, so this means you can tell how old your pony is by just looking at his teeth!

Tooth talk

Ponies are usually born with no teeth, but after a few days, the incisors at the front of his mouth start to grow through. A few weeks later, the premolars, which grow each side of his mouth but further back than his incisors, begin to show, too, and they end up with 24 teeth (12 incisors and 12 premolars).

Young ponies will begin to lose their baby teeth when they’re two-and-a-half because their adult teeth push them out. By the time your pony’s five, all his baby teeth will have been replaced with 38–44 permanent adult teeth.

Your pony’s teeth

PONY mag diagram of a pony's teeth

Your pony has six upper and six lower incisors, which he uses for grasping forage.

Most male ponies (and a small percentage of females) have two pairs of canines, which originally developed as fighting teeth.

Not all ponies have wolf teeth, which sit just in front of the premolars. Like canines, they don’t have a function and are often removed because they can cause discomfort.

The 12 upper and 12 lower molars grind your pony’s food so that he’s able to swallow and digest it. The front three on each side are called premolars.

Did you know? Your pony’s bit sits in the space between his incisors and premolars.

Did you know? Whereas you move your jaw up and down to chew, your pony moves it in a circular motion to grind his food.

How old?!

Using teeth to tell a pony’s age isn’t an exact science, it’s more of an estimate because ponies develop at slightly different rates, just like people do. You can look at…

  • his Galvayne’s groove, which is on the incisor that’s furthest back – it begins to appear at 10 years old, then the further down it appears to move, the older he is
  • the shape of his incisors – the chewing surface starts off fairly oval-shaped and becomes more triangular as he gets older

Did you know? Some of your pony’s teeth are more than 10cm long!

Did you know? Your pony should be visited by a dentist every 6–12 months.

PONY mag how to tell the age of your pony by their teeth diagram

 

 

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