There are many ways to determine age, weight, and height of a horse without having the traditional, most obvious methods available. When you are unsure of a horse's birth date, don't have a large animal weight scale, or a proper equine measuring stick, you still have other options. Keep reading below to learn more!
If a horse’s date of birth is unknown, taking a look at its teeth could clue you in. Aging a horse this way isn’t 100% accurate, but it will give you an approximate age range. The younger the horse is, the more accurate the approximation will be.
It’s important to keep in mind that stabled animals’ teeth make them appear younger than they are, whereas those grazing in sandy areas, such as range horses, appear relatively old because of the varying degrees of wear on the teeth.
Horses have two sets of teeth, one temporary and one permanent. Temporary teeth may also be called "baby" or "milk teeth." These teeth intend to fall out over time between the ages of 2 and 4, for reference.
Permanent teeth are larger, longer, darker in color and do not have the well-defined neck joining root and gum that temporary teeth do, so keep that in mind when determining the difference.
4 Major Ways to Estimate Age Range of Horses by their Teeth:
- Occurrence of permanent teeth
- Disappearance of cups
- Angle of incidence
- Shape of the surface of the teeth
This doesn't require you purchase a horse-specific measuring stick or tape with marked with hands, but it will save you a step. They can be found at equestrian supply stores or farm supply stores. You will need some sort of measuring tape or stick.
First, make sure the horse is standing on firm level ground with its feet as even as possible. Start by placing the horse measuring stick or tape end at the base of one of the horse’s front hooves and bring the measuring device to the withers. If a horse-specific measuring stick or tape is being used, then the measurement can usually be recorded in hands immediately. If a normal measuring tape or stick is being used, conversion to hands may be required.
Converting to Hands:
1 hand = 4 inches or divide the measurement by 4
The most accurate way to determine a horse’s weight is by weighing him on a scale. However, you can estimate a horse’s weight (to calculate proper amounts of feed, dewormer, etc.) by using body measurements with an equine weight tape. Weight tapes vary and use a horse’s heart girth measurement alone but considering body length and heart girth tends to be more accurate. Another way to estimate weight is to use a “regular” tape measure, the kind that measures in inches to measure a horse’s girth and length. Then perform the following calculation: Heart girth x heart girth x length, divided by 330, + 50 = estimated weight.