Hello. A family relative is trying to do some research and has gotten stumped. One of her questions is to explain 4 ways to tell a horses age. I was hoping maybe you could help her out. We know that teeth is a definite, but unsure about the other 3. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time! Carrie
Examining the teeth to age a horse is the main method used.
You can read all about that and other horse development and aging facts in the horse time line in my book How to Think Like a Horse.
There is also an excellent web article Determining the Age of Horses by Their Teeth by Wayne Loch and Melvin Bradley
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Now as far as other methods which is what you are really after, here are some ideas, some of which are fairly obvious but I feel I must mention.
If the horse is registered, look at the registration papers or contact the breed or association registry to ask for that information.
If the horse is branded, determine who owns the brand and contact them.
If you think the horse might have a micro chip implanted in its neck, ask your veterinarian to scan the horse’s neck with a reader to gain information.
As far as visual methods to ascertain a horse’s age, that comes with experience but even knowledgeable horse people can be fooled. There are certain factors that show a horse is getting older such as sunken areas over the eyes, gray hair, lost of muscle tone and so on. But, for example, not all 25 year old horses will show these signs and not all horses that show these signs are 25 and older if you get my meaning.
If you do come up with other methods to tell a horse’s age, I’d appreciate hearing them because for now, today, this is about all I came up with !