I rode Whiskey last night and then brought Archie in to give him some soaked beet pulp/alfalfa pellets.  As I was turning Archie back out, I wanted to make him "work" a little bit for his turn out treats, and asked him to smile.

He got a real pretty mouth ain't he?
All the dentistry I know (knew?) led me to believe that as a horse ages, their teeth just.. keep growing.  Like mm a year, but still growth.  Then you get the hook that comes and goes, and then the Galvayne's Groove, and finally those old buggers eventually meet at a skin-piercing angle.

So imagine my surprise when I text my vet to tell him that Archie's incisors (the only I've successfully checked thus far) are shrinking and he replies, "They are expiring.  Normal aging process."  WTF?

As a horse approaches 30 years of age, his cheek teeth lose much of the ridge-and-groove architecture that allow him to grind grains and forage. These teeth are often referred to as expired, or the horse may be described as having smooth mouth. Special dietary considerations must be made for horses that are unable to adequately process feed, in order to prevent choke while still providing adequate caloric intake. Source

I verified that at this point we don't need to make any dietary changes, as the old man eats just fine.  I guess this is something that I'll try to capture in a series of smiles, since it's something I've never heard of and might be sorta interesting to follow.

january - april - august

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  1. Now I'm going to have to take a further look at Mr. P's mouth and get a smiling picture! He already eats his "grain" wet since he has choked in the past but he still eats hay and treats like normal. How old is Archie again?

    1. You'd think I'd have thought to include that. He'll be 21 in April.

  2. Ah yeah when my friend's Children's Hunter got old he started eating a steady and hefty diet of mush food. He lived a long and glorious retirement <3

  3. I didn't know that, interesting! Nothing wrong with mush :)

  4. Why good dentistry is so so so important. People think a horse's teeth grow forever...the reality is that they have a finite amount of tooth and taking to much tooth off throughout he course of their life will ultimately cause them problems later in life!

  5. I did not know that!

    I went to visit an old equine friend over the weekend and he just turned 31 a couple weeks ago. I'll have to take a look at his teeth next time I go for a visit.

  6. Hah, I love the Archie smile series :D

  7. What Mare said above. That's what I thought when I saw the photo on IG

  8. This is fasincsting. I learned something new today.

  9. The way it was explained to me by a dentist was:
    Think of it as a mechanical pencil. You keep clicking and the lead gets longer and longer... until it runs out.
    They just weren't meant to live as long as they do with good care!
    Take it as a compliment?