Ask The Experts #11


A while back you had a great informational piece about hoof management for Baby Z. I was wondering what you do to take care of his teeth? Do horses have baby teeth they lose to make room for permanent teeth like humans?

Vicki Vinson

Apple Valley, CA

A: The oral cavity of a young growing horse is undergoing constant change. Unlike humans, horses have hypsodont teeth that are constantly erupting. From the time a foal is born to the time the horse is an adult, the number of teeth increases from 0-6 as a foal to 36-44 as a full mouthed adult. The average horse has a full mouth of 36-44 teeth (4 rows of 11) by the age of 4 years. During the first four years, it is important to routinely evaluate the oral cavity for congenital (born with) and developmental (acquired) disorders. If congenital and developmental disorders are not identified and addressed early, they may lead to more severe disorders.

A newborn foal is born with few teeth. The first incisors may be present at birth or can be just below the gingival surface. The first incisors typically erupt through the gingiva around 6-8 days of life. All of the incisors should be present by 6-9 months of age. The same is true for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pre-molars. They may be present at birth but they are generally exposed by two weeks of age. Three permanent molars erupt caudal (behind) to the premolars at 1, 2 & 3.5-4 years respectively.

Photo courtesy of Alys Emson/Lane’s End

As Baby Z grows up his teeth will be examined periodically to insure that they are erupting in the proper place, size and number. All foals at Lane’s End are examined at birth for any oral abnormalities. Foals are monitored daily for any illnesses or injuries and that includes the oral cavity. As Baby Z becomes a yearling he will have an oral exam performed twice a year to monitor normal tooth wear and eruption. If necessary, sharp enamel points that form on the outside of the upper tooth arcades and the inside of the lower tooth arcades will be reduced. This is most commonly known as “teeth floating.” Baby Z may also have his wolf-teeth or first pre-molars removed before he enters light breaking and training. Wolf-teeth may cause him discomfort when a bit is placed in his mouth and that could interfere with his training.

Routine oral care is a critical part of any annual wellness program. With oral exams once to twice a year, Baby Z will be sure to have a beautiful set of pearly whites to smile with in the winners circle!

Our Expert

Ernie Martinez II DVM

Hagyard Equine Dentistry

Dr. Martinez graduated from the Oklahoma State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. He completed an ambulatory internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and became a Field Care Associate in 2004. His practice includes emergency field medicine, herd health and wellness, neonatal foal care, mare and stallion reproduction, and equine dentistry. Dr. Martinez is actively involved with veterinary medicine organizations, holding positions in the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners and the National American Association of Equine Practitioners. His wife practices small animal emergency medicine in Lexington, KY. They live in Versailles with their three year old son and two dogs.


  1. Paynter Update Thurs. Sept. 20 3:30 Pacific A. Zayat tweets combined
    Paynter update: Paynter continues to eat well and is comfortable. He has had a few mild temperature spikes. It is too early to tell what his long term GI function will be and he still has a long recuperation ahead of him.
    Dr. Fraley will be visitng tomorrow to assess him after removing the casts from his feet.

    1. Keta. Thanks. Sounds good but it is not yet over. Poor baby has had a tough time but he is fighting back. More prayers needed. Power up Paynter.

      There was some discussion on the Forum that Paynter has a filly for company at the hospital. What’s going on there? Is love in the air? A little romance might speed the cure.

      1. He now has chronic colitis !!!

      2. Dear Keta, Max, Sign and Z Fans:

        Hope Paynter can work through this very serious illness. Hugs, JB

      3. Max,
        I may have inadvertently triggered that.
        A 2 year-old Zayat bred filly, Rice to Riches won her maiden race at Belmont.
        I happened to watch it on TVG & sent a Congrats to A. Zayat.
        RIght after this there were several tweets that were quite interesting-one saying Todd (Pletcher) did not like the filly; one asking wasn’t the filly being claimed;
        answer: yes; and one indicating that Zayat was not happy I let this out.
        So, :Paynter Zayat- Twitter account that isn’t a true Zayat-jump on my simple “Congratualtions on Rice to Riches win! Lovely filly” and tweeted about having a “filly in the stable”
        FYI+Blood-Horse had the win about 40 minutes after I did and tweeted it.
        That’s the story. Do not know who claimed the filly.

        1. Keta. It was a fun story while it lasted. Everyone likes a good romance. Paynter, please get well.

  2. Dear Max
    Neither the Darley or Coolmore sites mention
    Anything about a “V” and Street Cry goal. Afraid this
    Is a Facebook rumor/gossip.

    1. Sign. Thanks. Thought so. Let’s hope however that she is in foal to Street Cry.

      1. I defiately hope so tooo and we will be surprised
        When we see another full bro or sis to Zenny !!!!
        Who will have big hooves to fill that’s for sure.

  3. Macho Machi to show in Penn Derby
    WHOOO HOOO !!!!

    What a race !!!

    1. Sorry Macho Macho to show in the PA Derby !!!

  4. Welcome back TC,
    See page 9

    1. Thanks, sign. Actually I do not have a computer at this time, but Trina graciously allows me to use hers.

  5. Dear Max,
    Point of Entry is running this weekend,
    Wishing him the best win against those

    Between him, Wise Dan and Little Mike we
    Have to get some big turf wins!!!

    1. Point of Entry, do it for Big D.

      1. Definately !!!!

      2. Dear Max:

        Rooting for Bid D’s Boy. Hugs, JB

      3. GO POE!!!
        Big D. is watching you.

    1. Glad to see this. Pretty amazing what Mario did along with IHA. Still think often of IHA, a beautiful horse. Also his cohort, Lava Man. Any news of LM from California fans?

    2. Thanks Sign,
      Great news. This is Fantastic and I am very happy for them.
      Mario’s smile alone is a great shot in the arm for racing.
      Mario is a TRUE horseman,with HUMBLE as his middle name.

    3. Posted on The very root of your writing while soudning agreeable originally, did not sit properly with me after some time. Someplace throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a very short while. I nevertheless have a problem with your jumps in logic and one might do nicely to fill in those gaps. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I could undoubtedly end up being impressed.

  6. Dear Max,
    HRTV has Boyd Martin and Neville B
    Special. It is a repeat, but enjoyable.

  7. Lots of talk about the Coutillion Stakes and

    Questing – green and looking around lost when made the lead in the Alabama,
    just did not know what was going on, immaturity (not leg weary). Has run faster
    than My Miss Aurelia and has the potential to even run faster


    My Miss Aurelia – 6 1/2 furlong sprint also a little lost and unfocused due to immaturity

    Should be a great race.

    1. Yes, indeed!
      Wow, that Questing,she brought some thrills and chills.
      She just needs to learn how to “Own it “!!!

  8. Sandy really love this quote so reposted on this page, SOOOO VERY TRUE FOR ALL OF US AT SOME TIME IN OUR LIVES.

    It is from a novel by Alexander McCall Smith, and the speaker is a woman who is somewhere in southeast Asia on an anthropological mission. She is gazing about at her surroundings and wonders what she would do without her guide:
    “At moments such as this, she mused, dependence on one’s guide reminded one of the mutual reliance of human existence. In large numbers, in towns and cities, we forget that without the help of others we are fragile, threatened creatures. But the moment that support is removed, then the reality of our conditions becomes apparent. We are all one step from being lost.””

  9. Spurious Pecision;
    Is a two year old body able to really with stand the pounding stress of the dirt track???

  10. Here is IHA, stallion page, from Big Red Farm, Japan.'ll%20have%20another.html

  11. This is where the rumor came about “V” and Street Cry,
    Not Darley or Coolmore, a fan spreading rumors !!!1

    1. I’ll wait until the farms prove or disprove it. Email looks legitamet, so I’ll just be patient. Coolmore is not like the Mosses. They don’t have information out about any of their mares; and I email both farms myself. Now I wait for a response.

      1. Zenyatta is a super star. She is not like other mares. Most do not have the dedicated following which the Queen does. When they leave racing, these mares more or less disappear into retirement.

    2. Pati,

      That is not “V”, it is another horse that is the same color.
      Some fans like to make things up to get everyone riled up.

      1. I am refering to the email I saw from the woman on FB, I also personally emailed Coolmore and will email Darley today. Class started before I finished my email to Darley this morning.

        I am still optimistic it is true! Maybe a V13 “Full sibling to Zenny” is on the horizon after all!

  12. Dear Sheena:

    Left you a post on Page 9 about Kincsem. Hugs, JB

  13. Oh my, my life has become so busy lately. I think of my horse of my lifetime every day; I have the Zenyatta plushie to give a hug to each day too. I always need to know how our beautiful Queen Z is doing, and to follow precious Z. This was so interesting about the teeth! Thank you so much.
    Hope all is well at Lane’s End and here with everyone.
    Sending love & kisses on Z’s soft nose, kisses to 12z. Auntie Sally

  14. Hi all; I have a few more minutes to share with you about the Cedar Valley Horse Sanctuary I have been volunteering for. We accepted a “big” horse recently named Sir. He stands 16.2 hands and at the age of 22 he is still very beautiful with his chestnut coat and perfect white blaze. He was rescued after being abandoned in a farm field. Sir was skin and bones. The person treated him kindly, feeding and taking care of his other needs but could not keep him. She called the Sanctuary, after checking him out as to compatibility, he was accepted with open arms. Right now we continue to attempt to fatten him up with good extra senior feed and soaked beet pulp, plus of course hay and the pasture. We have been given him MSM as well for his joints. He initiated me over a week ago when he planted his big head into my back keeping it pressed so he could begin rubbing his head. WOW!! The power just from the neck & head is amazing!! Of course NO! NO! Sir was used in my speech. I eventually went to my chiropractor because whenever I did some physical work, my back seemed to go into a spasm. I had a slight twist of my spine. Oh, for the love of horses (for the love of Zenyatta). I am hoping I won’t be a green horn too much longer!! ha ha When I go there and am with them, there is nothing else I think of; no worries, no problems. They get to live out the rest of their lives with kindness and love; but they give back. I’ll be able to take care of Zenyatta pretty soon if they ever need some one!!! Now that would be a dream come true!

    I have not been able to read much here, I know I am missing a lot. November is getting closer and closer!!! BC and Zenyatta’s party you lucky ones!! You must be feeling the excitement already. It seems a number of TB’s are retiring this year for sure. I still would like to get to Kentucky especially since the BC is not in the cards for me.
    Blessings to you all. hugs, Sally B

    1. Dear Sally B.:

      Love your post and description of your work with the horses. Hope your back feels better. Hugs, JB

    2. Sally,
      It’s great to hear from you, and I love your stories about your adventures at the rescue. Suggest that you copy and repost this on the new “Ask the Experts #12” so that more folks will see it.

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