How to choose or buy a Horse
The following simple rules will be found useful to all parties
about to buy a horse:
I. Never take the seller's word; if dishonest he will be sure
to cheat you, if disposed to be fair, he may have been the dupe
of another, and will deceive you through representations which
cannot be relied upon.
II. If you trust the horse's mouth for his age, observe well
the rules given below, for that purpose.
III. Never buy a horse while in motion; watch him while he
stands at rest, and you will discover his weak points. If sound
he will stand squarely on his limbs without moving any of them,
the feet planted flat upon the ground, with legs plump and
naturally poised. If one foot is thrown forward with the toe
pointing to the ground and the heel raised; or if the foot is
lifted from the ground and the weight taken from it, disease of
the navicular bone may be suspected, or at least, tenderness,
which is precursor of disease. If the foot is thrown out, the
toe raised and the heel brought down, the horse has suffered
from laminitis, founder or fever in the feet, or the back
sinews have been sprained, and he is of little future value.
When the feet are all drawn together beneath the horse, if
there has been no disease there is a misplacement of the limbs,
at least, and a weak disposition of the muscles. If the horse
stands with his feet spread out, or straddles with the hind
legs, there is weakness of the loins, and the kidneys are
IV. Never buy a horse with a bluish or milkish cast in the
eyes. They Indicate a constitutional tendency to ophthalmia
(soreness or weak eyes) moon blindness, etc.
V. Never have anything to do with a horse who keeps his ears
thrown back. It is an invariable indication of bad temper.
VI. If a horse's hind legs are scarred the fact denotes that he
is a kicker.
VII. If the knees are blemished the horse is apt to stumble.
VIII. When the skin is rough and harsh, and does not move
easily and smoothly to the touch, the horse is a heavy eater,
and his digestion is bad.
IX. Avoid a horse whose respiratory organs are at all impaired,
If the ear is placed at the side of the heart, and a whizzing
sound is heard, it is an indication of trouble. Let him go.
How to Judge the Age of a Horse
The age of a horse, up to a certain period, is generally
determined by his teeth. There are no two opinions alike on
this point. But as almost every writer on this subject has some
pet theory of his own, there are probably no two writers whose
opinions agree as to the exact manner of arriving at a horse's
age after it has attained the age of 5 years. For the
edification of our readers, we give from " Kendall's Treatise
on the Horse," the following concise rules, which will be found
I. Eight to fourteen days after birth the first middle nippers
of the set of milk teeth are cut; four to six weeks afterward,
the pair next to them, and finally, after six or eight months,
the last. All these milk teeth have a well defined body, neck
and shoulder fang, and on their front surface grooves—or
furrows, which disappear from the middle nippers at the end of
one year; from the next pair in two years, and from the
incisive teeth (cutters) in three years.
II. At the age of two the nippers become loose and fallout, in
their places appear two permanent teeth, with deep, black
cavities, and full, sharp edges. At the age of three the next
pair fall out. At four years old the corner teeth fall out. At
five years old the horse has his permanent set of teeth.
III. The teeth grow in length as the horse advances in years,
but at the same time his teeth are worn away by use, about one
twelfth of an inch every year, so that the black cavities of
the nippers below disappear in the sixth year; those of the
next pair in the seventh year, and those of the corner teeth in
the eight year; also the outer corner teeth of the upper and
lower jaws just meet at eight years of age. At nine years old
cups leave the two center nippers above, and each of the two
upper corner teeth have a little sharp protrusion at the
extreme outer corner. At the age of ten the cups disappear from
the adjoining teeth; at the age of eleven the cups disappear
from the corner teeth above, and are only indicated by brownish
IV. The oval form becomes broader, and changes, from the
twelfth to the sixteenth year, more, and more into a triangular
form, and teeth lose, finally, with the 20th year, all
regularity. There is nothing remaining in the teeth that can
afterward clearly show the age of the horse or justify the most
experienced examiner in giving a positive opinion.
V. The tushes or canine teeth, conical in shape, with a sharp
point and curved, are cut between the third and fourth year,
their points become more and more rounded, until the ninth
year, and after that more and more dull in the course of years,
and lose, finally, all regular shape, Mares have frequently 4 no
tusks, or only faintly indicated.
About The Author: Bruce Tusky has spent his entire life around
horses. For further information about horses, visit the
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