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 disordered.
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 generally correct.
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 spots.
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.
Contributed By: Bruce Tusky