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Poem about teeth

From: Steve

Dear Jessica, when I was a young boy my grandpa used to say a poem about horse teeth and how to tell a horse's age by its teeth. When I grew up I didn't have horses, but my wife loves horses and both of my sons ride, so here we are back out in the country with horses! Now I'm making myself crazy trying to remember that poem, and for the life of me I can't get past the first couple of lines. I'm hoping that those will be enough for you to recognize the poem and I'm hoping that I got them right. I know my grandpa didn't write the poem, because he would slap his leg after reciting it and say "You've got to hand it to that old Anon, he knew a thing or two!" Of course I was about twelve before I figured out that "Anon" was short for "Anonymous" instead of being a name. Anyway, here's the beginning of the poem. You've come through with so much information for other people, I'm counting on you.

To tell the age of a horse, You have to check its jaw of course.

That's all I can remember. Help! I'd like my sons to know that poem.


Hi Steve! No problem, that's a well known poem, and trust me, you weren't the only child who thought that "Anon" was the name of the author. I've heard that from quite a few other people, too. Anyway, here's the poem, or at least the variation with which I'm most familiar. I hope your sons enjoy it. Your grandfather was right - that old "Anon" really DID know a thing or two. This isn't absolute, of course, since after the age of about nine, a lot will depend on what the horse has been fed and how its teeth have been maintained, but it's a very useful poem anyway.

By the way, congratulations on getting back into horses! Your grandfather would probably be very, very pleased.



To tell the age of any horse
Inspect the lower jaw of course;
The six front teeth the tale will tell,
And every doubt and fear dispel.

Two middle nippers you behold
Before the colt is two weeks old;
Before eight weeks two more will come
Eight months: the corners cut the gum.

At two the middle "Nippers" drop:
At three the second pair can't stop;
When four years old the third pair goes,
At five a full new set he shows.

The deep black spots will pass from view
At six years from the middle two;
The second pair at seven years;
At eight the spot each corner clears.

From the middle "Nippers" upper jaw
At nine the black spots will withdraw.
The second pair at ten are bright;
Eleven finds the corners light.

As time goes on the horsemen know
The oval teeth three-sided grow;
Then longer get - project before -
Till twenty, when they know no more."


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