Polo Pony Teeth Issues: Wolf Teeth

polo pony care & wellness Apr 03, 2021

I often say: before you look at bitting to solve an issue, that seems like a bitting issue, you should have your horse medically checked (plus a few other suggestions)...

Which includes getting the horses teeth checked!

One problem area that often causes horses to react as if the bit was the problem...

Is the issue of "Wolf Teeth".

Wolf teeth are vestigial molars. That means they no longer have a useful function as a tooth.

They usually grow tight against the first molars, but have shallow roots and thus a "bit" pressing against these teeth loosens the tooth in the gum and causes inflammation and discomfort, causing the horse to react as if it had the wrong bit in its mouth.

The problem is made worse if the wolf teeth are vestigially displaced.

That means they grow further forward and thus are in effect "Stand Alone" teeth without even the molars to support them.

A bit moving up in the horse's mouth will always loosen these teeth and cause the horse pain as these teeth are then loosened in the gum and the roots become inflamed.

Take a look at the video where Luke Davey, who is an "equine dental technician" talks more about wolf teeth.

Polo Pony Teeth Issues: Wolf Teeth


One of the common problems that people have with their horses teeth. And one of the sort of things they talk about the most is what's known as Wolf teeth.

Wolf teeth are vestigial molars, or pre-molars from an evolutionary throwback. They actually have no real purpose in the horses mouth, and not every horse will get them, as such.

When horses do develop them, and they come in a variety of sizes, shapes lengths, in so much as they have more or less of a root structure. That can mean they're firmer or looser.

You can also have displaced Wolf teeth, which come rosterally displaced. And they don't, they, they don't sit tight up to the front of the upper pre-molars or lower pre-molars.

And they generally have a bad reputation in equine circles. Here's a good example of a rosterally displaced Wolf tooth, that is now not tight against the molars. This particular horse had been giving problems, throwing its head in the air when pressure was applied to the reins. And the owners were looking to try and find a different bit to stop this problem.

However, on inspecting the horses mouth, the cause of the problem became very clear. These wolf teeth, as I've said, are rosterally displaced. And so become almost a stand-alone tooth.

Given that Wolf teeth are generally shallow rooted. The bit moving up in the horses mouth, will constantly knock against these Wolf teeth, loosening them in the gum and causing inflammation.

Hence causing the horse to throw its head up in pain. So, the cause of the problem here is not a bit. The cause is these stand-alone Wolf teeth that are constantly being loosened and causing pain to the horse.

You will also see this as a gelding. So, it has canine teeth. And we keep talking about not setting the bit so low that it knocks against these teeth as well, because that will also cause the horse problems. We will usually recommend removing the Wolf teeth, if they are of a size that can be easily removed.

This is done in conjunction with, or purely by, your vet. One of the reasons we will do it is perhaps that it's not a problem that will be immediately obvious to someone. And so what we suggest is that they are removed before the riding actually commences so that they never are a problem.

If a Wolf tooth is perhaps smaller, or slightly shallower rooted, or something, or not as fully developed, when you start writing them with the bit, what can happen is that it moves the Wolf Teeth slightly, which is why we advocate having them done before they start being ridden.

Ready to Become a Better Polo Player?

If you want to improve as a player... from your swing, to your on-field tactics, to improving your horses and riding, all the way to your fitness and psychology...

Then get started in the Academy today, for FREE...

YES PLEASE! Show Me How...