How Do Wild Horses Float Their Teeth?

How do wild horses float their teeth? Keep reading to find out everything about your horse’s dental care!

A wild horse’s dental care is equally important as our dental care. Talking about dental care, a wild horse needs to float his teeth in order to stay healthy and disease-free. Floating is a dental process in which the teeth of a horse are treated in order to offer a flat surface for easy chewing. So, in reality, a horse doesn’t float his own teeth, instead a vet carries out this process.

What Is Teeth Floating?

As mentioned above, teeth floating is a process in which sharp and irregular teeth of a horse are filed using a rasp or a small file in order to make them flat and to provide your horse a greater chewing area. The process got its name from the equipment ‘float’ which is a file or a small rasp.

These floats come in different shapes and sizes and used according to the teeth structure of a horse. They are available in rectangular, oval and cylindrical shapes and generally have slightly bent or straight heads that can fit perfectly in the horse’s mouth.

Moreover, floats can be driven by an air compressor, electricity or can be entirely manual. The process is performed by a dentist who has a set of tools and equipment according to the needs of your animal.

If done in the right way, floating takes only a few minutes provided that the horse is not opposing it. Also, if you think that this process must be painful then you’re wrong. Because a horse’s teeth have no nerve endings, this process causes no discomfort or pain. However, if the animal is suffering from other issues such as gum disease or some kind of mouth injury, then this process can be a bit painful for him.

Why Floating Is Important For A Wild Horse?

Generally, most of the animals have the ability to digest the food even if it’s swallowed directly with very less or even no chewing. However, this is not the case with horses. They must chew their food properly in order to digest it efficiently. Otherwise they will fall prone to a number of serious illnesses.

So, if a horse’s teeth are very sharp, irregular and have less or no surface area for chewing their food, they will not be able to digest their food. It not only results in weight loss, but also affects their performance and health in a negative manner. This is because the essential nutrients from the food don’t get absorbed into their bodies.

Horses are a bit unlucky in this matter, they are prone to uneven teeth structure. So, getting a flat surface is very much important.

With that in mind, floating a wild horse’s teeth is necessary to improve the chewing ability and to maintain their overall health.

When Should A Horse Have Its Teeth Floated?

Floating is a common process that is performed on the horses at a tender age. Generally, it is done when the horses are 10 years or older.

Moreover, according to experts, the teeth of a horse should be examined at least one time in a year, regardless of their age. So, it can be concluded that floating can be done at any age or at any time. It is an essential dental care routine.

Is Floating A Wild Horse’s Teeth Painful Process?

No. It is not painful at all. The reason behind this is, there are no nerves on the surface of teeth and hence, a horse doesn’t feel anything when their teeth are filed.

But this doesn’t mean this is an easy process. A horse doesn’t stand calm while doing this. So, if the horse is aggressive or notorious, it’s going to make the floating very difficult for a vet. Due to this reason, a few horses are sedated at the time of this procedure.


Wild horses are very prone to dental problems. Most of the time, their teeth structure don’t provide them with enough surface area to chew the food, which is very important for a horse. If their teeth are not floated on time, they may suffer many serious health issues that will not only impact their performance but will also put their life at risk.