When to float...
With young horses, I say at least every 6 months starting at around 2.5. Possibly more often if bitting.
Anything over 2 every six months, once they are 4/5 and have all adult teeth then every year. Its not just weight thats affected, a lot of tenseness and riding issues are related to tooth issues.
My vet starts checking jaws and alignment the day he is out to check over a new foal. Every 6 months he takes a look after that (more often if there is a jaw issue going on as well--wry mouth, parrot mouth, sow mouth, etc). I've got one mare that is almost 7 and hasn't had any issues yet, but I was feeling around in her mouth myself the other day and felt a few edges that can be taken down this year. My other mare was 8 when I was given her...I checked her teeth and they were pretty good for never having been floated, but went ahead and had my vet do them the following week...she can go about a year at a time, but still gets her 6 month checks by him and I will check inbetween those visits myself (especially if i see one of them dropping feed, or they start getting snarky about the bit, etc) That being said..I've owned a couple of sloppy eaters...never anything wrong with their teeth, floated regularly, etc...but no matter what...feed would dribble out or they'd fling it around or whatnot...LOL. My vet just called them pigs (he had me wait to grain them one day when he was coming out early in the AM so he could see)
Jazzie is slightly parrot mouthed, so that may just add to it.
I'm planning on getting at least her teeth done, it'll likely have to wait till I get money this summer....
As for Nike, maybe when he goes out to lease at a fancy stable they'll float them for me, lol!
I get several of mine done once a year, a few don't need it. I just let the vet check them all and tell me, he's really good with teeth. I think maybe the differences have something to do with jaw shape and how coarse the hay is? they seem to get done less if they eat more rough hay...
Sissy got done at 1 year old in an emergency and yearly since, Ali gets done yearly since she was two, Dusty got done at 3 when he had issues with his molar caps, hasn't been done since and he's 9 now, and Chase is 5 and has never been done, Classy is older and gets done every year, V has not been done yet but he keeps an eye on her cause she has a sideways baby tooth. He's coming out next week to look at them all (and coggins and shots) and will probably be pulling V's wolf teeth and float who needs it.
Classy is a very messy eater, good teeth or no. She has a really big mouth and she shovels food into it untill she has more than she can chew, then slobbers and lets it all fall out but a little, chews that and starts over with the next bite, makes spit gunk all over everything. Then there is Dusty who has allways chewed with his lips closed, nice and polite, he likes food too much to risk dropping any. :lol:
I do it for the first time when they are coming three, before I start bitting them. After that I do it as needed.
Serenity rarely needs it, but I check her at least yearly. Lacy needs to be done at least once a year or she gets hooks and sharp edges.
Cyn had his done recently and was ready, he was starting to get some sharp edges and he's 3. Plus his big boy teeth are coming in and I like to get them looked at during shots twice a year.
Khaos didn't need floating at all at 3, so I waited until he needed them done, and he is almost 4 and just had his done - they still weren't really bad, but getting close to sharp on some edges.
Have your vet show you what to feel and how so you will be able to check them and have them done as needed. It's taken my vet 4 years to get me comfortable enough to do it, but they are still checked during a yearly check-up.
I have it done yearly as Lillith says it is not just for eating... the sharp edges can cause ulcers on the cheeks and bitting problems too - wolf teeth sometimes need extracting too if they are going to cause a problem.
Also a parrot mouth can sometimes be sorted with floating but also if it's more than a centimetre out I would bere this in mind if you ever breed her as this can be hereditary....so in the very least make sure any stallion you put her too has excellent dentition. ;)
Also keep in mind that what they eat can help determine when they need it. I know ours have never had it done and all the ones that are pastured still eat will out any problems (even ones 15+) but I would still love to get the oldies done and definitely the grain eaters since they are starting to drop quite a bit of food.
My horses are check during annual physicals, but other than that, I have only had to have 6 done in 15 yrs (Akina, Darwin, Kori Lynn, Star, Patches and Samantha). My vets live by the philosophy "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"...lol. So far, it's worked for us.