Trouble getting your horse bridled? Trouble maintaining contact through the reins while riding? Does your horse seem to struggle with where his or her feet are at times? You might need to have the Equine Dentist out to see you! It’s time for Diego to have his teeth done again, so I thought I would spend a few minutes explaining the value in an having a dentist make a farm call to see you. Having Diego’s feet and teeth seen by specialists was top on my list of things to do to help him feel better and carry himself more naturally. Diego was VERY fussy in the bridle, even with a rubber bit designed for fussy mouths, and once the dentist was out I knew why.
His teeth were overgrown in a pattern that meant that he could not move his jaw up and down at all and had a very small range of motion laterally in the jaw. I immediately noticed a change in his ability to maintain contact in the bridle after the Equine Dentist saw him. Soon after, I noticed he was carrying his head in the middle (not nose to the ground like the Western Pleasure training he had but not sky high either). He was using his neck more and lifting just slightly through the back. A large part of this change was due to the fact that his lower jaw could slide down and out when he lowered his head now, instead of getting stuck and causing discomfort and stress. I can’t wait to have the dentist, Dr. Mike Fragale, out this month for a second visit. He wanted to see Diego after 3 months so that the changes were gradual and not overwhelming to his physiology.
“No hoof, no horse” is a well-known phrase in the horse world. “No teeth, no horse” should be right up there with it. Did you know that horse’s teeth erupt from their jaw until they reach age 25 or so? Did you know that all horse’s have a finite amount of tooth and once it is down erupting, it can lead to their teeth not touching and thus they become unable to chew their food? It is very important that their teeth are not overly floated and too much taken off of the teeth each time so that they can live a long and healthy life.
In addition, the angles and function of the horse’s mouth and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) are important to overall neurological health and how they orient themselves. The folks at The Center for Neuromuscular Horse Dentistry have a lot of great information on why using a Natural Balance Dentist is so important for your horse’s health. (Warning – horse dental health is a rabbit hole if you are a neurology or anatomy nut).