Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pearly Whites

This morning we loaded Flash, Lucy and Pistol into the trailer and drove them down to the vet's office to have their teeth floated. A very few horses rarely, or never, need to have their teeth filed but most do. Mufasa and Jackson's teeth look pretty good and don't require any attention this year, so they got to stay home.

Flash was loaded first, with Lucy going next. They immediately started bickering.

Lucy: Keep your face on your side. Squeal, stomp, head toss.
Flash: Get a grip.
Lucy: He touched me! Boy germs! aaaagh!
Flash: Don't be such a drama queen. Look at Pistol; she's not making a fuss.
Lucy: Give me a cookie and I'll quit squealing.

When we arrived at the clinic, we put the two mares in a round pen

and Brett unloaded Flash. He launched himself out of the trailer and pranced.
Woo boy! A deployment! Look -- there's cars in the parking lot and people and dogs. It must be a crowd control assignment. Tack me up and let's go.

Instead, the vet listened to Flash's heart and then led him into the stockade where he was sedated. Flash's lower teeth have worn way down and he may have trouble chewing hay thoroughly soon. We will start adding a pelleted feed to his morning bucket to make sure he is getting adequate nutrition -- although, he is in good weight. Flash will be 19 this year and the condition of his teeth is to be expected at his age.

Lucy was up next. Her teeth had some pointy areas where they didn't wear evenly. Dr. Mike filed them down level with the rest of her molars. This way, she won't gouge her cheek when she's eating. Overall, she has good teeth and it looked like she had gotten regular dental work in her past.

Pistol, the unflappable, was up last. She took one look at the stockade and planted her feet. No way, Jose. She was not going in hell, high water or cookie bribes. She ended up getting her shot of sedative, and then we led her in on wobbly legs. Her teeth are in excellent shape for an almost 19 year old horse. Unlike Flash, the lowers weren't worn down at all. In fact, her teeth are so hard that Dr. Mike had to work hard to even out the waves that were preventing her teeth from sliding evenly across each other to grind her hay.

Once the horses were alert, we loaded back up and headed home. Brett is thinking about trying to ride Flash one of these days. In the last month, he's been acting very peppy and not walking as if the ground were eggshells. He's been on pasture rest for two years; maybe whatever was hurting him so much has healed. Both he and Jackson are doing so much better up here at Oak Creek Ranch than they did down south.  The ground up here is much softer; not the hard pack cement-like ground at Aspen Meadows.  Its the only difference I can think of that would make such a big difference.


  1. Loved the conversation between the tree horses, it made me laugh. It's great to hear that all their teeth are in generally good shape. Let us know how the riding goes. It does sound like the softer ground helped him heal.
    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  2. I feel like Pistol at the dentists too.....

  3. i have an old mare that had a tooth extracted and she began eating hay again. sadly, she was just swallowing it in hay balls and got impacted, colic'd and we almost lost her. she ONLY gets a kibble-like horse feed and no more hay, ever. kinda sad, but at least she's allowed to pasture graze.

  4. LOL what we do to keep our horses healthy...and Pistol looks extremely stoned in that last shot...

  5. For what it's worth, there's a fair amount of literature in the veterinary journals these days about the benefits of "benign neglect". It's basically the concept of throwing lame horses out into pasture and leaving them alone for a year or two - just caring for them and letting them be horses. It seems that that, just letting them be allows whatever mysterious lameness issues are in play to heal up.

    This doesn't work well with horses that have serious issues like advanced navicular. But with horses that have general soreness problems, it seems to be particularly effective.

    In your case, I suspect that benign neglect in combination with the softer ground, has given Flash the time and conditions he needed to recuperate.

    Hard ground is rough on animals. Ever notice how awful you feel after a day of walking around on concrete?

    Anyhow, I bet that, although Flash won't have all the stamina he had when he was younger, he'll certainly be good for a nice trail ride and a jog around the arena.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.