When I showed up at the barn on Friday, the BO let me know that the dentist was coming that day for her horses. The really good dentist, one of the best in the country if not the world, who can sometimes be tricky to schedule because he travels (or used to, pre-covid) a lot to teach and work on special cases. It was ironic timing, because literally just a few days before I had thought to myself “I really should ask her when she’s planning the next dental so I can get my two in on that appointment”. But then I forgot to mention it, naturally. Luck was on my side though, because when he arrived he said he did indeed have time to do mine while he was there. Major score! The stars rarely align so perfectly.
I was grooming Presto while we waited, and I did a minor thing. I know that his crazy wild ombre forelock is part of his overall trademark chaotic look, but… I was at my wit’s end with it. For the second time in a week it was stuck in his eyeball when I went to go get him, and full of hay and burrs (where did the burrs even come from, I have yet to see them on a another horse). It was nothing more than dry gross sunbleached VELCRO and I couldn’t take it anymore.
I wasn’t really sure the best way to approach it, to be honest. Forelocks are much trickier than manes. I sure as heck wasn’t taking scissors to it. Nobody needs a bowl cut. But I didn’t want to pull it either, and lose any of the thickness. So I decided to run my little rake thingy through the bottom half and see what happened.
It worked really well. I used it a little higher on the sides to keep the natural tapered look, and it basically just removed all the gross fried orange hair on the ends. His forelock still goes down TO his eyes, but isn’t long enough to get stuck in them anymore. and overall looks much better. He looks more like an adult, somehow. Like a kid that got a proper hair cut and is ready to go to school. I mean he’s still super sunbleached and covered in bites and nicks and scrapes and the occasional cactus thorn, but ya know… the bangs are an upgrade.
And when it came time for his turn with the dentist, there was even more adulthood happening.
Overall his teeth look pretty good. Nothing crazy or super out of the ordinary. He was due for a float, but his mouth is developing well and properly. Somewhere around 3 1/2 is when they start shedding another set of caps, and he was right on the money for that. One of the front ones was so loose that Dr. Moore just tapped it with his tool and it fell out. Another front one took 3 taps. Basically all of his 3 1/2-year-old ones were in the process of coming out, so he went ahead and helped them along the way. Especially two in the back that were starting to pack food between the cap and the adult tooth – those were getting a little stinky.
While everything looked normal for his age, there is definitely a lot of tooth activity happening in there. He recommended that I continue to have him done every 6 months or so for a while, because of his age. Presto doesnt have too many more caps left to go before he will have a mouth full of just adult teeth! Pretty much all he has left are the ones that come out at 4 1/2.
Henry’s teeth were also a little interesting, although in a less normal way. His jaw doesn’t quite line up, so there’s always a little extra work that needs to be done with him, but also… he’s got another tooth that’s thinking about breaking. Ugh. You may remember we had to pull a very broken tooth last fall, and it was certainly NOT my favorite thing (nor his) and I don’t really want to have to do it again.
I wish I had taken a photo of the graphics Dr. Moore showed me because it explained pretty well why this is happening. I couldn’t find anything nearly as good on the internet. But in the simplest terms, horse’s teeth have these pillars running through them that are filled with cement-like material. On normal teeth, these pillars are fairly straight and even. On some horses, these pillars can be very irregular, super thick in some areas, super thin in others, or even have gaps where there isn’t any of the actual cement-like material in them. Henry is the latter. So as he ages and more of his tooth erupts, we’re getting to the areas that are very thin or that have gaps. This makes the tooth much weaker and more prone to breakage, especially in horses like him where their jaw alignment makes the teeth wear unevenly.
The good news is that this tooth hasn’t truly broken yet, and Dr. Moore is capable of a procedure that would most likely prevent it from happening. It’s basically like a human getting a filling – they drill out a little bit and fill it with some material to make it stronger and prevent it from breaking. It’s surprisingly not stupid expensive, definitely cheaper than what it would cost to pull a broken tooth, but it has to be done in the clinic, so I have to make another appointment to haul him up there.
So basically I have one horse with a normal but very active mouth because of his age, and one horse with a wonky weird problem-prone mouth that will probably always be high maintenance as he ages. Sounds about right. My wallet doesnt even weep about these things anymore, it has become accustomed to it at this point.