Teeth n’ Sheath n’ Crack n’ Juice

It’s been busy times around these parts over the past week! Mostly with the horses getting everything they could possibly need and my bank account getting more anemic by the day. So ya know… life as usual.

the pasture bale next to a 3-string bale

Rather than me driving to the feed store every couple weeks to get the $40 3-string bales of Orchard, we decided to hop on a load and get a big, more economical pasture bale delivered. I don’t know what I had pictured a pasture bale to look like in my head, but my god this thing is massive. I come from the land where it’s either a 2-string, a 3-string, or a round bale. Watching them unload this massive square bale was kinda fun. Almost as much fun as cutting it open and watching the giant flakes melt off of it. So far it’s worked out just fine to tear chunks from it to feed, and it’s a shitton of hay so we’ll see how long it lasts. If nothing else it’s saved me from having to haul and unload the 100lb bales by myself, so I like it for that reason alone.

Wednesday was dental day for all the horses.

I used Dr. Bess Darrow (she was just on the Equestrian Voices podcast and was REALLY interesting, especially her input on tack, if you want to give that a listen) who came highly recommended by my local friends, and she did not disappoint. First of all, her rig is amazing. It’s a trailer that’s been reconfigured to have everything she needs, and it’s legit the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. The horses get their sedation at the bottom of the ramp, load up as it’s setting in, get their teeth done, and then unload off a ramp in the front. There’s a fan in there and all of her equipment is right where she needs it, no setup required. Brilliant. Makes things quick and easy. I was a little worried about how the horses would feel about getting in the trailer by themselves and all that, but the timing with the sedation is pretty perfect, and all of them had no problem.

Dr. Bess was also one of those people that I could tell right away was my kind of people. She was super nice but also no bullshit, and you could tell she really loves the horses and is passionate about what she does. Also found out she only lives a couple miles away! She was really great, and definitely glad to add her to my team. Overall the horses got good reports…

Henry loves the afternoon rains here

We started with Henry, who is generally the “troublesome” one when it comes to teeth. He’s got a decent overjet, history of broken teeth, and has had a few different procedures over the years. She thought generally his mouth looked pretty good… we’ll have to watch one of his molars (the one that had a filling a couple years ago) but otherwise there was nothing out of the ordinary. He had a few sharp points and some ramps, got those taken care of, got his weiner cleaned up while he was drunk, and he got a Gold Star from Dr. Bess. She loved him, as all medical professionals seem to do.

The only notable thing is that in the middle of his exam she said “wow he has so much extra tissue under his tongue, you don’t see that a lot in thoroughbreds”. She pulled up this massive handful of extra skin from under his tongue and showed it to me. I started asking questions, because in all the years I’ve owned this horse and all the good dentists that have looked in his mouth, no one has ever told me about that. She said that sometimes horses that have that (which is usually warmbloods) can find bits uncomfortable because that extra skin can move around and get stuck in between the bit and teeth or the bit and the gums. It was like a massive moment of clarity, I looked her dead in the eye and was like “I ride him in a hackamore, I’ve never been able to make him 100% happy in a bit”. She said “thank you for listening to him, that’s probably why he doesn’t like bits”. Omg. OMG. Finally, some kind of possible explanation for why this horse is SO different in a bit vs bitless. This led us down a road of conversation about bitless and competition and all that stuff (she’s very pro-allowing horses to go bitless) and yeah… we have very similar opinions on all that.

Next up was Presto, who apparently is a very cheap drunk. She said he has a pretty nice mouth structure-wise, and again had nothing particularly out of the ordinary, just some sharp points (and also a very clean ween).

Presto got a big ol’ LIGHTWEIGHT note at the top of his chart because he was drunk as a skunk from a regular dose of sedation

Last but not least was Gemma, who got the comment “lovely mouth!”… it’s apparently very correct. She had a variety of sharp points and ramps, and the points way up in the very back were causing some small ulcerations in her mouth. We got that all taken care of and then she was good to go. Well behaved kiddos all around, and nothing major, so… good dental day!

The next day was Dr. Redman, for chiropractic and acupuncture. I really wanted him to come out for Presto, who seems to do best with regular chiropractic, but I figured I’d go ahead and have him look at Gemma too while he was here. I have no pictures from his visit because the whole time we were with Presto I was trying to keep him from knocking the poor guy off the bale (Presto seems to think that’s the game), and the whole time we were with Gemma I was trying to convince her that he was not in fact trying to rip her legs clean off her body (slight drama queen).

Presto, as usual, was a bit of a mess. Dr. Redman did a lot of adjustments from the neck to the SI, which Presto seemed to like. After that we did acupuncture, or more specifically aquapuncture, where he injected teeny amounts of B-12 into the acupuncture points. Presto was not so into that. Gemma was highly skeptical of the Dr in general (STRANGER DANGER) but overall cooperative. He said she was very easy to adjust, particularly in her neck… “really nice neck joints, fluid and very easy to adjust”… how’s that for a unique compliment? I was worried that we might have to scrape her off the ceiling if we did aquapuncture but we decided to just try it and see. I’ll be damned if she didn’t seem to quite enjoy that part of it. Go figure. Anyway, he said Gemma actually felt quite good and didn’t think she’d need to be done again anytime soon. Presto on the other hand is on a 4-week schedule for… probably forever. His little roach back just makes this kind of stuff more necessary for him, particularly right now when he’s been off work for so long and is so weak. I could immediately see a difference in Presto’s back after his session though. I really liked Dr. Redman – another good professional added to the team. That’s the great thing about being in this area.

The horses got a little break after that stuff, but otherwise we’ve just kind of been chugging right along. Dr. Redman recommended pretty much the same exercises for Presto that I was already doing, plus a couple more, so Presto basically lives in a maze of poles and cavaletti these days. The good news is that he’s actually trotting over them now rather than just jumping clear over them all. So. That’s an improvement.

All of the kiddos are feeling great, knock on wood, and I’m happy with the progress we’re making with building up our team. I mean, I still have to find a trainer… details… but at least the horses are feeling good!

3 thoughts on “Teeth n’ Sheath n’ Crack n’ Juice

  1. I’m slightly envious…I have to haul an hour and a half to find chiropractic work, because nobody will come out to my area for just one horse (and I live in ranch country, if it can’t be kept sound and fat and happy on pasture and a handful of oats or senior, it goes on down the road….sigh. I wish some of these folks would recognize that their good ranch horse might be better if they paid attention to things like “whole horse care” and saddle fit…but I digress.) Therefore, I haven’t actually had my horse looked at by a chiropractor for…..well over a year. Oops.


  2. It sounds like you are building a great team of horse care professionals. Thank you for sharing your experiences with them, as I always come away learning something new. You will find a trainer in good time – perhaps that is the only downside to your new location, in that having too many choices can be overwhelming.


  3. It’s so nice to have great options all right there! After 19 years, it seems I need to find a new sports med vet, and I’m VERY upset about it. There are options around here, but… I thought I had the best one. So now I gotta figure out second best I guess.
    I wasn’t always a big believer in the body work, but I think it depends on the horse a lot. I didn’t notice much difference having Jamp and Rio worked on, but for the ones in the barn now, it’s like night and day. Same body worker, different horses. I love mine, and I’m glad you’ve found a good one too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s