Have you heard the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” What does that mean? It means if someone gives you something, don’t be rude by checking it out in order to decide if it’s good enough for you to accept.
There is a difference between you purchasing a horse and someone GIVING you a horse. When purchasing a horse, it’s wise to look into its mouth, as an indicator of the horse’s health and wellness. If someone GIVES you a horse and you open the horse’s mouth to check it out, it’s like you’re questioning the value of that gift. DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH is a saying to remind and encourage us to be courteous, thankful, and grateful in receiving and accepting gifts. So, if someone gives you a free horse (there’s honestly no such thing as a “free” horse, if you know what I mean…snicker-snicker) you don’t check its teeth.
Talking about teeth, have you heard about whole horse dentistry? I hadn’t. It’s amazing and wonderful to experience ordinary days that hold “gifts” for us. Now, if we’re “set” in our ways, narrow-minded, fearful, or stubborn, more than likely we will not be in a receiving and accepting position. Just sayin’.
After several attempts to connect with my previous equine dentist, I made a call to an equine vet and scheduled a time to have a couple of our horse’s mouths/teeth examined. A few days prior to the appointment, I had uneasiness inside me. This isn’t my first rodeo in experiencing ‘inside quickening’ (aka ‘attention-getter); so I knew something was calling for my attention, but at that point, I had no idea what that might be.
Having a moment with one of my NEIGHbors, I simply asked if they knew of someone who did equine dentistry. Yes! How interesting. Heard names, terms, concepts I had NEVER heard before. Please understand, I honor veterinarians and am grateful for all they do for our animals. This had absolutely nothing to do with what I had come to know and respect, but what I was about to learn in connecting with another mind-set or perception in regards to my horse’s health.
Trotting in the same attitude that leads me to train as an ANIMAL B.E.S.T. PRACTITIONER, I opened my eyes to discover a ‘gift’ in my horse’s mouth.
I heard a name I have never heard before, Spencer LaFlure. Raised on his family’s two dude ranches in New York State, he wondered why middle-aged horses started losing their top line (meaning they developed a sway back) later in life. From questions that increased curiosity and curiosity that brought more questions, he began an intense study of horse’s skulls that were available at the dentistry school he was attending in Idaho. His journey led him to his own research and development of the techniques that he uses today and the skills he teaches to his students from around the world.
One more time the equine world invites me to ‘think outside the box,’ open my heart to new possibilities of health, and connect me with new faces that flow from the unforced rhythms of God’s amazing grace.
I have come to understand when a horse’s mouth is not properly balanced, he will not move properly. Wow! That could be a word for us humans, right! Over time, improper balance shows up in muscular confirmation and movement of the horse. Horse’s teeth grow continuously until about the age of 20 years. Usually balancing horses over 20 years of age is not recommended because their teeth are no longer growing and they don’t need it. It can harm them more than help them.
Whole horse dentistry is looking at points on molars, hooks, ramps and protrusions in a different way. Understandably, TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) needs to be centered and stable. Muscles and teeth properly aligned keep the TMJ centered. The starting point is balancing the incisors first to the length and angle of a five year old horse; accepting each horse is different; awareness of precision on each tooth; not using power tools that do a great deal of damage to equine tooth composition and structure.
Hope you chew on this for awhile. If you have any questions, get in touch with me at the end of June. This will give me time to chew as I observe our horses.