Welcome to Advanced Equine
This website was set up to help horse owners understand the necessity to have their horse's teeth regularly checked and to tell them about myself and the service I can provide.
As a horse owner myself, I know how important it is to have my horse's teeth checked regularly.
I play Polocrosse and I need my horses to be in peak condition. The teeth can affect how they eat, therefore affecting their condition and how well they keep their weight on. Teeth can also affect the way the horse acts. For example, if the horse is in pain it could be bad tempered, throwing its head, opening its mouth and even rearing.
I have worked with various equine dentists and vets, from various parts of the world, including International zoo vets and vets trained at the Royal Veterinary College. I offer a professional service that includes full examination of the head, jaw and teeth, explaining how it all works and how the performance of the horse can be affected by any problems. I am fully insured and mobile.
I cover Essex, Suffolk, Herts, and have contact with equine dentists all over the world. I also travel to anywhere that zoos or wildlife parks require me to attend.
Why should you have your horse's teeth checked?
The horse should have its teeth checked at least every 6 months. This should be done by a trained equine dentist. This is to prevent any problems within the dental arcades. Problems include hooks, ramps, waves, loose teeth, loose caps, sharp edges, plus many more.
Having your horse's teeth examined could help solve a lot of other problems. For example, not eating and/or losing weight, pulling on the bit or head shaking. These could be all teeth related.
As part of the examination I also check the jaw alignment and all the muscles around this area. This is to help achieve the three-point balance.
Minor changes of alignment can be corrected at your stable i.e. points, ramps, hooks etc. capable of being rasped down. Major changes require more intensive work which is essential to optimise your horse's performance and welfare.
I am trained to recognise any problem within the dental arcade which requires correction.
Beware there are a number of people calling themselves equine dentists who are not trained. Always asked to see their certification and Insurance.
Horses develop dental problems if they live ouside of their natural habitat. In the normal equine mouth the incisors and cheek teeth (molars) meet simultaneously. It is important that the angles and lengths of the teeth match so that your horse is comfortable and can chew correctly. Grass contains silica, the building block for glass, so is a fairly abrasive foodstuff. Processed feeds and even hay are relatively soft and so the teeth don't get a good workout. As the horse's teeth are worn down they start to erupt their reserve crown i.e. what is stored within the jaw. There should only be approximately half an inch of tooth above the gum line within the oral cavity.
The regular pressure of chewing on grass in the natural habitat helps the body regulate the rate in which teeth erupt. Reserve crowns last for about 20 years and thus in the wild determine a horse's life span. When the reserve crown has run out the roots start to erupt, but because they are made of a softer substance and become loose they provide only temporary relief. Normal chewing involves firstly nipping of grass with the incisors (front teeth) and then passing the wad of food back to the molars with the tongue. The horse doesn't chew up and down like a human but in a sideways circular motion to maximise grinding on the molar surfaces.
Methodical chewing thoroughly mixes saliva with the food to form a 'bolus' which is steadily passed backwards down the molar 'battery' to be swallowed. The horse lowers his head again ready to take the next bite; this may be chewed on either the right or left side - only one side is usually used per mouthful. The perfect horse will use both sides evenly but often like us horses prefer to chew on one side. This can be through discomfort or plain preference and can lead to problems.
We have taken the horse out of his natural habitat and placed him in an enclosed space. Most of his diet is now processed i.e. hay and hard food. There are few horses that graze outside for more than 12 hours a day . Fed on processed feeds our horses no longer use their front teeth to 'nip' grass so their incisors can get longer relative to their molars, preventing proper occlusion (meeting) of the back grinders. This can cause major problems for the horse which you may not be aware of; TMJ or jaw joint pain, he may be unsteady on the bit, wave mouth, hooks, sharp points and inability to grind his food correctly. This in turn can lead to weight loss and even colic. Often we feed from height as opposed to floor level and so the horse develops hooks and ramps on his molars as well as other oral problems. We have bred horses for prettier heads and this has been at the expense of dental confirmation. The horses and ponies with finer, dainty heads seem to suffer most with congenital abnormalities.