Endless Mountain Equine Dentistry

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How to Prepare your Horse

As with anything you do with your horse, you can make your next equine dentist visit easier by training your horse. Horses that allow people to work with them and relaxed are easier for everyone.

If your horse is well-trained, well-behaved and easy to work with you will make your dentist's job much easier and more effective. Even the best veterinarian or dentist must struggle to examine a horse that is stomping, biting, moving away or just not cooperating.

While you may blame your horse's "sudden" behavioral problems on sickness or pain, chances are that your ill-mannered patient has not learned how to look to you for leadership and guidance and their disrespect displays their lack of respect for your cues.

Parelli has created a DVD for those interested in learning about Natural Dental and Farrier prep. See this link for more information.

Lesson Prep

Lesson #1: Hold Still
Your horse will need to stand still for injections and examinations without nudging or biting. While you might think that you can hold your horse close and keep them still, you are just not strong enough. Your horse needs to be able to stand still without your restraint.

Training Technique: Essentially, you need to teach your horse to ground tie. Walk your horse to where you would like them to stand, say "whoa," and then step away at a 45-degree angle from where their nose is pointing, so you will be in front but safely off to the side if they do move on. Once in place, pount your toes towards your horse's nose and allow the rope to drape. Stay still as long as he keeps his feet in place and does not move their head from side to side. If they do move, correction is necessary. To correct, wave the rope up and down so that the movement travels through the line and affects the halter. Make one correction and then allow your horse to lower its head and stand still again. If it picks up a foot or turns its head, correct again. Be consistent until they learn.

Lesson #2: Accept Touch
Your horse needs to accept the touch from your dentist. Many horses are not used to being touched near their mouth unless they are accepting a treat or the bit. You need to teach your horse that handling of their mouth does not necessarily mean putting something inside your horse's mouth.

The first place to start is looking at your day to day practices. Do you give your horse a treat every time you are with them? If so, your horse has come to expect that a hand near their mouth may be the source of treats. Often these horses tend to nibble and chew on objects as well as people if they come near their mouth. Even if it is not agressive behavior, this behavior can seriously delay an oral exam.

Training Technique: start by touching your horse on the front of their nose. Once they accept your hand on their nose without moving to inspect or evade your hand, move down to their lips. You should be able to touch their lips without them reaching out to chew or lick your hand. Reach around and push your thumb or finger into the corner of their mouth - this is the area of their mouth that is without teeth that the bit would rest in. Wait until they accept your thumb or finger inside the corner of their mouth without evading your touch or turning their head.

 

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5324 Mercur Hill Road
Wyalusing, PA 18853
Phone: 607-351-6423
Email: EndlessMtnEqD@gmail.com