Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dentist and First Rides Outside

This morning our excellent dentist, Mike Fragale, came, along with a local vet to do the sedation.  I was in charge of another boarder's horse as well as my three, so it was a long morning.  There were four horses ahead of me, although two were seniors and only took a moment without sedation.

Mike works without power tools, and focuses on the horse's comfort - no head slings or stands - he kneels if he has to.  He's a natural balance dentist with extensive training - a number of vets refer their clients to him for dental work.  He spends a fair amount of time making sure the incisors are properly aligned, and also pays attention to the location of the hyoid bone and the status of the TMJs. All three horses are doing well.  Red was a hot mess, and took some extra sedation - he didn't like being inside for hours at a strange time, and he was very nervous.  His teeth are doing well - Mike finished up some work he started last year with Red - he doesn't make big changes all at once.  Red should now be good for a year.

Pie just needed some work on some rims he'd developed on his molars.  Dawn's mouth was pretty good, but another fractured tooth has appeared - Mike thinks all the fractured teeth - we're up to four now - were due to the same incident.  We have no idea what she did to do this to herself - she came in from the pasture one day several years ago with blood pouring from her mouth and a big cut on her tongue - but the teeth, molars on the bottom on both sides, are split down the middle from front to back, and are failing one by one.  One is sheared off at the gumline, and two others have had fragments removed by Mike with stable fragments remaining - the pieces he removed last year have healed over perfectly.  The new one is missing the inner face and the outer face is starting to lean - Mike took off the outer side and also reduced it in size so it wouldn't cut her check.  She's also developed a periodontal pocket between this tooth and the one behind it that tends to trap food debris, but so far no infection.  We're in a watchful waiting mode now - I'm to keep an eye on how she's eating and also smell for any signs of infection.  If anything develops, Mike would refer her to a dental surgeon - the one he likes happens to be at the vet hospital I now use, which isn't too far away.

Mike said that it was fine if I rode this afternoon, so I did.  Dawn got the day off - I had hoped to ride her this morning before he got there, but they were working on the arena footing - a good thing.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day with temperatures in the 60s - the first really nice day in what's been a very cold spring. Red was still pretty amped up this afternoon, and we had a nice work session with lots of forward trot and some canter.  He was somewhat distracted by the open arena doors, and once he spotted a horse being ridden in the (distant) outdoor arena on the hill, he really, really wanted to go outside.  After a good amount of work in the arena, we indeed went outside - our first outdoor ride this year.  We rode in the big pasture - the footing is still pretty chopped up but it's drier than it's been.  Red really enjoyed himself and seemed to like exploring.  He didn't seem to care in the slightest that there wasn't another horse out there - I think he's going to be an excellent trail horse.  After I was done with Red, he was relaxed and satisfied that life was good.  Pie and I also had a very nice relaxed walking ride around the pasture - he was alert but very responsive.

Perhaps spring is almost sprung . . .

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