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Suspicious horse / teeth rasping
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DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 03:42 am
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Rifruffian, I don't think Jineen means 'don't care' exactly the way you're interpreting it. There's a difference between 'totally not caring about something' in the sense of not being at all interested in it, and 'not caring' in the sense of 'not letting the horse's reactions get to you.' That's what the whole import of her posting is about: the word for this is detachment.

Jineen does not articulate the underlying problem -- that problem with herself that is powering the whole situation -- but she comes so close to it that I think it's OK if I fill it in now. We have to ask what was driving Jineen to be angry when her horse stopped performing and focusing well and reliably -- when he, as she puts it, 'backslid'.

What that factor is, is this: when Jineen was initially training this horse, Jineen was packing a hidden agenda. That agenda was: OK, horse, I'm putting all this time and effort on you, I'm feeding you and cleaning you and providing you with a good home, and IN RETURN FOR THAT YOU OWE ME.

This is so common as to be almost universal in the horse-owning community. For that matter it's almost universal in the human community! The parent says to the child: I gave you life, I fed you, clothed you, cared for you when you were sick, saw to it that you got an education and NOW YOU OWE ME.

I know of no factor more likely to cause any child who has any amount of backbone to flee as far away from that parent as she can, at the earliest possible moment. Because, of course, it is a horrible lie: no child owes the parent anything of the kind that the parent who is trying to collect that supposed debt is trying to collect. What the child owes the parent is respect and honor. She does not owe them money, time, or to be their slave-bound caretaker in their old age. To be sure, if the parent reaches old age and needs help, because the parent himself does not have the means to pay for home care, then the children should step in to help work out a way for the parent to have a decent life. But that is quite different from the child who has absorbed the false belief that she should live at home or devote all her money and time to caring for the parent. Another variant of this is that the parent says 'you can't be an artist, we will only be satisfied if you become a doctor', or 'the only acceptable husband is a doctor', and the child collapses under this pressure and does as the parent demands. What depths of neurosis, buried anger and resentment, does this imply and engender?

The distinction I am making is between humane consideration and respect that are given voluntarily and rationally by the child, vs. the kind of demand coming from the parent that strangles, twists, and diminishes the life of the child.

And this is the analogy I want you-all to make with your horses. What the animal owes you is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ANY TIME. As soon as the idea creeps in there that the horse "owes it to you" to "remember what he has been taught" -- or as soon as we hear you cry "he SHOULD know this!" there will be the following results:

1. Like Jineen, you will become angry when the horse fails to perform -- because as she observes you are taking it personally -- and why you are taking it personally is because your ego is FAR too tied to what the animal does or does not do. You lack detachment -- you fail to 'not care' enough.

2. Because you're angry and feeling diminished, you're likely to go after punishing the animal for non-compliance or non-performance. You'll go after him with the whip or the rope or the toe of your boot or a length of chain or a club, or be reefing on him or clubbing him in the mouth with the bit or maybe it will be the "bloody spur" lesson. And there will be only one possible result from any of this: the animal will become another notch less able, less ready, and less willing to perform or comply. He will love you less and he will trust you less and he will want to be ANYWHERE BUT where you are, because he does not go by punishment -- no horse has the slightest understanding of punishment -- so what you're offering is punishment but what he is apprehending is what you are TEACHING him because that is the only mode by which he can take you in!

3. So you will miss every opportunity, if nonperformance/punishment is your mode, to re-educate or educate. "Educate" is not on the punisher's priority list, not on their "to do" list -- "train" will be, but "educate" will not. It cannot be: because punishments as well as training address the body of the horse. Training is repetitive and routinized, because the underlying belief is that the horse must be mentally very dull, because obviously he forgets what he was 'supposed' to know. So instead of it occurring to the ego-bound punisher that what he needs to do every single time the animal tries to comply is RELEASE; instead what he will do is REPEAT TO REINFORCE -- one of the greatest mistakes that can be made. There is only one thing that asking a horse to repeat something he has just done well can mean to him: that is, that he has done the wrong thing!

So you see, when your ego is in it too much; when you're sticky-smarmy, oochie-smoochy -- you're not able to fulfill your proper role, which is not Mommy Dearest but to be a teacher that your horse can enjoy and respect. This is the key to turning it all around: the good teacher does not get intimate past a certain point with any student, and the good teacher knows she is not the student's Mommy. The good teacher knows and is confident of her ability to convey all that the horse will need to learn, beginning from and building upon the smallest details. The good teacher teaches one thing at a time, then steps back to allow the horse to put one and one together to make two. She asks the horse to show her what he knows, and when he gets even one thing right, she praises that and builds upon that, and ignores the other parts in the knowledge that they are on their way to fading out all on their own.

This is what 'caring a great deal' looks and feels like. But the teacher must be detached to allow that caring or that love to be operative! Loving the student cannot mean demanding that the student love you!

Only the handler or rider who is detached will be able to react instantly when the horse is about to do something he shouldn't. Only the detached rider -- the one who is not living inside herself all the time, making up stories about reality instead of living in reality -- only she will be aware, almost as soon as the horse himself is aware, that something is bothering the horse and liable to cause the buildup that finally results in spooking. Jineen's horse is spooking now because she's not in there early enough to perceive the buildup, but at least Jineen knows not to punish him for the spook that she herself set up and permitted. -- Dr. Deb

Kate
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 Posted: Tue Mar 16th, 2010 10:10 am
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I haven't replied quickly as I've been away - student exchange to Norway, an amazing place, but no internet where I was.

It has given me plenty time to think though, away from my horse which I feel has been the best place to do it. To begin with, I struggled to see myself as the person in descriptions at the beginning of this thread. But now, with some distance, I think I can see the point.

I have a few thoughts I would like to share. The first is the purpose of having horses: as a horse-owner in the UK who does not compete, there is no purpose for me to have a horse other than I like them. This is not really a good reason as it is all to easy to fall into the trap of the horse being a 'baby', needing cosseted and waited on hand and foot. To compare to a working horse, for example a cutting horse or a hunter, the horse must be a reliable working partner who will respond to instruction without hesitating or baulking.  If in day-to-day activities, the normal is for the horse to be number 1, influencing and even making decisions himself about being caught, picking up feet, standing still etc, then the horse cannot be a reliable partner in the 'job', whatever that may be.

So I need a purpose other than 'I like him'. I have dabbled in Western, Trec (not sure if that has reached the US - it is a hybrid between long distance and competitive trail riding) and dressage. The key word is 'dabbled' - I have never committed, which is kind of what I have done with the horse, substituting my interpretation of love and friendship for a good working relationship, which is what horses have with each other.  I often go up to visit my horse with no other purpose than bring him in, give him some ponynuts, and put him out again. I can now see how unhelpful that is in terms of expecting him to then perform on the days I do want to do things. It comes back to what do I normally do? I feed him ponynuts and scratch his itchy bits. So that is the reason for the rougher patches in our relationship and that is the bit that has to change. I need to change what is normal.

I am also very lucky with the horse that I have got. He fills in a whole lot more than I have realised, allowing me to be soft and non-directional one day and purposeful the next.  For me, he is reliable and steady, but for him I must be as changeable as the weather. This is not fair!  

This is still work in progress, but thank you, Dr Deb, for giving me a hard enough prod to get going.

Kate

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Tue Mar 16th, 2010 11:28 pm
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The thread on Freedom where Dr. Deb replied on Sept 23rd 2009 fits well here.  Here is the link: (I think) http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=481&forum_id=1&highlight=dressage+show

She talks about being the horse's teacher.  I found this to be very profound and it really spoke to me.  Maybe it will speak to you as well.

Kathy

Kate
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 Posted: Mon Mar 22nd, 2010 09:03 pm
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Thank you Kathy.

It was indeed very thought - provoking.  I am finding so much about horsemanship and horses is as much (if not more) mental attitude and flexibility. Simply changing one's views and thought processes seems to have a big impact on physical results! 

Kate

Jacquie
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 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 02:22 pm
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O my gosh

I just witnessed this morning one of the EXACT things that are to be avoided while tending a horses teeth.

The horse was subjected to a 'horse dentist' attacking her mouth with rasps and with power files, with her mouth wearing a gag to keep it open. She put up with it for a little while, then took to voicing her fear by rearing and plunging around the stable dragging her dentist with her. This made the 'horse dentist' very angry and he started to yank her around, hit her and call her names.  

This mare is a pitiful site and came to the care of a girl in the yard where my horses are boarding with a history of abuse and malnourishment. The mare has been at the yard for around 2 weeks under the care of this girl, who stood and casually watched from the other side of the stable door, giving no assurance to the horse whatsoever, apart from an occasional verbal call for her to cam down.

Incredible. I had to walk away as it is none of my business and I only saw it happening cos the mare is stabled near mine and I was winding up some polo bandages while this was going on.

It contrasts with when my own horses teeth were rasped by my vet only two days ago, and he had a little intravenous sedative (which, to be honest, he was not totally relaxed about, but was not hugely disturbed by this either and the vet was very skilled and gentle in his method) and he then stood like a lamb while the sharp edges were rasped off. I held him  and talked to him and positioned his head and he was not stressed at all.

What horses have to put up with sometimes is incredible.

Last edited on Fri Mar 26th, 2010 02:23 pm by Jacquie

Delly
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 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 10:41 pm
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My business or not - I would have intervened. In my country every year there are deaths of young children and babies let alone many animals from cruel abuse. Many could have been prevented if people had intervened.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Mar 27th, 2010 08:24 am
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Jacquie -- I agree with you in being sorry to hear of a horse being beaten up because it was unable to cooperate with a practitioner. The dentist's behavior was primitive, self-involved, and unprofessional. Whether YOU said anything or not -- certainly, the horse's owner should have. You are not responsible for anyone else's property, but the owner is responsible here and in the hereafter.

I do, however, want to add some points of correction and information to your post. First, you make it sound as if the gag used were a bad thing. This is an old, incorrect, and destructive prejudice that needs to stop right now. It is not possible to do competent equine dental work, either a full manual and visual examination, nor treatment, without the use of a gag/speculum.

Of course, the speculum should be of a modern type and correctly applied for the patient's presenting conditions. "Of a modern type" means that the rachets located on the sides of the gag, that actually work to hold the plates open, should number many more than four. The old four-click gags are hard on horses because there is too much space between clicks. They give too little flexibility; if the horse's mouth isn't open wide enough at 3 clicks, for example, and the practitioner needs a wider gape, it can happen that the animal is too stiff or wrongly conformed to be able to do four. If the speculum is then opened to four clicks, it will make the jaw muscles sore, and in extreme cases can cause or contribute to fracturing the coronoid processes of the jaws (which means the death of the horse in all likelihood).

Modern gags/speculums have many more than 4 clicks -- usually at least 10. This permits much finer adjustment, and far greater safety and comfort for the patient.

The second point that needs correction in your post is that, evidently as you observed, the practitioner was not using drugs. Jacquie, it is not legal in either your country or any other worldwide for a non-licensed, non-veterinarian to inject "chemical restraint" via an intravenous (IV) injection. There are unfortunately a certain cadre of equine dental practitioners who are not licensed and not veterinarians, who obtain dermosadan and other chemical restraint drugs by illegal means -- generally from a licensed veterinarian who has a way to hide the outgo on his books and who wants to make some quiet money on the side. Generally the boys who perform injections before they do their dentistry are quite competent about getting the drugs in. What makes their behavior both dangerous and reprehensible is that, having no training whatsoever in pharmacology, if a problem such as an allergic reaction or overdose symptoms develop, there is no way to back out of it or help the horse. It is the willingness of this minority of "hard ball players" in the equine dental world that has primarily held up the mature reconciliation and negotiation of a way for non-veterinarian equine dental practitioners to work on horses as an independent profession. In other words, in their quest to be completely independent of veterinary supervision, the boys who inject have done nothing but make themselves into little boys playing in a sandbox with they know not what. They are not behaving as responsible adults or as caring professionals, no matter how much they tell you that they "care" about horses. What they really care about is having their own way while taking home as much money as possible. This is what really irks the veterinarians who have gone after these boys in every way they can think of -- because the injecto-boys are unwilling to network, do not know how to network, do not understand or care to understand the network by which every medical professional lives, which is referrals. The unwillingness to network or make referrals, to work within the "medical community", causes the injecto-boys to be economically threatening to veterinarians -- since they take clients who would otherwise have to pay for the veterinarian to do the injections, or else bring their horses to a clinic where injections are given under the vet's direct supervision. It also causes the injecto-boys to be dangerous, nay impossible, for the vet to work with, because he can't take the chance of putting them on his insurance.

The fantasy that the injecto-boys live under is that they can be "independent", when every single other person in the medical community, including not only the vet, but also the vet tech, the vet assistant, the massage therapist, and even myself as a teacher, have to carry huge amounts of liability insurance just in order to work. There are in addition well-recognized, well-trodden legal means by which a customer can obtain reparation from the vet if he malpractices or makes a mistake. Likewise there are well-worn legal means to punish the "peri-veterinary" professionals as well, indeed, anyone who is required to carry insurance. So out of one side of their mouth the injecto-boys are saying to the customer, "see we'll save you money", when what they really mean out of the other side of their mouth is "see I've saved myself quite a chunk". There is no way that any workable bargain between non-veterinary equine dental practitioners and the licensed veterinarians can ever be struck when we are held legally liable but the non-licensed practitioner can escape the same degree and kind of regulation. We all must be regulated -- there is no such thing as an "independent profession" in that sense.

All of this is extremely unfortunate, because the injecto-boys are, as I said, a minority. There are many other non-veterinarian equine dental practitioners who are highly ethical and professional, and whose work is superb. They use power tools as well as hand tools correctly, and the array of equipment in their kit is numerous, specialized, and designed specifically for use in the equine mouth. So this is another point on which you need to be educated, Jacquie: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the use of power equipment, so long as the practitioner is appropriately skilled and knowledgeable.

Finally, I want to remind you that although your own horse may need no more than "floating", which is to say symptomatic treatment, if he's beyond 8 years of age and has never had anything more done or thought of than floating, I would say you're very likely ignorant, and your vet is also ignorant, of far more serious problems that are present. Remember, Jacquie, that a survey done about 10 years ago of all the vet schools in the world, asking them how many hours in their graduate curriculum were devoted to instruction in equine dental. The total range was from 4 hours to 4 days. Whereas the best nonveterinary equine dental practitioners are required to have minimum 250 hours of apprenticeship and laboratory time, plus classroom instruction in anatomy and oral biomechanics, plus (for more than minimum certification) a written thesis. This equates to what the Royal Company of Farriers requires of their men.

So that the practitioner you observed abused the horse is extremely unfortunate and I think, untypical. Most guys who do this work every day, especially if they do it without drugs/chemical restraint, are pretty fine horsemen who can insinuate the tools in there without getting the horse too braced up. Normally when dentistry is done without drugs, the horse is pushed back into a corner; he will walk himself back there, because there's no way to help the fact that the dentist is pushing on its mouth as he does his work. When they get their butt back in the corner of the stall, it's up to the dentist to go in, do about as much as he figures the animal is going to be able to take in one bout, and then let them down for a while.

It is also, we must note, impossible to do accurate work with power equipment without the use of the chemical restraint drugs. The power cutters are incredibly sharp, so that, with the un-drugged horse liable to sway around, object, or move, it's very difficult not to nick the tongue or cut more tooth than would have been good. I would therefore hope to see the owner of this horse make contact with a better dentist -- and on this you would have two choices: either find a veterinarian who is trained in MODERN oral biomechanical theory and the proper use of power equipment, or else find a lay veterinarian-veterinarian team -- either practicing out of a truck or requiring you to go to the clinic. There injections can most safely be given, the horse can be drugged so that he stands still and relaxed for the procedures, precision work is guaranteed, and there is the least chance of problems in the week following treatment.

I would also like to say that I would prefer not to see a chorus of 'yeah isn't horse abuse awful' in this thread or any other. Yes, we all do think it is awful. But I am not eager to see this space used to promote judging the actions of a man that we were not there to observe. He may have had more going on in that situation than Jacquie would have known about or been able to rightly understand. -- Dr. Deb

Jacquie
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 Posted: Sat Mar 27th, 2010 06:37 pm
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Oh I dont think gags are bad at all - my horses have all had them used to have their teeth rasped nearly every time. Dont know where you got the idea I thought that they were bad from. I obviously dont convey well in written word! I do think it is not a great or clever thing to have a horse wearing a gag and plunging around in a confined space. This is a big lump of metal that you would not want slammed into your face. I know another horse dentist in this area has recently had his jaw broken badly by the horse slamming into  his face while wearing a gag. Obviously he had another horse who objected strongly - just like the horse I observed, except this dentist was less nimble I suppose.

I am perfectly well aware that an equine dentist is not allowed to use an intravenous injection to sedate a horse.  This is one of the problems with using one in my opinion.

I am also perfectly well aware that vets dont have a lot of time spent in vet school on dentistry. My vets are both lovely experienced and well up to date people with years and years of experience at rasping teeth using power tools when needed and using hand rasps otherwise. Thats why I chose to use them. some equine dentists do seem to turn rasping teeth into an art form however. It is possible to over rasp as much as under rasp and I dont know about USA of course, but many equine dentists in UK do over rasp teeth. Despite  the qualifications, study time and apprenticeships they are not always very good at the job here in UK.

Its not a chorus of 'horse abuse is bad' its a recital of the very things this thread was warning about - or at least was trying to educate to avoid happening.

I cannot intervene with another horse owner who has chosen to pay a qualified person to carry out a task just because I dont happen to approve of his methods.  If she thinks this is OK and pays this man, then that is her choice and her business and certainly not mine. I dont happen to approve of the way she rides her horses either, but that is none of my business either. Her horses that I have seen have all ended up becoming commit ed buckers  -  and she can only brag about her skill staying on them. It is best to walk away and say nothing witht his kind of personality.  She would not be the type to be prepared to listen anyway. What was happening was appalling to my eyes, but I am not in charge at this barn, - just another paying horse keeper there.

If she were in my own yard, however, that would be very, very different.

I would, of course,  politely ask her to leave.

Last edited on Sat Mar 27th, 2010 06:48 pm by Jacquie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 08:22 am
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Jacquie, I wouldn't ask the person to leave; I'd try not to look down on the person or judge them. I would instead:

-- Sympathize with her choice of a dentist who is at least trying to play by the rules so far as using injectable drugs go, BUT

-- Guide her to a more qualified practitioner, particularly if her mare isn't broke enough to tolerate dental work without drugs.

I totally agree, a horse that slings its head around while wearing the speculum can clobber somebody. It's dangerous. But the situation arises in the first place out of complex causes, one of which is the owner's failure to have gotten the mare sufficiently broke before attempting treatment. I suspect it to be similar to the owner who doesn't know how to get a horse started on picking up its feet, so calls the farrier and just "expects" the farrier will get it done. Well, if that was the expectation, I would be inclined to think that the dentist approached it the same as the farrier would, but might have gotten struck in the balls for his pains (and you walked in on the scene just in time to see his reaction).

Another factor is the practitioner being absolutely caught between a rock and a hard place; if he plays by the rules, he has to somehow restrain the horse in order to work on it; or else he must break the rules and inject drugs illicitly, which is (as I mentioned before) dangerous to the most important individual here, the horse being treated.

As I was trying to indicate in my previous -- and this is really the main point that would make this part of this thread worthwhile reading for anyone at all -- WE ARE ALL LOSERS in this situation so long as skilled layman-dentists are unable to do their work, under regularized agreement, with training and certification acceptable to all, so that the veterinarian and the lay dentist can both find their proper place in the equine-care community. If the layman dentist lost his temper and acted unprofessionally, that might be because he isn't in fact that skilled, has not in fact had a high enough level of training, and should not have been available for the horse's owner to call upon. This is where the change has to be made, because until it is made, there will remain a large number of vets who don't want to do dentistry or whose idea of it is fifty years out of date; along with a large number of laymen who have the skills but lack the drugs. This has been said before, but let me repeat it: if every veterinarian now in practice turned his whole effort to doing nothing but equine dentistry from this day forth, there would still be more horses who need treatment than can be seen.

So Jacquie, I really do not mean to be short with you -- I know you meant well by posting your report about this situation. But how I got the idea that you don't approve of specula, along with how I got the idea concerning all the other things I responded to, was by reading your post. And if I got that impression that way, then I have to assume others might also; which obligates me to speak up, because I have been in this controversy a long time, and I recognize the very things you have said as being wrong objections and wrong ideas commonly held.

Someday maybe you can come to California and take one of my carcass classes, where we do quite a bit toward a better understanding of how the horse's mouth works and what equilibrative or "full mouth" dentistry means. So for example, the reason your horse has "points" that periodically need removal by floating is because there is something else wrong with his ability to chew, something that is blocking or inhibiting the full lateral excursion of the lower jaw. Points are always symptoms of some greater problem; they never occur just by themselves or idiopathically; they do not "grow" but they do certainly develop and re-develop until the true underlying cause is found and removed. When the person understands what I have just said, they will be able to select an effective equine dentist. -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 06:07 pm
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Hello Dr Deb,

This is an interesting discussion, and I have a question about 'full mouth dentistry' pertaining to my old Arab.

Some years ago, when the horse was about 17, I had him attended to by a young, enthusiastic Dental Technician, who had recently been on a number of dental courses, many in America, she had a string of letters after her name, and seemed qualified to the hilt. The horse had had regular (annual) dental check ups, and had his teeth floated previously by both a vet and two different Dental Technicians that I had employed over the previous 13 years in my ownership. He was in good condition, had no trouble eating, did not quid, was a pleasure to ride, and felt comfortable in his mouth when ridden, ie, I did not feel that he had an 'issue' in his mouth.

She spent at least two hours with my horse, under sedation (administered by a vet), most of it with a speculum on and his mouth wide open, using her power tools. She explained that he had a wave mouth and that every arcade was different to the others, and that his incisors needed attention as they sloped from one side to the other, so she nipped the vertical height off one end of the lower teeth, and the other end of the upper teeth.

The horse could not eat for two days after this treatment. Of course, he did recover, but I did not feel that the intervention made ANY difference to his condition, eating habits, or feel when ridden.

I felt uncomfortable with the extent of the work she had done, so have used a different Dental Technician for the past 7 years, and in all this time, every year, he has checked the horse, and said that there is nothing he can do, even if he needed to, as so much enamel was ground away there is not enough left to work with.

In my previous life as a Human Chiropractor, I knew only too well the ramifications of dentistry, especially extractions and orthodontic interventions on the functioning of the cranial - spinal - pelvic complex of joints. I also knew that some people could be extremely functional in spite of marked dental compromise.

My question then, is this: did this lady, in her youthful enthusiasm, do far more than was necessary for this horse?

I wonder if it is really necessary to level everything up and make everything symmetrical just because you can. I feel that the treatment put the horse through two days (at least) of extreme pain to make little or no noticeable difference in the long term, apart from grinding away too much enamel. As a layman in dental terms, this experience has made me steer clear of such 'full mouth dentistry'

I look forward to your, and other readers, thoughts

Dorothy

 

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 07:16 pm
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There is a dentist here in the US, who talks about the importance of the incisor. (front teeth right), and how that affects the TMJ, and whole body etc. There is a 5 min video clip on his website where he talked about this, that I just watched for the first time this morning.  I would like to post the link here if that is ok.  I have heard good things about his methods and teachings.

Kathy

 

Dorothy
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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 07:55 pm
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Hi Kathy,

Dr Deb has talked in a previous thread - I cannot remember which - about the importance of attending to the incisors (front teeth) when they occlude before the molars do - in this situation the horse cannot grind properly because the molars do not contact sufficiently, and the incisors do need to be shortened.

I will see if I can find the thread!

Dorothy

PS its 'Equine Dentistry and Other Stuff'

Last edited on Sun Mar 28th, 2010 08:02 pm by Dorothy

Jacquie
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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 07:58 pm
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DD Its not a question of looking down on anyone or judging them at all, - I really don't do that, but I don't feel I can make any difference to this persons approach to her horses by saying what I think. She is very closed and a highly confident personality who I superficially like as a person, though I don't know her very well. I don't think I am the person to talk to her about this. I am fully aware that this is likely to be my failing of communication abilities and perhaps also my depth of knowledge too.  Clearly I am not always good at communicating in written word what I am thinking, as I am often misinterpreted or misunderstood on this forum, and maybe my communication verbally is also not always as good as it could be -  and I am perfectly OK with admitting that as a failing of mine here.

In short, I just don't think she would take my guidance or suggestions at all and I think her personality suggests that she may not take much guidance from anyone who she did not admire, which would have to mean they were competing and winning at 'the top'. 


I am not competing at 'the top' and I am a sensitive soul, so I walked away from the conflict I know it would cause to raise issue with her.

Last edited on Sun Mar 28th, 2010 08:00 pm by Jacquie

Philine
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Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
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 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 01:57 am
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Kate wrote: Thank you Kathy.

It was indeed very thought - provoking.  I am finding so much about horsemanship and horses is as much (if not more) mental attitude and flexibility. Simply changing one's views and thought processes seems to have a big impact on physical results! 

Kate



This is a timely thread for me, with more than one epiphany. When I got my horse, I expanded her barn name of Ruby to Ruby Tuesday, since the Rolling Stones were a part of my teen years and I thought it was a cute name.  I have also made excuses for her behaviour, like her not standing still in the grooming stall because it probably reminded her of the starting gates at the race track.  While I know cognitively it is not useful to attach emotions to my work with her, it has been difficult for me to put that into practice.

Today I went out to the barn and my horse's name was Red.  I was very clear (and unemotional) about expecting her to stand where I planted her until I told her it was OK to move.  I had to reset her a few times but did not get upset or frustrated about that.  When we did other groundwork in the arena I focused on being clear about what I wanted her to do and on the timing of my releases when she did it.  We went into the 'scary' end and worked a lot there.  I concentrated on having her pay attention to me and waiting on me instead of her anticipating what we were going to do.  I was directing the whole show this time.

What happened was that she was calmer than usual and there was a lot of licking her lips.  She didn't do much of the leaping around and almost rearing she sometimes does when my frustration with her 'not listening' jumps my energy up.  I didn't get upset when she didn't do what I intended.  I revised my approach or broke it into smaller steps.  The absence of emotion helped me to learn how to be a better teacher for what my horse needed.

I have also finally accepted that, just like Jineen's horse, my horse is nervous and a worrier and will probably always be that way.  Unlike my first horse, an old schoolmaster, or my second horse, a former lesson horse, she cannot fill in for me.  It is therefore my job to convince her that I am a capable leader so she doesn't have to lead and it is my job to be aware enough of her to catch the worry early so I can diffuse it.

The whole experience today was really interesting.  The tweaking of my perception had a huge impact on both me and my horse and I felt more successful about what we did than I had felt in awhile.  I found the link on Dr Deb's freedom discussion very helpful, Kathy.  I felt more free today and I think my horse did too.  And Dr Deb, thank-you.  I did not realize how much stickiness was there.  Thank you also to all the other people contributing to the forum discussions.  My horse experience is certainly not as extensive as I would like it to be and I often find comments in different threads quite useful.

Philine 

Tammy 2
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Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
Posts: 129
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 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 04:16 pm
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This thread has been timely for me as well.  With this winter of us having so much drifted snow, I did not work with my horse all that much.  Now that spring has sprung, I have started to consistently spend time with him.  There have been times he has been very worried in my arena.  I only have an outdoor so there can be alot going on around us that he cannot see but can hear.  Kids riding motorbikes, neighbors using power tools and generally lots of activity.  So, I had to catch myself getting caught in a mindset of, you should be used to these things.  Why has all the wonderful ground we covered last year of getting you feeling so much better seems to have gone away?  Why are your thoughts flying away from me so quickly?  Why are you still showing signs of being herd bound and wanting to be with your friend up by the house? If I had an indoor arena this would be so much easier, etc. etc. 

Then, I took a step back.  It does not matter where we were.  It does not matter what we are doing tomorrow.  It does not even matter what we will be doing in 5 minutes because that is having an agenda.  What matters is how he is feeling right now and what I can do to help him to be with me and feel better.  So today, my horse has the name of Blacky.  I am going to be a calm teacher, I am going to think and I am going to get to his thoughts of being worried early.  I am going to work from where he is, not from where he was.  We are going to take small steps and do things that he can do and be successful at to build his confidence.  The horse that I will be teaching today will help me to work at getting my horsemanship better.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and experiences.  This forum is what helps me to step back and think.  It is so easy to get pulled back into the mindset "that he should just know this stuff".



Tammy

 

Last edited on Mon Mar 29th, 2010 04:21 pm by Tammy 2


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