Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another world

The first day I went out to see my horses in their new digs was, of course, the first time I'd seen the new barn in real life. The BO showed me around and asked how I liked it. Did it look like the pictures she'd emailed me?

I assured her it was just lovely, and it is! Yall have seen pics of it. It's definitely the nicest place I've ever boarded, loads better than the Frayser barn. For comparison, here's some pics of the Frayser barn.

I wanted to begin to try to explain to the new BO how ... strange things were at the old barn - in most barns I've seen - without sounding like a looney.

"Ok, look, at the old barn, we all got the horse catalogs, like KV Vet and Country Supply. We liked to look through them, like every other horse person in the world. But the only place I'd ever seen, say, stall mats, was in the catalogs. I didn't know anybody who even had cement floors, much less stall mats!" (This isn't strictly true - Hillside had a fairly nice modern barn with floor mats and everything, but it was such an anomaly strictly because it was so nice.)

She laughed, and I changed the subject.

Yesterday I saw her again when I was finishing up with Champ. I noticed my name was on the whiteboard, with "70" written next to it, and I asked her what that was for. She said it was the cost to get both horses' teeth floated by the equine dentist, if I wanted.

"I don't know when they last had their teeth done, so I wanted to ask you. It's free for him to look at them, but it's 35 per horse if they need work."

I grinned. "Yes! I definitely want them both floated! Neither of them has ever been done and I'm sure they need it; Champ especially has whole grain in his poop. I think he'd really benefit from it."

She blinked, looked at me, looked at Champ. "He's how old again?"


"Never been floated? Oh my god I'm sure he's got caps and hooks and..." She trailed off, blinking at us again, no doubt wondering what kind of heathen she'd let board at her barn.

"Ok, look, I've never met a real equine dentist. Two years ago, my friend let the vet float her stud's teeth when he came out to do Coggins-"

She interrupted. "A vet floating teeth?"

"Yeah, I know it's not ideal, but it's like the stall mats - I know they exist, from the internet, but I'd never seen one before. So my friend let the vet float her stud's teeth and the poor guy bled from his gums for two days and couldn't eat without Bute. I figured my horses were better off with hooks and caps than having that done to them."

"Yeah, no kidding!"

"But yeah, I'm very interested in having a real equine dentist look at my horses. That sounds awesome!"

So my horses are finally moving into the 21st century.


  1. I wonder how much gossip you've got fired up around there? But what a nice change for you. There is nothing like being around good, knowledgeable people to help you learn.

    Kerstin does Tonka and Raven's teeth -- some vets are quite trustworthy with teeth, but not all. Champ especially is going to feel great!

    peobasm: a pleasant reaction to eating very tasty peas.

  2. I bet that's definitely why he didn't like the bitless at all, since it goes over the molars and they need to be free of hooks etc.

    $35 per float is a steal. My horses are getting done Saturday morning and it will be over $100 per - even with a discount for being one of Dawn's clients! That's about what it runs around here, though, and I love their dentist so it's worth it.

    Do either of them have large (or even visible) muscles above their eyes going back to their ears? Gene had big ones until his current dentist worked on him and his mouth got to a state where he could chew properly (aka mainly sideways), and suddenly they started going down fast. Peanut's forehead is and always has been flat.

  3. WOW!
    That is such a good thing for you in that stable Funder! I looked at all the pictures...HUGE-O- diff! How many acres does the current facility have and horses?
    I just went to a grass and pasture manegment class and am all farmy minded now!
    I use one of only 3 qualified Equine dentists her in Oregon. Dr Steve Sundholm. he has an awesome veternary clinic really close to us. he is the one that "Qualifies" vets to practice the dentistry in Oregon -IF- they desire the knowledge. You see, you can say you know what you are doing as you float..but you are not required the further traing to REALLY know . sissy's horse could not chew at all and she had been done 5 years in a row at the coast. Whne we told Steve this...he just looked at us and said, "There is no-one there to do the job". he knows, he trains them!
    It cost me over $200 for my mare the first time!
    Your price sounds amazingly low!
    Not ness better though...ask about the dentistry training program...not to intimidate but to gain the perspective of them.

  4. It sounds like you are in a good place. I am sure that you are generating gossip all the time - we are quite alike in that respect! $35 does sound cheap for the teeth rasping. In Britain we might spend the equivalent of $60 per horse, though the standard of the better equine dentists seems quite respectable. It may be a type of work that the vets are happy not to be asked to do! The local equine dentist has a nice new car so he must be doing well, on the other hand he may get a decent volume of work from the racing yards. Back when I hd the riding centre, there seemed to be a lot of variation between horses regarding which ones needed their teeth rasping, some at least yearly, a few of them almost never.

  5. LOL, I'm sure I'm generating plenty of gossip. I've only briefly met a few of the boarders - while I have the opportunity, I go riding during the day. Everybody else comes after work... but I don't want to deal with rush hour, and I'm not sure I want to deal with a bunch of new people. They probably all have saddles that cost more than my horses!

    I think the dentist is cheap because he comes to the barn on a set schedule and does all the horses at once. I don't know! It sounds inexpensive to me, too, but I don't have a basis for comparison.

    Sara - I dunno if they have weird muscles on their heads. Cause, uh, see, I've only ever been around other unfloated horses. Does this picture show what you're talking about?

    Kac - The new place has, mmm, maybe 30 horses max. And not much acreage at all, maybe 10 acres. It's all subdivided into turnout paddocks, with "buddies" going out together. Champ and Dixie go out together, every day that it's not raining (or sleeting or snowing!) Some of the show horses only go out at night, to keep their coats from bleaching.

    Julian - good to hear that they might not need floating every year. I've read some horror stories of horses that were improperly floated and had worse problems from it :( I just hope this is an improvement for them!

  6. No, it's not visible from that picture. I'll have to dig up a picture of Gene or at least draw something up. I don't know if it's visible from photographs - it's more subtle than that in my experience. I'll see what I can do. :)

  7. Not all vets suck at doing teeth. Mine is by far better than any equine dentist I have ever used. He has even patented some dentistry equipment.

    But he damn sure does not work for $35 a head. More like $135


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