The new client and I sat in the shade of the heated dry air surrounding us in the flat, windy and arid Columbia Plateau east of the Cascade mountain range of Washington state. Pausing to think of the right answer to my question about the Equine Dentistry Without Drama™ that she just witnessed, the horse owner lingered on the past 3 hours that we had spent together and the 3 years before that.
Mt Rainier WA
Like so many other horse owners willing to try Equine Dentistry Without Drama™, this woman drifted over the year she had hesitated in calling me to care for her horse’s dental needs. She had experienced the way most people have performed this simple and routine task of filing off the excess tooth enamel that forms pain causing razor-sharp edges. In the past, her horses had been subjected to automatic and heavy sedation and immobilization with them being worked on like a car in the auto body shop. Worse yet, many of these professionals filing the teeth were afraid of the horse which the sedated horse sensed. I have heard similar complaints from other clients who had turned to our services for the first time in hope that we were different.
Mt Adams WA on the Range
We Are Different
The question I had asked this new client as we sat cooling in the shade was simply, “What did you think of this visit to Equine Dentistry Without Drama™?”
After a moment, she turned to me and effortlessly said, “Easy.” Rolling off of her tongue like an escaped word, she quickly caught her breath wanting to say something more, but then the one word “Easy” came out again.
Frustrated with her lack of a more descriptive answer, she furrowed her brow and struggled to form a more detailed sentence. For the third time, out came the word, “Easy.”
We laughed. She had fretted over this day for the weeks after she had made the appointment dreaming of the trouble we would have. There was none.
The 6 horses at her farm all had different coat colors and just as many different personalities. One of the horses immediately became defensive and painful as I got close to one tooth. Had this horse been sedated or over sedated then we would have missed the clear sign that this one tooth had a problem. The horse and owner were grateful that it was found. Another older horse was generally painful in his mouth and escalated his efforts in asking me to leave. With the addition of a small amount of pain-killing medication (not sedation), this horse became a willing partner and his painful points were removed. The 3-year-old colt due for castration on Monday was sure to be a handful. Instead, he earned a gold star for best behaved.
For the next 30 minutes, we chatted about equine dentistry and as we did, my inner thoughts caused me to smile. I see the gratefulness from the horses and their owners every day and so does Melissa. We never become tired of it, rather we become excited to know that another person has seen this better way of working with horses and a bunch of horses are chewing now without pain.
Seeing Is Believing
The more people who see this, the better chance of preserving this style of dentistry and horsemanship in general. Please do your part to preserve this and continue to talk to everyone (and post to our social media at #EquinePractice) about what you see us do every time we work on your horses. We hope this will spark another person to learn and either start their career or add this to their existing practice.
Easy – that’s the way it should be.