Kicked In The Teeth

I have a flat spot on my forehead from me banging my head against the wall. I’ll admit, I’m frustrated.

First, just take it from my perspective of examining the teeth of over 60,000 horses and floating over 52,000 horses in the past 31 years. I think I might have an opinion about horses and the care of their teeth. But apparently, there are others who write and publish articles about dental issues in horses who only repeat falsehoods as facts. Worse than that, some publish articles about training issues and don’t even mention the teeth.

“Is It The Bit?” was published in The Trail Rider ( The question was about a horse that now sticks out the tongue when bitted and ridden at the canter. She wanted to know if it was a behavior issue.

The answer from the trainer included behavior, moisture in the mouth, endorphin release, the bit, and the rider. There was not one mention of sharp points restricting the tongue movement in a mouth where the nose band prevents the opening of the mouth and the bit displaces the tongue back into the sharp points. There wasn’t even a beginning comment suggesting that the horse’s mouth be examined first before jumping to any other conclusions.

No mention of the threshold of pain, the unusual conformation of the first lower cheek teeth of older horses, or (my favorite) “flabby cheeks.” (see the banner of this e-mail)

This is why I am creating the Equine Dentistry School Online™. There is a need to get the information in my brain, created by my experience with horse dentistry, out to the people of the world.

Here is a question I just got from someone: “Some years ago another horse person told me that their equine dentist recommended feeding horses on the ground because it helped with tooth wear and I’ve also read that it aids in digestion.”

Do you think there is a place where someone could get a good answer to this? I just finished reading 3 textbooks on equine dentistry and nowhere was there an answer to this. Yet an equine dentist told someone who told this person that this was a “fact.” And there is no authority to counter these urban legends. There will be with the new school.

But I was kicked in the teeth (again) this past week when an older horse was having difficulty chewing the long, thick hay after being floated by me. Her vet came for vaccinations and the owner asked him about the horse’s chewing problem. Rather than do an oral exam and judge the work done, he flippantly announces that the back teeth cannot be floated without the use of power tools.

Now I know I’m preaching to the choir, but just for a minute, let me ask a few questions.

1) Am I stupid? I don’t know. I went to Cornell’s vet school.

2) Am I not experienced enough? 31 years and 60,000 horses is a lot of experience.

3) Are power tools better? It is only tooth enamel. Do I really need a 110-volt Saws-All to file the teeth smooth?

4) Am I lazy? I would think that automatically drugging the horse and jacking open the mouth and using power tools would be easier than hand-floating.

5) Am I not a skilled horseman? I’m still working on this one, but I think it takes fewer horsemanship skills to automatically drug every horse to work on them.

My conclusion is that I can get the back teeth. And now I’m going to teach the world how to do it. The launch date is June 1st, but there is a ton more work to be done. Between writing the lessons, video production, and marketing, my team is working hard to make The Tucker Technique Of Equine Dentistry™ the standard for horses around the world.

Stay tuned as you see the changes unfold here and all across the platforms I use. This is going to be an incredible event and will place equine dentistry on the minds of every horse owner. Your help with this is greatly appreciated. I please need the following:

  • Forward this and any future announcements of this school to as many friends as you can think of.
  • I also need video testimonials of why our way works for you and your horses. Especially effective would be those of you who have tried the technique of drugging, jacking, hanging, and power tooling and now choose the horsemanship approach. Remember please to video in landscape mode if you use your phone.
  • Post these Rounds on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media platform.
  • Like the new pages, I will be setting up soon devoted to the Tucker Technique.
  • Take a moment to personally tell someone you think would make a good equine dentist about this new school.

Thanks, everyone for all of your support over the years and to those of you who are new to my practice for choosing our style over all the others. The team here is so grateful. But we cannot be selfish. 90% of the world’s horses are still working horses and may not be receiving great dental care. My dream is to give everyone access to this program using the internet as the stage. Any help you give will help someone, somewhere get the chance to help other horses.

More to come so stay tuned. Doc T

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  1. Thank you! I have heard the lament of the trainers at Saratoga whose new recruits from Ocala couldn’t train because teeth powered to nubbins.

    1. Over-floating is a real problem now in equine dentistry. Less is better, but everyone wants to make everything smooth. My online equine dentistry school will help people realize this. Thanks for commenting. Doc T

    1. Find a good horseman who wants to start a career in equine dentistry and tell them about the new online dentistry school. Check the laws in your state first.

      Thanks for reading my blog. Doc T

  2. Good for you, Geoff. I have known you a long time, since you were at Cornell, and I can remember how you always had the best interests of the animals in your care. You were always concerned about the best and humane treatment of the horses. I am proud that you have continued the welfare of the horses your first priority!