Sunday, April 12
This is week four of home isolation and the barn closure. We continue to practice social distancing, staying a horse length away from each other. When we leave the house we protect ourselves by wearing a mask and gloves, when we ride we wear a helmet, vest, gloves and boots. In the arena we also follow similar rules, passing left to left, on the sidewalk we pass left to left. So I ask you, how different is riding a horse from social distancing practices in the neighbourhood? Kinda similar for us but not for our four legged friends.
Our animals do not understand Covid-19, nor do they know what a state of emergency is. All they know is that their routine has changed. Their riders are no longer visiting and grooming them. But out of sight is not out of mind. We know that it’s our responsibility to tend to our equine friends. We are their stewards and we take that stewardship seriously. Proof is the support our community has shown with the generous donations. Last month every school horse had a hay sponsor. This month we hope to have the same support.
In this issue of The Hoof Beat, Barn News is dedicated to the School Horse fundraising effort. In response to your feedback, we added a new column called Sit Tall. In this column Sophie will teach you a new exercise to help you stay rider fit while away from the barn. Another new column is Under the Barn Roof, dedicated to stable management. This week we meet veterinarian Matt Allossery. Dr Matt donated (at cost) a dental float for all the schoolies. Although hay is our priority, dental and farrier services are next inline to ensure our schoolies are cared for. Finally The Paddock was launched last week on Facebook. Please visit the online pony club to find games and horsey information. https://www.facebook.com/paddockponyclub
Thank you for your generous support and please email your feedback
Barn News: Fundraising update
Within 72 hours of the Covid-19 shutdown, our barn community sponsored each of our wonderful school horses including Becky the donkey for April. We cannot thank you enough.
In addition to a cash donation, many of our riders, their families and friends generously donated items that we auctioned off on Instagram. If you have something you want to donate, please let us know.
Thank you to the Dolha family for donating a custom brush box. To Dorothy Puddester from Hooves & Paws for donating 2 photo sessions and Kat Louli for the school horse portraits.
All proceeds from these two items went towards the care for our beloved School Horses.
We now are opening sponsorships for May
Please continue to sponsor a horse with a $150 donation for a month of hay.For those of you who wish to do more, please consider a donation of $350 for hay, dental and a farrier trim. Thank you veterinarian Matt Allossery for offering our schoolies such a special treatment at such an unbelievable rate!
Nine-year-old Katherin “Kat” Louli is commissioning little artwork with a big mission to raise money for her riding horse at the Pause Awhile Equestrian Centre in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the centre was forced to temporarily shutter its barn doors to all riding classes, leaving the working horses – like Kat’s pony, Marvin – without work to financially support themselves and their facility.“It’s tough, it’s really tough,” Maxine Lewis said, owner of the [Forward Riding] riding school at Pause Awhile. “These horses earn their living through lessons, so now that it has stopped, we have no money to run the barn,” Lewis added.
And the Winner of the Get That Apple challenge is Coco Chanel “CC”
with a record time of 28 seconds.
Things Found in the Barn
Starting Monday, April 13 a picture of an item found in a barn will be posted on the FRS and PAEC Facebook and Instagram pages.
- Name the item.
- Write it beside the date
- Unscramble the letter in each square to guess the mystery word.
This game is sponsored by Equestriancoach.com, the worlds leading online video training site for Equestrians.The first 4 people who guess the mystery word will win a 4 month membership to equestriancoach.com
Game cards are $10.00. all proceeds go to feed our School Horses during the Covid-19 crises.please send payment to GoFundMe, gf.me/u/xr42px
Exercising with Sophie is a weekly column to keep you rider fit while we wait for the state of emergency to be lifted and we can return to the barn.
This week Sophie demonstrates 3 exercises to work your core muscles. (You’ll need a ball for these exercises.)
- Elbows on Ball
- Feet on Ball
- Reverse Crunch
The Paddock is a virtual pony club for horse enthusiasts of all ages. You can find it on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/paddockponyclub
At least once a week you can find a new word search, crossword or other game
with Dr Matt Allossery DVM
|Understanding The Horse’s Mouth|
Horses are grazing animals, a fact reflected in the construction of their mouths. The front teeth, known as incisors, are designed to shear off forage. The cheek teeth – the premolars and molars – have wide, flat, grinding surfaces to reduce feed to mash before it is swallowed.
Like humans, horses have baby teeth and adult teeth. Baby teeth begin to be replaced by adult teeth around age 2 or 3.
However, unlike human teeth, adult horse teeth never stop growing. In the wild, nature managed this continuous growth through the horse’s diet, which consisted primarily of coarse grasses. Eating these grasses requires a robust chewing motion that grinds down the enamel, thus balancing growth with wear.
The range of motion of the mandible (lower jaw) during mastication is affected by the nature and size of the food particles ingested. Horses on concentrate and pelleted diets exhibit a limited range of jaw motion when chewing compared to horses on grass and long-stemmed hay roughage.
The jaw excursion pattern has an effect on molar tooth wear and could explain why confined horses seem to have more problems with development of enamel points and other dental abnormalities.
| Why Routine Dental Care Is Essential for Horses|
Domestication and confinement of horses has led to modifications in their diets and eating patterns. Also, breeding of horses is carried out with little or no regard for the genetic dental consequences. Finally, greater demands are being placed on performance horses beginning at a younger age, and horses are living and performing longer than their wild counterparts.
These factors add up and can create increased risk for a number of dental health problems.What to look for:
| Sharp enamel points – Normally, contact by opposing teeth helps keep bite surfaces equal. If cheek teeth get out of alignment, hooks can form and cause trauma and pain to the tongue, cheeks and soft or hard palates.Wave mouth – Some horses have an unbalanced mouth, with teeth that vary in height along the dental arcade. Wave mouth can cause certain teeth to improperly take more impact than others as the horse chews, potentially leading to early tooth loss or decay.Incisor overgrowth – Domesticated horses tend not to use their incisors enough, resulting in incisor overgrowth.|
Retained premolar caps in juvenile horses – As a horse’s teeth transition from baby to adult teeth, retained caps of the baby teeth can occasionally cause problems by putting more strain on the apposing tooth.Periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay – Like humans, horses can suffer from inflammation and disease of their gums, as well as calculus buildup and tooth decay.Damaged teeth – Teeth can be damaged by direct trauma and chronic dental disease.
How To Keep Your Horse’s Teeth Healthy
Yearly oral examinations and routine dental maintenance, such as floating, will ensure that your horse’s bite remains healthy and that food is being ground evenly for proper swallowing and digestion.
Most adult horses will need their teeth floated once a year. Some performance horses and some senior horses may require teeth floating more frequently – as often as twice a year.
From time to time, we see horses that go more than 12 months between floatings. These horses generally have more than average access to pasture grasses or they naturally exhibit superior conformation of their jaws.
Floating & Preventative Maintenance
In order to perform a thorough oral examination of your horse, it is generally necessary to administer a sedative. Next, we apply a speculum to fully open the animal’s mouth. This allows us to inspect each tooth individually to identify any problems, particularly in those hard-to-feel cheek teeth towards the back of the mouth.You would be amazed at how far back in the mouth the teeth go! At this stage, we can show you the state of your horse’s mouth and discuss any issues. If necessary, we will recommend that you have your horse’s teeth floated.
| The process of grinding down a horse’s teeth is known as floating. Floating eliminates painful enamel points and creates a more even bite plane. Due to the continuous growth of adult horse teeth, regular floating is especially important in horses who have lost a tooth or whose teeth are poorly aligned. Having a veterinarian take care of your horse’s dentistry needs ensures that:Your companion receives appropriate sedation and analgesia, administered by a licensed professional.The correct dental equipment is used, and it is applied in an appropriate manner.Medication required by your horse is properly prescribed and administered.|
Recognizing Dental Problems
As a horse owner, you can learn to spot dental issues, particularly by paying attention to your animal’s eating habits and bit responsiveness. But while some horses with dental problems show obvious signs of pain, the reality is that many horses simply adapt to their discomfort.
Your first clue that something is wrong could be loss of weight or under-performance during competition.INDICATORS OF DENTAL PROBLEMS INCLUDE:Loss of feed from mouth while chewing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivationLoss of body conditionLarge or undigested feed particles in manure (long stems, whole grains)Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit or resisting bridlingDegrading performance, failing to stop or turn, even buckingFoul odour from the mouth or nostrilsBlood traces in the mouthPresence of nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth.It’s important to remember that normal eating patterns, bit responsiveness and weight maintenance are positive signs, but they’re no guarantee your horse isn’t suffering from dental disease.
Performing an oral examination is the only way to be certain. By working together, we can detect and treat dental problems before outward symptoms appear. Your horse will thank you for it!
Wolf teeth are very small teeth that have short roots and are located in front of the second premolars. They rarely show up in the lower jaw. A horse may have one, two or no wolf teeth.
Because wolf teeth never provide a health benefit and some wolf teeth cause harm, we usually recommend removing them to prevent pain or interference from a bit.
Oral (Dental) Endoscopy
Horses have a long, narrow oral cavity, which can create challenges when we perform dental exams or procedures such as dental cleaning, floating and extractions. Our oral endoscope features a miniature camera that allows us to see the various structures within your horse’s oral cavity – including the cheek teeth, gingiva, tongue and cheeks – in great detail.
The camera image appears on our computer monitor in real time, so you, as the client, can see what we’re seeing. This enables you to make more informed decisions on behalf of your horse.
In addition, we’re able to save photos and videos from your horse’s exams and procedures for future use, such as a follow-up examination or consult with other veterinarians.