As a trail riding veterinarian that has a profound interest in dentistry, I feel it is important to share my thoughts with the trail riding community.

Why worry about equine dentistry in the trail horse?

All horses require comprehensive annual dental examinations, because of the way

horse teeth and skulls were designed and normally wear or rather do not wear their teeth!

For instance horses’ last rear cheek teeth are at the level of the eye and develop razor sharp edges that are difficult to properly and safely instrument and address.

But the trail horse?  Yes for a number of reasons.  It all starts in the mouth- maximal digestion requires good working order of the teeth.

Trail horses are in my mind athletes-they may ride long distances in short periods of time (endurance riding) or long distances all day (recreational riding).

These horses must be able to get every bit of nutritive value from their feeds or else they may become very lean. I have seen horses loose 100 pounds or more on one ride.

-And it all starts in the mouth!

These horses often have sharp dental edges that cause oral discomforts of the lips, cheek and tongue,  a common finding,

see fig.1 below


Fig.1 Severe rear right cheek (buccal) erosions and ulcers from overtly sharp dental surfaces.

In addition as was previously discussed the dehydrated horse-horses with soft tissue irritations-from sharp teeth tend to consume less water especially in colder temperature-contributing to colic and tying up.

I recommend all horses undergo an annual through dental examination and indicated corrective procedures. especially the trail horse.

Maximal dental comfort reducing bridle (yes bitless too) issues is of utmost

importance especially when navigating extreme trail courses.

And equally important is oral soft tissue comfort and health

related to enhanced water consumption with maximal feed utilization.

Consider a comprehensive dental evaluation for your horse.

It is amazing the abnormal and painful dental conditions that

many a horse ( fat and sassy) quietly endures.

From personal experience, I know and have seen, the almost instantaneous benefits of comprehensive dental care for many a

previously fussy/unhappy trail horse.


See ya on the trail Dr. Fred.