Archives for posts with tag: horseback riding

Reducing equine medical conditions on the trail. Part  3

The North Carolina Brinkleyville Hunt Club sponsors a ride that should be on your calendar

The trails are good, the food is excellent and plenty, a water wagon

is available to deliver water to your camp, live music, dance floor.

The Club members go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good safe time.

The morning of the 2011 ride something strange happened. As folks were tacking up,

four horses at different camps collapsed within minutes of being cinched.

All were still tied to their respective trailers.

When something like this happens cool heads must prevail SAFETY-FIRST…

When there is a half ton of down and anxious horse flesh-plenty of

opportunity for human and horse injury exists.

The combination of quickly loosening the cinch-(Cutting is dangerous) and releasing

the trailer ties resulted in quick recoveries.  No horse, person, or tack was injured.

I kept my eye on these horses and examined them as the ride progressed.

Most of the horses started and completed the ride without incident.

There are many plausible theories on why this happened.

  1. Unconditioned horses
  2. Barn soured
  3. Painful backs/legs
  4. POOR fitting tack
  5. The Moon-my favorite

Be careful…

Horses can, do and will inflict harm, at times fatal, to themselves, other horses, and handlers




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.