Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pinion Hill Survivors

6 X 8 Oil on Canvas Board $115
Includes shipping and insurance
All the pinion trees in Monument Valley Utah were works of art. Dynamically twisted by the elements, they all begged to be painted. I added the Indian because they are survivors, too.
Yesterday I and the horses had a new experience: we went to a horse dentist. I have had my horses teeth checked and "floated" before, but evidently that procedure has been inadequate. The vet I visited yesterday has made a business of strictly equine dentistry and I learned a lot about horses' teeth and their structure, genetic influences and how important well working/shaped teeth are to the happiness and well being of my big buddies.
Both Easy and PJ had dreadfully sharp points on both sides of their molars, and their tongues and cheeks were raw and sore. I can only imagine the pain a bit adds to that. Little wonder that PJ rides much more relaxed when wearing only a halter!
This vet, Dr. Clay Stubbs, has a mobile set up and runs a circuit of clients twice a year. My friend Lee Clay is on that circuit and offered to let me bring my horses to his place and take advantage of Dr. Stubbs' expertise. I accepted, knowing that both PJ and Easy (and Dandy, next spring) needed attention.
The procedure began with an injection to tranquilize the animal. Almost immediately the horse lowers his head and relaxes (and according to Dr. Stubbs, remembers nothing). He is led into a stanchion where his head is cradeled and immobilized in a canvas sling and a speculum is inserted into his mouth, holding it open. Dr. Stubbs then peers into the mouth with flashlight, moving the tongue from side to side to access the condition of the teeth. He immediately pointed out to me the very sharp points on the sides of all the molars and the rough, raw condition of the tongue and sides of the cheek where they were rubbing. Horses teeth grow continually - they have to because they ingest dirt and abrasive material with their food. Their teeth would wear down to nothing if they didn't grow. But horses of today are not bred for well fitting teeth, so genetically they are no longer like those of wild horses. Jaws are narrow, tongues may be large, and some horses even have a "parrot mouth" where the teeth don't meet all the way down the jaw line. And a fat horse (like all of mine) is NO indication that their teeth are OK. A dentist is needed to periodically help mother nature and to help US not cause pain to them when we put a bit in their mouth.
Dr. Stubbs uses air tools that are similar to giant dental files to remove and smooth out the excess tooth formations, and after he fixed one side of Easy's mouth, he let me feel the difference between the done and "undone" side. I had to put nearly my entire forearm into his mouth to feel clear to the back, and I was amazed at the difference and relieved to know that Easy would soon be feeling better. I was also mad at myself for not taking care of this sooner. Poor Easy.
After the procedure is completed, another injection is administered to couteract the tranquilizer and within 15 minutes we were ready to load up and go home. Both horses were still kinda groggy after the 10 minute ride back. PJ promptly took a nap, but Easy went in search of grass and was happy with the little flake of alfalfa I treated him to. I will let their mouths heal for a couple days and then see if there is any improvement in attitude when we ride.
Psalm 35:28
My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

Media: oil
Size: 8 in X 6 in (20.3 cm X 15.2 cm)
Price: $115 USD

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1 comment:

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Debbie, that is incredible.
I need to get my cat's teeth cleaned as the tarter and plaque causes other health issues the same as it does in humans.
I love that little painting of Lake Bear and I love how you love your horses.