The fancy mobile dentistry unit
After... note the absence of the baby teeth
My sleepy boy..
Well, this time it was for his own good. Now that Pate is wearing a bridle, it was time to peer into that 3 1/2 year old mouth of his and get his teeth in riding condition.
Dr. Dick Vetter and his wife Kathy of Performance Equine Dentistry, paid a visit last Saturday just for Pate. All young horses, like children, lose their baby teeth. These loose teeth are painful normally and with the addition of a bit, can really irritate. Horses have other teeth called wolf teeth that grow right in the area where the bit lies in their mouth. Some horses have two, some three, some four. Pate was no exception, with three.
Dr. Vetter removed these three wolf teeth, five baby caps and smoothed out several bumps and ridges along his molars. Pate took the treatment well and was a good patient.
However, something profound happened. I know that Pate trusts me, but I didn't know how much until Saturday. Two incidents happened where Pate endeared himself to me in a way I will never be able to completely understand.
The first thing Dr. Vetter does to any horse before treatment is listen to their heart and lungs with a stethoscope and gets an approximate weight of the horse to determine how much "go go juice" is needed to put them into the twilight zone. Weight is determined by using a tape wrapped around their middle right behind their front legs. It's a light weight tape similar to a seamstress' tape that marks weight in pounds. I figured that Pate should be fine with this since he has had a saddle on plenty of times. Well, not for Dr. Vetter! Pate was jumpy and gave Dr. Vetter a little cow kick. I was surprised, since this is unusual behavior for Pate, but then he's only been handled by a very few people. Note to self, hand him off to others to be worked. I asked Dr. Vetter to let me try and low and behold Pate stood still. Hmmm. But ok, no problem. He trusts me. Makes sense.
After Dr. Vetter was done with Pates teeth, he asked me if we should clean his sheath (little boys parts, to you laymen), as all boy horses need this done a few times a year. Most male horses get used to this after a while (and some enjoy it!). But I had not yet tried this with Pate. A good time to get the deed done was while he was still gorked. Again, a bit of cow kicking at the fine doctor. This time I asked the doc to hold on while I snuggled in and held Pates head and whispered to him in his ear. Mind you, he is still half out of his gourd, but awake enough to know it was me. He immediately relaxed, dropped his head and stood still. The doc finished up the cleaning and Pate was done for the day. WOW! How can I let this guy go to some stranger? This wild beast who implicitly trusts me and only me to keep him safe?? Damn you Pate! I was not planning on bringing you back to Washington with me! You better win some money in September to afford your trip home!!
Thank you Dr. Vetter for your sponsorship towards the competition. I really appreciate it!