I Am Ranch Miniature Horses is
sharing with you what we do to maintain the health of our horses. This
is not intended to direct you on how to care for your horse. The intent of
this is only to share what we do, and raise questions for you. We
advise you to consult your veterinarian before making any changes in
your horse's health care. The information found on our
website is not to supersede the advise of your veterinarian. I AM Ranch
Miniature Horses cannot be held liable for the care of your horse(s).
Miniature Horses seem to have more
problems with their teeth than the big horses.
They have the same amount of teeth
and similar size, just squished in a smaller mouth.
Miniatures tend to not
shed their caps (baby teeth) and this is one cause of problems. I have
seen this on one of our big Paints, too. Sometimes the upper jaw does
not grow as fast as the lower and can cause
permanent undershot jaw if the ridges on the teeth is not removed.
Most minis have teeth that are not sized down enough. Mini teeth are
said to be softer than the big horses.
to see our trip to the dentist with a big horse. This page has
many surgery videos on it. This horse had perfect body
The following is a list of
signs for you to use as an aid, but remember that many horses don't show
any of these signs and are in desperate need of a dentist. Most dentists do not charge you
to look in the mouth and tell you your horse's teeth condition, but
there are some signs you can look for so that you can judge the need
Drops food when eating
Spits out wads of partially chewed hay
Packs their cheeks with feed to prevent cutting their cheeks
Ridge on top or bottom teeth
Not holding weight
Gets upset when you pull on halter, teeth cut cheeks
Holding head in uncomfortable position, nose up
Head tossing, mouthing or fighting the bit in harness
Cribs or chews wood
"Four Butts" on their way to the
This fun chart shows you how to age a
horse by looking at the teeth!
Where to Hang My
An interesting side note about
feeders. Horses were designed to eat with their heads low to the
ground. We have had dentists tell us that wall feeders help keep
them in business. When a horse eats with its head up, the teeth do
not align properly and the teeth wear unevenly. The higher head
causes the jaw to slide back changing the alignment of the
contact surfaces. They develop hooks on the lower molars due to the
unbalanced wear on the teeth.
If your feeders are down at ground
level, the jaw slides forward, and therefore wears their teeth in a
more efficient pattern. Also helpful in maintaining a balanced mouth
is grazing of coarse grass. Horses on a pellet, sweet feed, softer
hay diet will tend to need care more often to keep a balanced mouth.
And, read below to see what we do while
waiting for our horses to wake back up if they are sedated during
When our boy horses are anesthetized/sedated for any reason (often done
after a teeth float), I use that opportunity of relaxation to clean their
sheath. Here are instructions placed first told to me by
Carol Zills of Zill
Mr. Hand (Sheath Cleaning without Fuss)
By Patricia Harris
Copyright 1998 Patricia Harris
Step 1) Check to make sure there are no prospective boyfriends,
neighbours, or Brownie troops with a line of sight to the
Though of course they're probably going to show up unexpectedly
you're in the middle of things. Prepare a good explanation.
2) Trim your fingernails short. Assemble horse, hose, and your sense
humour (plus, ideally, Excalibur cleanser and perhaps thin rubber
3) Use hose (or damp sponge) to get the sheath and its inhabitant
that is, do this in a *civilized* fashion with due warning to the
is apt to take offense if an icy-cold hose blasts unexpectedly into
4) Now introduce your horse to Mr Hand. What I find safest is to
facing the horse's head, with my shoulder and hip snugly against the
thigh and hip so that if he makes any suspicious move such as
leg, I can feel it right away and am in any case pressed so close
he can do is shove, not really kick. The horse should be held by an
assistant or by your free hand, NOT tied fast to a post or to
may shift around a good bit if he's not happy with Mr Hand's antics,
don't be put off by that; as long as you are patient and gradual,
close to his side, he'll get over it.
Remember that it would be most unladylike of you to simply make a
grab for your horse's Part. Give the horse a clue about what's on
program. Rest your hand against his belly, and then slide it back
are entering The Home of the Actual Private Part. When you reach
region of your destination, lube him up good with Excalibur or
If the outer part of his sheath is really grungy you will feel
and nubblies of smegma peeling off as you grope around in there.
and gently expedite their removal.
5) Thus far, you have probably only been in the outer part of the
The Part Itself, you'll have noticed, is strangely absent. That's
has retired shyly to its inner chambers. Roll up them thar sleeves
follow in after it.
6) As you and Mr Hand wend your way deeper into the sheath, you will
encounter what feels like a small portal that opens up into a
beyond. Being attentive to your horse's reaction, invite yourself
are now in the inner sanctum of The Actual Private Part. It's hiding
there towards the back, trying to pretend it isn't there. Say hi and
it.. No, really, work your finger back and forth around the sides of
the horse won't drop, this is your only shot at removing whatever
smegma is clinging to the surface of the Part itself. So, gently
around it, pulling out whatever crusty topsoil you find there. Use
water and more Excalibur if necessary to loosen attached gunk.
7) When Mr Hand and the Actual Private Part have gotten to know each
pretty well, and the Part feels squeaky clean all around, there
one task: checking for, and removing, the bean. The bean is a pale,
kidney-shaped accumulation of smegma in a small pouch just inside
urethra. Not all horses accumulate a bean, but IME the majority do,
they have no visible external smegma. So: the equine urethra is
diameter, and indeed will permit you to very gently insinuate one of
slimmer fingers inside the urethral opening. Do so, and explore
what will feel like a lump or "pea" buried no more than, I dunno,
3/4" in from the opening. If you do encounter a bean, gently and
sympathetically persuade it out with your finger. This may require a
patience from BOTH Mr Hand AND the horse, but the horse will be
healthier once it's accomplished. In the rare event that the bean is
enormous for your finger to coax out, you might try what I did (in
desperation) last month on the orange horse: Wrap thumb and index
around the end of the Part and squeeze firmly to extrude the bean.
my surprise it worked and orange horse did NOT kill me for doing it
does not seem to have suffered any permanent damage as a result. I
never in my life seen another bean that enormous, though.
8) Now all that's left to do is make a graceful exit and rinse the
thoroughly in apology for the liberties you've taken. A hose will be
easier to use here than just a sponge and bucket, IME. Make sure to
the water into the Part's inner retreat too, not merely the outer
the sheath. This may require you to enfold the end of the hose in
and guide it up there personally.
9) Ta-da, you are done! Say, "Good horsie" and feed him lots of
Watch him make funny faces at the way your hands smell. Hmm. Well,
there is ONE more step...
10) The only thing I know of that is at all effective in removing
fragrance of smegma from your hands (fingernails arms elbows and
else it's gotten) is Excalibur. Even then, if you didn't use gloves
find you've got an unusual personal perfume for a while. So, word to
wise, do NOT clean your horse's sheath just before an important job
interview or first date.
and of course, there is that one FINAL step...
11) Figure out how to explain all this to your mother (or the kid
door, or the meter reader, or whoever else you've just realized has
standing in the barn doorway speechlessly watching the entire