Evolution vs. Domestication
Nature created a balanced system for the horse. They would graze between 14 and 18 hours a day on grasses that contain silicas which naturally wore down the teeth. The front teeth wore at about the same rate they continually erupted-- a Naturally Balanced system. The length and angle of the front teeth were meant to be equal to that of today’s 5 year old domestic horse. They would remain that way throughout the rest of the horse’s lifetime. Through domestication, we have altered the horse’s natural patterns of grazing, diet and physical activity. In addition to confinement reducing grazing activity, the cultivated grasses of today have less of an abrasive action than natural habitat, thus compounding the problem.
With a drastically altered lifestyle, the front teeth of domestic horses usually exceeds the length and angle evolution dictated. Once this happens, it causes an abnormal rotation of the TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint); the joint where the jaw hinges to the skull. The rotation of this joint controls the wear pattern of the molars.
The point of Natural Balance Dentistry® is to treat the cause, not the symptoms of the problem, by maintaining a natural length and angle of the incisors first. Balancing of the molars cannot be accomplished without achieving proper balance in the front of the mouth. Once the paradigm is established, the practitioner continues to balance the molars (maximizing surface to surface contact) and the TMJ to fit each horse’s underlying anatomical correctness.
"40 million years of evolution can’t be wrong but 100 years of bad opinions could be."--Spencer LaFlure
Surprisingly to those accustomed to drastic power floating, making conservative adjustments yield the greatest results. By removing the minimal level of pathology, dramatic changes cascade throughout the horse’s body.
Since most horse owners believe that if a horse is not showing any outward signs of a problem, dentistry is often an overlooked health practice. Yet it can be the simplest and most affordable step to improve health, maintain well being and even extend life. Most equine dentistry involves prevention. If your horse's teeth are regularly cared for, the maintenance process is simple, and major health complications can be avoided. Each horse is an individual and Natural Balance Dentistry® considers the whole horse and all of its environmental factors in developing a maintenance plan.
In addition to neglected dental care, equally detrimental to your horse's health is poor equine dentistry. It contributes to pain, lameness, poor nutrition and leads to neurological imbalance with a host of negative ramifications.
For optimum well being, every horse should have a complete dental exam on a regular basis, at least yearly. In some cases, such as younger horses or horses having issues, exams should be made every 3-6 months.
The Equine Balance Equation:
+ Balanced Feet
+ Balanced Muscles
+ A Balanced Rider
= A Balanced Horse