Here’s some great information on teeth and weight and how the two can be interrelated. This comes from someone with a lot of experience in the industry and who has worked very closely with many racehorses. It is a little bit of an equine anatomy lesson but it does a good job of explaining how the two issues trainer Clay Brinson has identified with Great Bam can be interrelated.
Why Is Floating A Horse’s Teeth Necessary?
Unlike some other species which can properly digest food even if it is swallowed with little or no chewing, horses must chew their food efficiently in order to effectively digest it. If a horse’s chewing teeth do not have a flat surface they cannot properly chew food, and their process of digestion is greatly hindered. This can result in weight loss from the mild to the dramatic and poor absorption of nutrients.
Oddly enough in a species like the horse where a flat chewing surface is so important, horses are very prone to developing uneven chewing surfaces. This is due, in part, to a horse’s upper jaw being wider than its lower jaw. This unequal width results in a natural wear pattern that causes the edges of the teeth on the upper jaw to be longer on the outside of the mouth where they overhang the lower jaw. The opposite is true on the lower jaw, where the edges of the teeth wear longer on the inside of the mouth where they extend inside the upper jaw.
Since a horse’s teeth continually emerge from the gum line for most if its adult life, and because of the unequal widths of the upper and lower jaws, a horse’s teeth rarely, if ever, grind off during normal chewing to create a flat surface. In addition to greatly hampering a horse’s ability to digest food, a horse’s teeth might become so uneven that sharp, razor-like edges will form. These sharp edges can cut the horse inside its mouth. Floating a horse’s teeth, or at least examining the teeth to see if floating or some other care is needed, should be considered as basic a part of routine care for the horse as providing food and water.
Here’s a quick video on the subject:
Great info. Now I may never actually do this but it’s sure fun to learn about it. I’m assuming the nerves are quite a bit below the tooth surface cause I know that wouldn’t feel to good on my chompers!
You are right about the nerves Brett. This article posted by another commenter describes it pretty well: http://www.aboutyourhorse.com/what-does-floating-teeth-mean-why-it-necessary
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