Equine Dentist Walck has a horse in stall, head is being held up by pulley as he sedates the horse.

Dentist Troy Walck getting ready to examine Cochise.

At 4UR Ranch we just wrapped up our season with an annual visit from CEqD Troy Walck, an experienced Equine Dentist. Having an equine dentist come each year to work on the horses is something that plays into our values as a guest ranch. While the horses visit the vet very often the work of a horse dentist is vital to keeping the 4UR herd healthy and happy.

You wouldn’t expect it but having bad teeth can lead to poor performance while out for a trail ride. Have you ever ridden a horse that refused to turn left? Sometimes the fix is as simple as smoothing out their teeth so they aren’t in pain each time you signal a left turn. Head Wrangler Damon Gibbons noticed a significant drop in the amount of negative behavior in the horses after the first few visits by CEqD Walck. For the wranglers to give each guest helpful and constructive horseback instruction the horses have to be in the best shape possible. Having Dr. Troy come out, gives the 4UR Ranch that edge.

Getting 4UR Horses back to their Ancestors

CEqD Walck has spacer in horses mouth, getting ready to grind out inconsistencies in the teeth.

Grinding out those abnormalities and misalignments.

Wild horses have breed out the misalignments and abnormalities in their teeth because horses with those abnormalities can’t process food efficiently enough to stay alive. Getting the 4UR horses back to their ancestors, in their ability to wear teeth evenly, and efficiently digest nutrients was a big reason that 4UR Ranch began bringing CEqD Walck to the ranch. When 4UR Ranch began bringing CEqD Walk out in 2011 he said that many horses in the herd were on the skinny side—not because of available food, but because they weren’t getting enough nutrients out of their food. Now that he has been with us the horses are noticeably happier and more comfortable on horseback rides.

Horses running in from green pasture with wranglers in the background.

Bringing the horses in from an evening in the pasture.

CEqD Walck explains how horses in the wild are always on alert, bringing their heads up and down to look for predators. This movement paired with their eating allows them to wear teeth evenly. Domestic horses like those in the 4UR herd are no longer concerned with predators in the same way as wild horses. Having the equine dentist come out allows us to keep our herd as healthy as their wild ancestors, but tame enough for a long day in the saddle.

Keeping our Companions Healthy

CEqD has a spacer in horses mouth, checking the wear of back molars.

Checking to see how Cochise’s molars are wearing.

CEqD Walck likes to compare how someones attitude can change when they have a head or toothache, and you see that same change in horses. They experience pain much like humans, so keeping their teeth smooth and clean is one of the best way for a horse to live a long, happy life and still contribute to the 4UR Ranch herd. Our horses are so important to not only the natural horsemanship program but also as amazing companions to everyone in the 4UR Ranch family.

Head Wrangler Damon helping dentist Troy Walck raise the head of a sedated horse.

Head Wrangler Damon helping dentist Troy Walck raise the head of sedated Cochise.