From Tooth to Hoof and Everything In Between

Yesterday was the 2nd day I was off my crutches for over a week and good thing.  Here at PENZANCE South we had a very special clinic.

Brittany Granitsas, NBD, traveled here to SW Florida to teach us about Natural Balance Equine Dentistry. Along with Brittany was Barbara Bliss from Two-Hearts Mustang Wellness Center in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

We had a BOGO here!  

Brittany worked on horses' teeth while Barbara (Penzance Natural Hoofcare Graduate) worked on hooves. 

The premier combination for any horse! 

What do teeth have to do with hooves, you ask?  


In fact, teeth have to do with the WHOLE HORSE just as hooves have to do with the WHOLE HORSE! 


I asked Brittany what she'd like others to know first about Natural Balance Equine Dentistry ... Let's recap here. 

"NBD affects posture, performance and the main sensory cranial nerve that has to do with proprioception and motor function branches through the TMJ and into the teeth (which are calcified nerves).

Balance in the mouth, this affecting posture and footfall, will ultimately affect feet directly. And, visa versa. 

Everything is connected, as you know ... and there are also proprioceptors in the feet."  ~Brittany Granitsas, NBD

So let's list some of the highlights of how the horse's mouth affects the WHOLE horse - including the HOOVES.  

1.  Each horse's mouth is individual. 

2.  The horse should maintain the length and inclination of the front teeth that was established by age 5 and remain that way for the lifetime of the horse. 

Checkin' out the Incisors

3.  If this balance is not maintained then abnormal rotation of the TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) occurs and this affects not just the mouth but the WHOLE HORSE ... from head to HOOVES. 

4.  The purpose of Natural Balance Dentistry is to treat the cause, not the symptoms, by maintaining a natural length and inclination of the incisors FIRST. Trying to balance the molars without ensuring the proper balance of the incisors simply cannot be accomplished properly.

5.  The general trend of today's Equine dentist is to apply a centered alignment; a 'leveling' to the front teeth and molars and do so with every horse the same ... a removal of the points. What NEEDS to happen is for the NBD (Natural Balance Dentist) to anatomically align the mouth, incisors and molar bite planes, so that it fits the individual to its optimal neurological function.

6.  "The incisors are the *guidance to the TMJ (and dictate how that dynamic joint moves) and molars are stabilizers. If the molars are "slicked" by over floating or power tools, you will lose stability in the biomechanics of that joint and thus the body." ~Brittany Granitsas

6. Simply removing the points does not address the INDIVIDUAL horse and results in imbalances in the movement of the horse, the body mass of the horse, the proprioceptors (nerves that determine balance) as well as the neuromuscular functioning of the horse as a whole. 

So you're still asking, So what? What does this have to do with the HOOVES of the horse? 

Well, let's see ... "Natural balance in the mouth and the jaw’s ability to move forward, backward, left and right, up and down, is equal to the whole body’s ability to do the same. The jaw’s range of motion dictates the neck’s range of motion, which in turn dictates muscle mass in the rest of the body."  -- Spencer LaFlure

Balancing the incisors ... HAPPY HORSE! 

So there you have it ... the NATURAL balance, the correct balance of the horse's MOUTH affects the ENTIRE rest of the body ... especially the NECK.

Let me repeat from the quote above, "The jaw’s range of motion dictates the neck’s range of motion, which in turn dictates muscle mass in the rest of the body."

Imbalance of the TMJ causes a loss of muscle mass in the flanks ... It also affects the entire REST of the body ... all the way down to the hooves. 

And we all know, how a horse moves dictates the natural wear of the hooves, in as much as the trim, the form of the hooves, affects the movement of the horse ... 

Power floating teeth has become very popular. And while it's popular for the ease of the equine 'dentist', it might not be the best for the horse! Most horses have to be sedated to have power floating done and then damage to the teeth, themselves, can occur as the abrasive surface of the teeth is ground away. The abrasive surface of the teeth is necessary for proper grinding of grass and other forages. In some cases, the teeth are 'floated' too much which does not allow for proper TMJ movement, balance or the proper mastication of food. 

Now, equate that to your horse's overall well-being and way of going ... hooves and all.  

Now we get to nutrition and diet and how that affects the hooves ... if the horse cannot chew properly then he does not get proper nutrition. Without proper nutrition the hooves cannot be healthy and that takes us to the old adage, "No hoof, No horse."  

So if you have a horse that is not 'extending out' or 'tracking up' or wears his hooves unevenly or imbalanced, if the hooves are breaking down or the horse is losing mass and muscle; your horse can't bend to the left or right or pick up a proper lead or perhaps the horse is stumbling frequently or, a tell-tale sign that the mouth isn't right - if your horse is quidding his hay and dropping grain ... it may not be this or that or the other 'thing' but may REALLY be a serious matter with the mouth.  

Trying to "fix" the hooves without properly balancing the mouth is not going to correct the issue. 

One MUST look to the WHOLE HORSE; not just a piece of it. 

So, yesterday, when Brittany was through with balancing the mouth, Barbara then took over and balanced the hooves!  

We had several VERY happy and comfortable horses striding home from PENZANCE yesterday ... 


 Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications includingThe Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 18 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here:

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