Once a year our lovely vet Helen comes to check the horses teeth. In days gone by the vet would have used a twitch to restrain the horse during treatment. I haven’t seen one for 35 years but as I remember them they were a wooden handle with a loop of string that went over the horses nose and twisted until it was tight over his muzzle, not surprisingly this took the horses mind off it (it always looked eye wateringly painful). They are still used but thankfully not by our vet, she has a device that looks very much like a metal bit which of course the horses are used to putting in their mouths. Once installed it has a kind of ratchet on the side that gradually opens their mouths, when totally open Helen can put her hand in up to the elbow without any concerns of being bitten.
A large rasp which wouldn’t look out of place in a mechanics garage is then used to file the teeth. Hooks can grow on some of the teeth which make it uncomfortable wearing a bridal, it’s these that have to be filed off.
As some of the horses still get a little stressed with the horrid rasping sound, Helen gives them a slight sedative (Can’t blame them, I couldn’t have treatment without an anaesthetic!) I usually seize the moment and wash other parts that may normally be a no go area, if you know what I mean… Suffice to say they come round feeling like they have had an MOT.