Yesterday the vet made a house call to our horses. It’s what equine vets do. They’re mobile. It was time to check our old sweeties out, make sure they’re doing okay. Both Bud and Pepper have “issues” that our vet is keeping her eye on. They also needed shots and to have their teeth floated. I knew we were in for a long, but important afternoon.

Floating teeth is an odd term to anyone not used to horse dentistry. Domestic horses need to have their teeth essentially filed down with a tool called a rasp or “float.” They are lightly sedated so they don’t freak out in the process. It’s long, noisy and messy. The vet has to use a special restraint that holds their head up and their jaws open.

Up close and personal with Bud's mouth. This is not the dentistry position.

Bud was first and it took a really loooong time. His teeth were long and sharp. Plus he’s missing a couple of bottom teeth, which may explain why he’s spilling so much food as he eats.

We tied Pepper close by so that she and Bud could comfort each other.

I really hate seeing my vital, beautiful horses looking so vulnerable and drugged out. I know it’s necessary, and the dental work is vital to their long-term health and happiness, but still, it’s not easy to watch.

Pepper was up next. Her teeth were in better shape so it didn’t’ take as long. Nor was it quite so messy. Bud is a messy-mouth kind of guy while Pepper is clean.

You could have guessed that, right?

Miss Pepper

But here’s the hard part. Pepper was just so out of it. She looked like Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues on a bad day in rehab. If you don’t know the reference, check it out. It’s an old movie about the life of blues singer Billy Holiday.

Her entire mouth was lifeless, slack. Her lower lip hung open. She looked so darned vulnerable, and yes, I’ll say it. She looked old.

Of course I’d look the same if I were in her predicament. Any of us would.

In fact, I remember a few visits to the dentist that I’m darned glad no one was around with a camera. It wouldn’t have been pretty.

Rick asked if I was going to take pictures for the blog.

I gave him a look that I hope could have curdled cream.

“Haven’t you been with me long enough to know that you never take pictures of a lady when she’s not looking her best?”

Sweet Pepper, I would never do that to you.

The humiliations of aging are one thing, but broadcasting them to the world is quite another. Your secrets are safe with me, sweet old things.

Now I’m just hoping someone has my back, in the same way.