Admittedly, I am terrible with my horse’s teeth – I’ve had him rising 10 years and not had his teeth done once. (Gasp, shock horror!). Initially, it was ignorance and quite possibly still could be, but I’ve figured as long as he’s in good condition and having no problems keeping weight (he’s always rather festively plump) that he’s chewing and digesting everything alright.
Well he had them done for the first time today, along with 23 other horses at one of the riding schools I work at. Apparently they get done this time each year and the same trusty equine dentist comes out with his helper and they get them done in a day.
Now, between the two of them they managed 24 horses in 4 hours. For curiosity’s sake I enquired about costs – if it’s a special visit for just your horse, you’re looking at around $110 to have their teeth done. For a number of horses, it’s $50. So, in the four hours, they made $1,200.00 between the two of them and this was only from the one riding school.
They’d done a few before coming out to us and had another half dozen or so to do before finishing up for the day. What an income! The main dentist pointed out he has a bit in the way of expenses – the big one being insurance and then lesser – petrol, cost of floats (used to do the horses’ teeth – one costs around $100 and he went through four between the 24 horses). But still, taking out $400 for the floats, say $60 for a tank of petrol and then giving even half to his coworker would leave him with around $370.
I’m sure it’s higher as the apprentice probably gets a lot less than 50% of the day’s earnings! So, for around $100 an hour, not a bad way to work at all!
The dentist who annually comes out to this riding school advocates the course at Melbourne University – one year of study, one year on the job. Apparently there’s a lot of people doing the course and too many from Victoria, so quite a few get trained and then head overseas to put their skills to use. But consider two years of training, then another few years on the job and travelling and then you’d be set with experience, a build up of clients in more than one country and the chance to earn a decent income with horses. Not a bad five-year-plan, ey?
“A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient horse walks in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you.”