Min gets her teeth into carrots after drill

Dr Gill Rickard of the Illawarra Equine Centre performs a check-up and clean, using a cordless drill, for Min the mare. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dr Gill Rickard of the Illawarra Equine Centre performs a check-up and clean, using a cordless drill, for Min the mare. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Going to the dentist is not everyone's ideal way of spending a birthday - and let's not talk about the size of the drill.

But in the case of Min, the Riding for the Disabled mare based at Jerrara, the extra large bag of carrots at the end made it all worthwhile.

The Illawarra Equine Centre marked the August 1 Horses' Birthday by giving a free dental treatment to the region's Riding for the Disabled Association based at Jerrara.

The veterinary clinic is part of the Equine Dental Vets group, which is running an initiative to increase awareness of both horse health and horse charities around Australia.

Dr Gill Rickard of the Illawarra Equine Centre said there was a growing awareness of the need to look after horse's teeth particularly horses that were ridden regularly.

A fully developed horse can have up to 44 teeth at one time and, like humans, lose and gain teeth at various stages of life.

Riding for the Disabled NSW Illawarra started with the support of Kiama Municipal Council in November 1981 with about 12 members, increasing to 60 members within weeks.

The centre has had its own grounds of 27 acres at the base of Jerrara Dam since 1987 with another 100 acres on lease. It operates four days a week. Volunteer helpers are always needed at the not-for-profit centre. People don't need horse knowledge, as training is provided.

The organisation has 16 horses, including Min, who is aged 23.

However, unlike most horses, Min, who is standardbred, will have to wait another month until she officially turns 24.

August 1 is celebration day for nearly all breeds but standardbreeds' official birthday is September 1.

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