Facets of the Industry: A Look at Equine Dentistry with Young Dentist Kayla Coburn
The equine industry is a complex, many faceted world that requires all kinds of professionals to help keep our horses happy, healthy and rideable. There are many paths that young horse lovers can take today to become a licensed professional and still be in the industry that they love. Today, we have a chat with a young equine dentist, Kayla Coburn. Kayla is from Athol, Massachusetts and completed her undergrad at The University of Findlay with an associate in Western Equestrian Studies and a bachelor degree in Equine Business Management. From there, she went on to attend The Midwest Equine Dental Academy, and has recently started her own business.
We wanted to speak to Kayla not only about equine dentistry, but as a young professional starting a business. She first got into the idea of being a dentist growing up watching her own equine dentist work. “He always let me get my hands in there, feel my horse’s teeth and would educate me on the importance of routine dental care,” she explained. “It was from those younger years that I was always interested in equine dentistry, and how the overall health of the horse goes hand in hand. My interest remained the same throughout my college years when I began to look for equine dentistry schools.”
Just as with any professional schooling, it takes some thought to choosing the perfect place. “I had done quite a bit of research on a couple of equine dentistry schools throughout the United States, and had narrowed my search to The Midwest Equine Dental Academy. The summer before I graduated from Findlay, my equine dentist at home sadly passed away. I found a new dentist, and absolutely loved the work she did!” Kayla exclaimed. “My new equine dentist had, in fact, graduated from the dentistry school I had been looking into. Because of her outstanding knowledge for the horses mouth, and excitement to educate all horse owners on dental care, I was convinced that The Midwest Equine Dental Academy was the school for me!”
We had asked Kayla about a few things she learned during her time at the Dental Academy, and she had a hard time picking just a few! “After just a day, the most important thing I learned is how much we as horse owners overlook our horse’s mouth,” she muses. “Our horses misbehave when riding, they lose weight, they have bad ground manners but how often do we turn to dentistry to solve these problems? Not too often. It became incredibly clear to me while in school that owning a well rounded, happy, healthy horse all begins with taking a look in their mouth.” Important advice for every horse owner.
Although most horses need their teeth floated (filed down) just once a year, sometimes they need to be done twice a year, or have impacted teeth removed, wolf teeth pulled, you name it. Horses can have just as many dental problems as people do. Think about how you feel when you have a minor toothache! Now imagine you are a horse that often has a bit put in its mouth, or can’t put into words where the pain is. It’s just as important to care for your horse’s teeth as it is for their feet!
As important as proper schooling is, it’s just as important to find a way to use those new skills. “I was most interested to start my own business because of how specialized equine dentistry really is,” Kayla elaborates, “but also because I wanted to be able to educate horse owners on what I was taught at school. I felt as though working for someone else, you might not always get to show people what you know. If you own your own business, people will come to you personally with questions because you have taken the time to educate yourself.”
Kayla has been using her skills learned in her Business Management degree as well as dental school to jump-start a successful business. Using word of mouth and social media to promote her business (see her Facebook here!), she has been having a great time! She serves the Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont areas, and has worked on everything from miniature horses to donkeys, and everything in between!
Kayla has already been enjoying her new job thus far. “If you have interest, go for it! I am so happy with the career path that I chose, and if you are interested in the overall health of horses, you will love to understand the horse’s mouth. Every day I hear about a success story with equine dentistry, and it is a privilege to work in a preventative and corrective field for an animal that you love.”