Tom Howell, from Crawfordsville, Ind, has carved out a unique niche for himself as the only practicing equine orthodontist in the United States, according to an[removed] article[/removed] in the Columbus, Ind, newspaper The Republic. Howell’s interest in the field was sparked some 10 years ago after one of his own horses died. Howell believes that the horse’s death was caused by an equine dentist who did not know what he was doing.

Howell practices non-sedation orthodontics on both domestic and racing horses. He believes that proper alignment of a horse’s mouth is key to its overall health, helping with both performance and balance.

Howell aligns a horse’s mouth by filling specific teeth. He said he frequently finds himself fixing the mistakes of dentists who use power tools or air tools.

"If the person working on your horse can’t tell you what is wrong by looking at them, you shouldn’t let them in the horse’s mouth," Howell said. "I have built my reputation on being able to fix those horses. You have to understand that everything works in harmony with a horse."

Currently, Howell is working on two books: one for horse owners to teach them what to look for, and another for people who want to go into the field. In addition, Howell is considering starting a school in Crawfordsville to teach others his specialty.

"I never thought that it would get to this level," says Howell. "It has turned into an adventure and a labor of love. It’s not just my job, it is a hobby."