In the equestrian realm, age and dental health present formidable barriers to high-stakes competition. Yet, a notable gelding named Zante disregards these presumptions, affirming that with sheer resolution, passion for the sport, and outstanding care, triumph is possible—even without a complete set of teeth.

Zante: A Champion in the Face of Adversity

Zante, the gallant gelding owned by Ellie Roberts, scales new heights in the sporting domain by partaking in the renowned Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver Championship at the NAF Five-Star Winter Dressage Championships. The 20-year-old toothless champ had lost his incisors eighteen months before the tournament due to a typical dental ailment in geriatric horses—Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH).

Notwithstanding his advanced age and dental complications, Zante’s vibrant spirit and ardor for dressage remain unbroken. Roberts correlates Zante's love for competitions to a “party”— a testament to his fervor and bliss for the sport.

Role of Dental Health in Equine Performance

Research highlights the impact of dental problems on a horse’s performance. Namely, EOTRH can substantially impede a horse’s ability to eat, drink, and perform to its optimum capabilities. This condition can result in the resorption of the tooth structure and overproduction of cementum, which ultimately leads to tooth loss. The prevalence of EOTRH advances with age, making it more challenging for older horses to remain sportively active.

Necessity for Further Research

Further research is required to comprehend the long-term repercussions of dental problems on the performance of aged horses. Effective management strategies aimed at guaranteeing their comfort and well-being are indispensable for their continued success in sports.

Significance of Equine Dentistry

Equine dentistry plays an essential role in maintaining the oral health of our equine friends, especially those vying for high stakes. Regular dental examinations and appropriate care can help curb dental issues and secure peak performance.

Managing Elder Sports Horses

Strategies for managing older sports horses like Zante include anticipating the need for specialized diets, apt dental care, and a steady training schedule. These practices can assist in upholding their physical and mental wellness, enabling them to persist in the high stake competitions.


In conclusion, the story of Zante serves as an emblem of resolve and perseverance in the equestrian universe. His tenacity, love for the sport, and round-the-clock care have aided him in overcoming age and dental issues to continue competing at an unparalleled scale. However, further research is necessitated for better understanding of the impact of dental challenges on the performance of aged horses in order to devise more effective management strategies.

Article reference source: “Toothless 20-year-old still ‘loving a party’ at the Winter Dressage Championships” and “Defying the Odds: Zante, the Toothless Dressage Champion”.