Does your horse need a grazing muzzle?
Maybe. First, you need to figure out why your horse may need one, and then you can decide.
Grazing muzzles are designed to limit the amount of pasture grass that your horse can eat.
- This reduces the overall volume of hay your horse eats, and how fast he can eat it. Problems like colic and laminitis happen because of sugars, and when they are delivered quickly to your horse, the risk goes up even more.
- The ventilated bucket design that goes over your horse’s muzzle only allows the tips of the grass in for your horse to eat.
- Grazing muzzles also limit the size of the bite, so there’s less grass with every munch.
Lush grass can be particularly dangerous for high-risk horses.
Horses that are metabolically challenged, such as horses with insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease, need limited pasture access.
- A horse that has laminitis in the past also needs limited pasture. Of course, there are also overweight horses. Yes, yes, yes, using a grazing muzzle while your horse munches away on his most favorite meal EVER seems like horrible torture! But, the alternative is a myriad of metabolic problems, possible laminitis, and all of the problems that come with having an overweight horse.
- Overweight horses can develop joint, hoof and limb problems from carrying around all of that extra weight. Their heart and lungs can be stressed as well, and their ability to regulate their body temperature is compromised. This is particularly critical in the summer when they need to cool themselves. So when your “easy keeper” gives you those starving stares, it’s time for some tough love. For help in determining if your horse is too pudgy, you can read up on it here, from our friends over at Summit Equine Nutrition!
This is the Greenguard Equine Muzzle. I love love love these.
You can ID muzzles with tape, and you can also make the nose holes bigger for better ventilation.
You may consider only turning your horse out for a short amount of time to limit his intake of grass, but some recent research has discovered that horses will gorge themselves.
- It’s sometimes better for extended turnouts on pasture grass with a grazing muzzle than a short time without a grazing muzzle. Besides, it’s just more walking around time, which is great for everyone!
- When you are shopping for a grazing muzzle, find one that either has a breakaway strap or one that you can attach to a leather halter. Anytime your horse wears a halter there’s the possibility that he will get it hooked on something and freak out. His halter and his grazing muzzle must be breakaway!
You will also need to make sure he can figure out how to drink while wearing a grazing muzzle.
- Access to a water source larger than a bucket may be in order here. You will also want to supervise him while he figures out how to eat while wearing it. I’ve known more than one clever horse that could undress anything that we put on him! Also, watch out for other horses if he’s turned out in a herd, this is especially true if he’s a bit lower on the totem pole. A horse with a grazing muzzle can’t use his teeth and mouth to defend himself and communicate to others.
- You will also want to watch out for sores, rub, hairless patches and the like. Sometimes the top of the muzzle will rub across your horse’s face. You could add some fleece or padding, or use an ointment to create a slippery surface. I like to add some runner’s body glide to the first sign of hair getting rubbed away.
- Those bug-eyed fly masks are great under muzzles, btw, and keep bugs out of ears and eyes. Bonus.
The body glide stuff mentioned above can be yours! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no extra cost to you, and I can keep this website going. I appreciate it greatly.
The best muzzle in the land – order one here! Also in raspberry and black colors.
Halter fuzzies can also be helpful with muzzles.
This is the most amazing body glide – no more blisters!