Not every horse will need to wear a grazing muzzle. Most horses will and can graze pastures with wild abandon, but there are others that cannot. Sugar-filled grasses may cause problems for horses, especially those that prone to acquiring acute or chronic laminitis or metabolic diseases. And if you are looking for best grazing muzzles for horses, this post is one that may just provide the information that you need to know before doing so.
Grazing Muzzles as a Management Tool for Horses
Although horses are very intelligent animals, it will be difficult for them to control their need to graze when pasture that is available is bountiful. But to ensure that they get to control their intake of fresh pasture, horse owners use different management tools. One of the more favored options is the use of a grazing muzzle. It is an appliance that is designed to attach to an ordinary halter and covers the entire muzzle of the horse. When this is worn, the horse can only graze through the hole located at the bottom of the muzzle. This will considerably cut down the amount of grass that horse can consume.
Introducing the Grazing Muzzle to Your Horse
You need to be patient when introducing the muzzle to a horse. Remember that your temperament while trying to put on the muzzle on the horse will greatly affect how the horse will respond to your touch. So, it is best to start slowly.
Gently place the muzzle alongside your horse’s head. Once the horse relaxes, remove the muzzle. Do this until the horse is completely at ease. Proceed to putting the muzzle over the horse’s nose. Remove it after a few seconds and reward the horse’s relaxed behavior. Increase the length of time the muzzle is placed over the horse’s nose. Once you have gained your horse’s complete trust and you are confident that it will respond positively while you are securing the muzzle on its head, do it gently but only for a short period of time.
Reward your horse by feeding treats through the muzzle, as this will show the horse how it can eat with the muzzle on.
A Perfectly Fit Grazing Muzzle for Your Horse
No horse will enjoy wearing a grazing muzzle. Horse owners may also find it exasperating to use, especially when it is the first time to fit the grazing muzzle on the horse.
A perfectly fitted grazing muzzle will help restrict grass intake but it will not completely prevent the horse from eating. This makes grazing muzzles a great tool that allows your horse or pony to enjoy the benefits of turnout while limiting the potential for undesirable weight gain or possible gastrointestinal problems.
Making sure that the grazing muzzle fits properly is vital. To make sure that your horse is wearing its muzzle correctly, consider these tips:
- Follow the fit instructions provided by the brand from which you bought from. Pay attention to sensitive points that may rub against that muzzle, such as the cheekbones and the bridge of the nose. There should be a gap between the mouth of the horse and the muzzle of about an inch.
- Make sure that the horse can open its mouth comfortably while wearing the muzzle.
Choosing Grazing Muzzles for Horses
The market offers a wide variety of options for grazing muzzles. Each of these options has its pros and cons. The type of muzzle that you should consider will depend on your budget as well as your horse’s preference. You will find that there are muzzles that provide a better fit than others. That means, your best choice will be one that offers that best fit and comfort for your horse.
Like training another animal to do something for the first time, it will take some time before your horse gets used to the muzzle. Be patient. The horse might even get the muzzle off while in pasture. Check to see how you can fit the muzzle back securely on your horse again. It will also help to stick the a bright colored tape on the muzzle that will allow you see it easily in case it gets thrown off the hay.
It is also essential that you monitor your horse’s behavior while wearing the muzzle. Make sure that it will still get to graze enough so it won’t lose weight. Any unexpected changes should be noted and allow a qualified vet to check on your horse for a better examination of its overall health condition.
Again, choosing grazing muzzles for horses will greatly depend on your horse preference. Making sure that your horse benefits most with the muzzle will greatly depend on how you manage your horse on a daily basis as it continue to use the muzzle as while in pasture.