Introducing a grazing muzzle?
I think I'm going to need some handholding here... and sorry about the novel.
The New Girl is chubby... (she's a 22 year old 14h App). Been home with me since August of last year. She was a bit thin then (dry summer, not much grass), so the vet suggested I put about 100 pounds on her. No problem - I have plenty of nice pasture, and between that and a ration balancer (Buckeye Grow N Win) she was looking great after about a month. Problem is that she's still doing really well on winter pastures and has continued to gain weight. I've cut the ration balancer down to a couple of ounces a day and am working on eliminating it entirely (though the Princess will NOT be amused by that), so that's underway, but I don't think that's going to solve the weight issue, especially come spring when the grass begins to grow again. (Pasture is a 3 year old stand of fescue, FYI.)
Pony does not appreciate stall confinement - and I really don't want to do that unless I have to (she's currently out 24/7 with access to her stall and a run-in). I can limit her to the "night pen" which is about 30' x 50' and attached to her stall if need be, but I want her to have as much turnout time as possible - I think it's better for her mental and physical health.
Currently, she is not getting worked - between our crappy winter weather and the lack of daylight both before and after work. I plan to fix that once we get some actual daylight after 5:30pm, but for now, I'm stuck.
So - it looks like a grazing muzzle is pretty much a no-brainer, right?
I've never used one before - does she have to wear it 24/7 (I hope not!) or can I take it off at night in the big pasture? I've got one on order, so I can introduce it gradually, but does any one have any tips/guidance on using one? Hate to do it to her, but better an annoyed pony than a laminitic one... I want to be prepared when the grass starts growing again.
I'm just used to having the opposite problem - Old Guy was a very hard keeper, and honestly, that seemed like a much easier problem to deal with!