So, a while back I asked you all about grazing muzzles. I bought a good grazing muzzle for my mare which is attached to its own halter, but I am a bit concerned.
She's been wearing it now for about a 6 weeks (on during the day and then off at night with a small feed of tested low NSC hay) and has lost a HUGE amount of weight already. She is frustrated (at minimum), almost panicky at times when she tries to graze, spending the majority of her time wandering from patch to patch trying to eat... but when I walk to where she was, the grass hasn't been clipped (it's fairly thick/tall grass). While I know it is important to restrict her, it is also important that she not be starving. She is extraordinarily hungry at dinnertime when the gang comes in for hay and woofing that hay down way, way faster than she ever normally did in the past when she was a fattie. I am concerned and wondering if the hole is too small and she actually isn't getting much grass at all?
I am prepping this mare to get bred (currently on P&E) and I most definitely don't want her to lose any more and it's important that she be getting adequate calories. She went from being obese to slim in the space of 6 weeks, which is rather fast weight loss in a very short period of time.
The grass is about 6 inches high in some places, other places shorter at between 3-5 inches, longer in other places. I think I will clip the hole and make it another inch bigger in diameter. It's about 1.5 inches in diameter now. Thanks for your wisdom. It's my first time, ever, to have a horse that needs to use a grazing muzzle.
My gelding wore his muzzle 24/7 as he was out on pasture and I was the only one who could catch and I wasn't out there every day. He learned over time to rub the muzzle back and forth over the grass and get it to fill the hole in the bottom. He never lost any weight and I really wondered if it did any good having it on at all. He was like a hoover vacuum out there shaking his head from side to side. She may get the hang of it over time. Is it possible for you to mow a section of the pasture to make it easier for her to graze it?
shoot... our pony could eat hay with her grazing muzzle. Give it some time and yours will even figure out long grass. I was going to suggest exactly what Jazzy's mom said... mow some strips around the pasture so there's some shorter grass, although honestly I don't think your grass sounds "too tall" for a grazing muzzle.
I would take some time and just hang out with her in the pasture and observe her eating to get a feel for how well she's grazing.
The muzzle accomplished it's goal of reducing her weight. If she's at a good weight now and you think she's going to lose too much, perhaps you can reduce the amount of time she wears the grazing muzzle, although I'll add that the pony we had could speed-graze a day's worth of forage in just a few hours so she had to be a 24/7 muzzle-wearer to stay in good weight.