This is my first spring with my lovely Welsh pony, and therefore my first experience with a grazing muzzle. She came with a muzzle, and everything was going swimmingly until I realized that she was getting way too much grass through the hole. Alas, I bought a new muzzle and found that the hole in the new one was *much* smaller than the one she came with.
She now has the new muzzle on and will not graze. She is basically sulking. It seems to fit fine, but she cannot figure out how to get grass through the hole. The vet says she will figure it out.
Experiences? Are there certain brands that are better than others? I have seen one online called a GrassGuard muzzle, but it looks like they are only available in the UK.
I feel awful seeing her pouting...but I do not want to risk her getting sick, as she was getting quite plump.
Now, if I could create a grazing muzzle for myself, that would be a great thing! ;-)
My friend's mare with IR is doing the same thing with the deluxe muzzle from SmartPak. She now refuses to graze at all if it's on. I don't think it's a "pouting" issue. The horse probably realizes she expends a lot of energy for hardly anything. The horse gets a blade or two of grass out of every 10 tries. I'd probably give up too.
I watched my Shetland yesterday--she is a remarkably efficient eater through even a muzzle! She has the head-bob perfectly down to where when she plunks the muzzle down and wiggles it with her nose a couple of blades pop through the hole. She's still plump on her strict muzzling regimen, so she's now spending the night in a stall with a very scant hay net rather than having night-time hay with the skinny TB broodmare, much to her disgust.
Your vet is right. Ignore the pouting. You would both look and be much sadder if you had to treat the pony for laminitis.
Had to do this with mine. She was NOT pleased. At least this year she has a pony friend for a turn out buddy that is also muzzled. I have a picture somewhere of them both looking at me, while wearing their muzzles, with faces that say 'CLEARLY you're joking...'
Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)
Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010
My mare stood in one spot for 8 HOURS STRAIGHT after I put the muzzle on the first time. Survival of the fittest or smartest clearly would not apply to her. Eventually she started walking around and by the next day progressed to throwing her face into the ground over and over. Day three she figured out how to graze and after a few waterboardings also managed to gauge the water bucket with her muzzle.
I just invested in a new best friends muzzle and actually wish there was a way to reduce the hole size since she has mastered how to maximize the muzzle. I think it is rare that the hole is truly to small.
I certainly cannot advise you as I am having the same problem. My two cannot, will not, do not graze with the muzzles on. It's been about three or four weeks now.
I go out every couple of hours and feed them a handful of hay through the muzzles. I don't want them fasting! And I take the muzzles off each night for about 8-10 hours, midnight until morning, which is when the grass has the least sugar (from what I've read).
This does not seem like a good process to me. I'm not always available to go out and handfeed them.
What I really wish is that there were a way to electronically open (widen) and close (narrow) the holes. I'd love to let mine eat their low-sugar hay five freely for five minutes an hour or so. Could somebody invent that for me?
Ignore it. Mine sulked and would scream for me to take it off. I wasn't the meanie who put it on her so she thought I would save her from the indignity of it all. Too bad she didn't know I was the one who bought it in the first place. I fed her some grass through the hole, but she mostly figured it out on her own after a little while.
Poor, poor horsie.
if you hand feed and take muzzles off at night, of course they are not going to eat through the muzzle during the day. They will wait until it is easier. Put the muzzles on and leave them except for meals for a couple of weeks and this problem will go away. I go through it every year with my old man. When he gets good and hungry he gives in...usually about day 2-3. He's fine. He gets the muzzle because he is fat anyway so a little less grass for 2 days is not going to hurt him.
Id have to agree with leaving the muzzles on all the time. In my case, my mare was so pissed about the muzzle, that she would gorge on grass after I took it off for the evening. I didnt see much results doing it half on/half off.
My mare did the same thing with the pouting until shoe figured out how to get it off. We tried to zip tie it and now she has figured out how to rip out all the stitching off the muzzle. Pouting is much better than the alternatives.
I moved to a new farm with good pasture from a farm with dry lots. I bought
a new, small-hole muzzle so that we could slowly get my horse used to the
grass. The last time she was muzzled, she was able to wear one with a bigger
hole. Eventually she got transitioned to that muzzle, but she was very
not happy for the first few weeks. She stood in the corner pouting.
Eventually she got over it . She's been transitioned to the bigger-hole
muzzle so gets a little more grass.
Is it true that there is less sugar in the grass overnight ? Because I sure
would like to let my mare have the muzzle off overnight, they are on
24/7 turnout now.
You MEAN momma. Those poor little darlings muzzled up. You sure have *them* trained, instead of them having *you* trained.
IME pouting happens and it takes time for the pouting to stop. Make sure you show them how to drink with the muzzle on. I gave mine salt and he got it figured out. I figured he thought, "I can pout and be very pitiful while she looks at me, but I ain't gonna die of thirst, I will drink while she doesn't look".