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Grazing Muzzle Support Group?

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  • Grazing Muzzle Support Group?

    So, I hear that the spiffy new GreenGuard muzzle, intended for my 22-yo chunky, Cushing's, Morgan horse has arrived. I can't even bring myself to go to the door and see if it's really there. I didn't worry so much when we had three months straight of heavy clouds and rain, but now the sun seems to have decided to emerge and start triggering grass sugar production. The fella is out for about eight hours on sloped north-facing pasture. This is a new barn for him; previous barn had in/out to sand paddock, only a couple morning hours on grass (but, small ring, nowhere to ride when it was rainy/snowy/icy/dark, and only one friend -- which led to drama whenever friend went off on a trail ride). New barn has great hours, lovely indoor, lots of friends, etc -- but it's either huge awesome pasture, or very boring, kind of mucky paddocks. So, I got the muzzle, but the thought of putting it on just keeps hitting a hard stop in my brain. Fella lived for 17 years out 24/7 on lush, soft, flat, ridiculous pasture before I got him, and allegedly had no problems, but, he's older now. So, help me think this through, O COTH. How have others coped with an easy keeping senior, on grass? He is on Prascend and Insulinwise. Gets a fistful of Stabul 1, which is less than 10% NSC, to have something in his feed pan when other horses get their grain.
    Last edited by SharonA; May. 22, 2019, 10:47 PM.

  • #2
    My pork chop pony wears a muzzle so she can live with the big horses. I have her come in the barn for at least few hours a day so she can be muzzle free (which also allows me to clean the muzzle). I don't think she loves it, but I think she prefers it to being kept alone.

    I have to be careful with it in the winter, or if it gets muddy/wet out, as the holes in her muzzle will fill up with snow/mud. I am also not sure if she can lick a salt block with her muzzle on. Another downside is she can't use her pony teeth to protect herself herself from other horses.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


    • #3
      The fjords and the new forest pony are in muzzles for all grass time as soon as the grass greens up early spring to late fall. They are in a dry lot part of the day and pastured and muzzled the other part. 12/12 or close to it.

      They don't mind the tough 1 muzzle or the greenguard. The best friends they were less fond of and it gave one horrible rubs.


      • #4
        I have ten acres of grass for three horses and two donkeys. Both donkeys and one of the horses need muzzles 24/7 when the grass is growing. Every spring, I hate putting them on for the first time. The guilt kills me. But, they get used to it quickly and the guilt is replaced with relief when they stop blimping up like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

        Right now, the horse and one of the donkeys wear Greenguard muzzles, the other donkey wears a Tough 1 Easy Breathe (since this is his first year being muzzled and I didn't know how he'd react, I went with a cheaper option first and will likely replace later).

        It was a lot worse before I discovered the Greenguard muzzles. The horse used to protest muzzles violently, bolting in the field if she saw me with one and going into full giraffe mode in the stall when it was time to put it on. Yet there is no protest with the Greenguard muzzles; I don't even think they care much that they have to wear them. They GG muzzles rarely cause rubs, and when they do, it's usually from the halter itself or because a buckle got twisted into a wrong position. They have also lasted for years, which is something I can't say for any other style of muzzle.

        I have a small dry lot that I could keep the fatties in-- but they are SO much happier having access to the whole pasture, getting to interact as a herd and wander around the hills. They scream to be let out and walk the fenceline when I try to leave them up in it. I figure it's much healthier for them physically to wear the muzzles and get to move about freely than to be confined to a dry lot, especially since the dry lot turns into a muddy, mucky mess in the rain. They get about 1-2 hours break every day when everyone comes in to stalls to eat; the other two horses are seniors who take time eating large meals, so the muzzled crew gets their minuscule amounts of feed plus time to freely eat a little hay.

        I do supplement the muzzled ones with loose salt in their feed because as CHT said, I don't think they can get any salt from the salt block.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


        • #5
          I have just ordered a Greenguard for my Insulin Resistant 23(on Friday) Paint mare. Have gone thru 3 Best Friends, was hoping to get another year out of one, but the hole is too big and figure she is getting too much grass. My husband had made a panel on his CNC machine that we attached to the muzzle, but dirt, grass, etc. got in between, so that was a no go. That is the backup one!!!! At a private boarding barn, where care is great, but no option for dry lot etc. This allows her to be out with the herd and she is happier. Owner bought a GGM for her Paint this spring. Horses are fed a big mash in the morning, then out all day with the muzzles, then brought in and have hay in front of them all nite. So will report back how things go!!!!


          • #6
            Dry lots basically aren't a thing in Kentucky. Land of the thoroughbred! hahaha. So my draft/qh mare was put on a muzzle almost as soon as we moved here. After about a year of struggling with cheaper muzzles, I finally gave in and got the greenguard one. Great decision on my part!

            She definitely prefers that one, and honestly, she really likes being able to graze all night... even if it is at a slower pace.


            • #7
              I too have a mare that lives in "fat camp" most of the year. We are also in KY but are fortunate to have dry lots available, however, without turnout riding this particular horse is, lets say, problematic. She lived in a muzzle until the week before Christmas last year. And she went back into the muzzle daily the first week of March this year. She is not at all depressed in one so I don't feel so bad about putting it on. But I do feel depressed when I have to pull out the bigger girths this time of year !

              I found the greenguard to not cut nearly enough grass out and ended up returning it. There are a few others I know that use it and love them, but their horses are also still VERY overweight despite the muzzle.I use a Shire's Deluxe with the fleece and cut back chin. They tend to run small, but I don't think I will ever swap to another.
              "True love is taking away their pain, and making it your own. "


              • #8
                I'm also new to having to muzzle. Last fall one of my guys was diagnosed IR. At first he hated wearing his GG but quickly figured it out. Funny story - he is known to be hard to catch in the pasture, but now when he sees me he trots up in hopes I'll take it off. Our pasture is too lush right now so he is only out 2 hours and drylotted the rest of the time.


                • #9
                  I have no problem putting the GG on and they walk right up to me to me to put it on, because they know after the muzzle is on, the gate to the pasture is opened! Also, it's effective enough (mine is purely for weight control) that they get two muzzle free days a week. I'm sure it will have to be cut down to one soon enough, but for now they get two days, Wed and Sun night. I swear they positively rolled in this AM, and I gave them half their already reduced "summer" hay
                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                  • #10
                    Just do it. My pony lives in a muzzle 9 months out of the year, and we just bought him a GG muzzle with the cool specialized halter. Its WAY better than the Best Friends muzzle and isn't rubbing him or getting a big hole in the bottom. They'll survive and be happier to be out in a big pasture nibbling than stuck in a small paddock.
                    Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                    • #11
                      I've never seen a muzzle in use. I'm curious what happens to herd dynamics when the muzzled horse can no longer bite and snap and threaten.


                      • #12
                        My girl is muzzled all summer. Doesn't like it, but willingly lowers her head to have it put on, because like DMK said, she knows the pasture gate is going to be opened once she has submitted to having her face locked up for the day, and she'd rather be out nibbling grass with difficulty than standing in the drylot sadly looking out at the grass next door after chomping down her hay.
                        Also there's always a treat after the muzzle goes on, so she just shoves her face in it now!

                        As for herd dynamics:

                        In her herd the alpha mare and 2nd place mare (her) are both muzzled, while the low on the totem pole gelding isn't. As far as herd dynamics, I'm not sure he's ever figured out they can't bite him when muzzled. I can say they can definitely still threaten him, and he correctly interprets those threats, even without him being able to see their faces

                        So their herd dynamics are very consistent in summer and winter, but it probably matters a lot what the herd positions of the muzzled horse(s) are, and also how well established the herd dynamics are in the first place.
                        He is also more or less the same size as them, if they were both ponies he might get more uppity when they can't bite back.


                        • #13
                          In the past, various people have been critical of me and many others for not having our horses on grass. I didn't plan it this way, but with a mare who's "trying to be" metabolic, it's good things worked out this way. Her paddock does have a tiny amount of grass, which means that every day she wanders around looking for new growth. I do hand graze her a fair amount because I want to keep her used to eating grass (and also she is the world's most efficient grazer, and the sound of her munching on grass is very soothing in a weird way.)
                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                          • #14
                            I have my fat morgan in the greenguard muzzle as of a few weeks ago. He is stalled at night so I take it off then. This is the first time he has ever worn a muzzle and he simply doesn't care. He has never sulked for even a minute. I was shocked. I will say I have him fleeced up everywhere because he rubs super easy. I had to tape off the back bottom three holes with electrical tape because he was also getting a rub on his chin. Once I got all that worked out he's been doing super. I wish we had a dry lot he could live in with other fatties but we don't so he just has to live with it.


                            • #15
                              My horse doesn't mind the muzzle that much. Before I put it on, I give him a cookie (low sugar) then I put it on and stuff 5 more cookies in the side of his mouth.

                              I have the top strap of the muzzle duct taped to the noseband of his halter so the muzzle doesn't sit on his nose at all. I also had a wide crown piece made for his halter and nothing is rubbing. I do take it off for an hour early in the morning because he is thin but has Cushings and is IR.


                              • #16
                                I use a Best Friend's muzzle on my horse. I have it rigged up to a leather halter with Vetrap. It took a while but I figured out a good system to keep it on him.

                                That being said, he's really good about it and will put his nose right in because he knows that he's going out when it goes on. He's on either all day or all night turnout depending on the weather. It comes off when he's in the stall of course. This year he wore the muzzle until December and it went on again in March. The barn has decent grass and plenty of it.

                                He's a funny boy and has picked up and thrown the muzzle at me when I'm not getting him outside fast enough to suit him.
                                "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple Barry Switzer


                                • #17
                                  I have had many horses that needed grazing muzzles over the years. They definitely don't love them, and they can't understand its muzzles or no pasture. However, I saw a sign in a vet's truck once that said "Grazing Muzzles Save Lives" and its true, especially if your horse already has metabolic issues. The problems that the sugars in the grass and extra weight the grass causes can be fatal. The alternatives will make you feel much worse than making him wear the muzzle for pasture time.


                                  • #18
                                    My mare has been wearing her GG ( starting week 3 now) and doing so much better than I ever hoped. She is 14 and this is the first year that I have not been able to manage her weight without one.

                                    I tried the basket type muzzle about 10 years ago on her with pretty disastrous results ( after 1 day I couldn't even get near her) so i just went to intense management muzzle less.

                                    I felt guilt and dread as I ordered it, but I also watched her weight ballooning as her time out decreased rapidly.

                                    She would rather be without it, but she is out all day, getting something to eat, drinking well and seems happy. I can walk right up to her and put it on every morning with no issues.

                                    Her weight is slowly coming off as well. I wish I had gotten one sooner.

                                    The way we were going would have ended in dry lot 24/7 or founder. Kind of makes it a no brainer.

                                    Good luck.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                      I've never seen a muzzle in use. I'm curious what happens to herd dynamics when the muzzled horse can no longer bite and snap and threaten.
                                      Well, my herd is pretty stable... but nothing happens. Nothing changes. The alpha is the horse who is muzzled. Being muzzled doesn't diminish her status in any way. They still respect her every wish. The donkeys don't get beat up or anything because they are muzzled.

                                      Nothing changed when I was boarding, either. My horses were out with other boarders' animals and fell mid-pack in the pecking order. They did not get beat up more or less because of the muzzles. They were perfectly capable of using their hind ends to make their points if necessary.
                                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                        I've never seen a muzzle in use. I'm curious what happens to herd dynamics when the muzzled horse can no longer bite and snap and threaten.
                                        In my herd of 2 my mare is alpha so nothing has changed. If herd dynamics are in place it shouldn't be altered by 1 wearing a muzzle.

                                        Easy enough to threaten with the feet , if they really mean it