Horse Muzzles — Tips and Tricks
Is your horse an “easy keeper” or insulin resistant? Has Cushings decease or ever foundered? If the answer to any of these questions is yes you should consider the use of a Grazing Muzzle.
Spring Grass exacerbates these problems. So a great way to help manage this is by allowing your horse to be turned out with a grazing muzzle. This will reduce the amount of grass intake. While allowing horses to be the grazing animals nature intended them to be with the benefit of exercise.
Some people think that muzzles are cruel. However, most horses accept them quite readily. They will learn to eat and drink with little problem. The only word of caution we have here is that you should never place a muzzle on a horse that has never had one on and walk away. The horse, not being used to it will attempt to remove it. This is a natural thing and it will take a few short sessions before acceptance is attained. Sometimes you may need to push some grass through the opening on the bottom of the muzzle so the horse gets the idea. A treat also helps reinforce that this is a good thing. Remember that to eat, the horse must open and close their mouths, so be sure to allow enough room around the inside of the basket. The bottom of the muzzle should be about 1 1/2″ away from the lips.
Fitting the muzzle properly is critical. Make sure that the cheek straps are adjusted so that the crown and throat latch is allowed to fit into the crease of the neck. I always tell people “step in front of the horse and reach between the ears and grasp the crown. If you can pull the crown piece over the ears. You did not adjust the muzzle properly”. We like the Best Friend Muzzle because it has safety features built into the muzzle. The deluxe muzzle has a buckle set to break at a point the the horse will not be injured. Note that this only breaks if the horse pulls straight back. The muzzle is shipped with one extra buckle. If however, the horse catches the basket and all the pressure is applied to the side walls then the break point is quite a bit stronger but it will still break. This is not the fault of the muzzle because if it did not break you could have an injured horse. Be sure that are no large tree limbs or other items in the turn out area that can snag the muzzle. Even the turn back of bucket bails can be dangerous. Plain halters get caught so a muzzle certainly will find something to get caught on if pastures are not made safe.
Some people like the Standard Grazing Muzzle. This Muzzle does not come with a built in halter. Most people will purchase a breakaway halter with a leather crown. Just be sure that the fit of the halter also is correct. Muzzle should rarley come off if adjusted to fit properly Recently the Best friend Have a Heart Muzzle was introduced for those horses that are harder to fit. This would be horses with less prominent jaws. There is an adjustable V band that helps keep the muzzle level or at a 90 degree angle to the horses face. This stops the tipping which usually leads to the muzzle hanging around the horses neck. There is also an adjustable T on the front of the muzzle this is for the horse that standard sizes just do not fit well. It can be opened up to allow more space around the face. Another feature of the Have A Heart Muzzle is that there is more air space.
Best Friend Muzzle offers 3 styles and lots of sizes from Mini Mini to draft horse so fitting should never be a problem.
When you first put the muzzle on, and for many horses each time you put it on, give them a small treat usually placing it inside the muzzle or giving it after the muzzle is over the nose. Show them some nice grass so they learn to eat quickly. Be sure to check that they are drinking water and that the muzzle will fit into an automatic waterer.