Grazing muzzle confusion - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Grazing muzzle confusion

I got my laminitic mare a grazing muzzle on the suggestion of the vet and farrier. I guess I'm a little confused though, she can't seem to eat at all with it on. I thought they were intended to slow down eating or limit it but not prevent it all together. Does it take them a while to learn how to eat with it on or can they just not eat at all?

The poor girl has never worn one and is very confused right now. On one hand, she gets to go back out into the pasture after over a month of paddock confinement but, on the other hand, she can't eat what she sees. Very unhappy girl

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 02:40 PM
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Yea, it may take a bit for her to get used to it, but it is designed to slow grazing, and take in less grass. She is probably getting more than you think.

You don't leave it on with regular feed, do you? Just grass?
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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I just put it on so she could go out in the pasture. I was going to leave her out for an hour or so to eat a little and then put her back in the paddock and take it off. She's already given up trying to eat grass and went back into the paddock though. It didn't seem like she was getting anything at all.

I feel bad cuz she's 32 and eating was her favorite past time. lol.

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 02:57 PM
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Just keep trying. She should figure it out, eventually. I had that problem with Abby when I first started giving her hay in a slow feeder net. She got SO frustrated, but finally figured it out. It did take a couple days, though.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by aforred View Post
Just keep trying. She should figure it out, eventually. I had that problem with Abby when I first started giving her hay in a slow feeder net. She got SO frustrated, but finally figured it out. It did take a couple days, though.

One of the horses at my old barn got SO upset trying to eat from the bale when it was covered with a slow feeder net. He'd try to take massive bites, fail and pin his ears and paw at it. I ended up pulling a tuft out for him to reach, and he figured it out- it was like a Kleenex box, with each bite more would get pulled out.

Clem, on the other hand, tore a hole in the net and stuck her whole fat face in there every time the net was replaced. *sigh*

Your horse will get used to it. She's just got to figure out how to eat. Maybe you can help? Poke some grass through the hole so she realizes that she could still eat through it?
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Last edited by Shoebox; 06-09-2013 at 03:29 PM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 03:38 PM
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My old lady was similar last summer - at 27, had never worn a muzzle before and did not seem alllll that interested in learning how to use it (I also found that, after failing to get grass a number of times, she pretty much gave up trying at all - I tried making her "deal with it" for a week in hopes that something would click but she never figured it out).

Anyway, so I bought another muzzle (I buy the cheap $14 ones from horse.com and cut out the parts that cover the nostrils, creating a cheap "Easy-to-Breath" muzzle...Lacey's easy enough on it that I haven't had any issues with the cheap-ness part) and, using scissors, doubled the size of the hole in the bottom. She pretty much immediatly figured out how to eat through that (it did take me hand feeding her some grass, but she caught on fast). Her grass intake was restricted but not as much as it would be with the tiny hole. Once she stopped protesting having it put on, I switched her over the original tiny-hole muzzle.

For the first week, she had one day with the tiny hole, one day with the big hole, next with the tiny hole, etc (she started giving up again when I tried to just switch her "cold-turkey"). After a week of that, I was able to successfully switch her totally over to the tiny hole.

Now she has absolutely no issue eating with the tiny hole and her weight is finally at a really good place...it just took her a while. Grazing muzzles are sooooooo confusing, apparently.


[ETA - I'm sure she might have eventually figured it out but I was worried about her not eating for hours on end and being stressed because she couldn't do her favorite thing - eat! I also found that when I brought the grazing muzzle out for the first time this spring, it was useful for her to have an "re-intro" to it with the bigger holed muzzle, just fyi]
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Last edited by Wallaby; 06-09-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 05:37 PM
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it helps if the grass is shorter

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post #8 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 05:47 PM
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^^^Now see, that's something I would have never thought of, but makes perfect sense.
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