Grazing Muzzle Dilemma - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Grazing Muzzle Dilemma

My 26 year old 13 hand pony moved into a big grass field for her retirement in November. She has never been on all grass before (she was on the side of a mountain for most of her life except when stalled) so I want to make sure she doesn't founder.

I have bought a grazing muzzle but I don't know how long it should stay on. I have never used one so if anyone has experience please share.

Unfortunately, even after 6 months, she doesn't truly trust the workers at the barn and I am the only one who can catch her easily (she was abused for 16 years) so i can't depend on someone being able to take it off for short amounts of time.

Please help, I'd rather her not have horrible rubs on her face, but if the alternative is foundering, that's not good either :(

thanks in advance
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 08:07 AM
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Is she out 24/7?
Does she get any grain or feed or is she just on pasture?

The rubs might be coming from an incorrect fit so try it on her and see if you can get pictures.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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She is out 24/7 but I haven't put the muzzle on yet. I'm sorry for the confusion. I am just worried about rubbing because she will have to wear it all the time.

She doesn't get grain, just hay until the grass is fully in. If I don't like her weight or health then i can put her on a little grain.

I'm mainly confused about how long the muzzle should be on. Do I have to use it every year or will one or two help her adjust?
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 09:53 PM
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I live in the southern U.S.(hot and humid summers) and I have a mare that must wear her muzzle. We put it on about 3-4 in the afternoon and take it off in the morning. She is on pasture 24/7, also gets free choice hay but we keep her on a lot that has very little grass. We decided on a plan for her along w/our Vet.
When we first started, she hated it. She pouted and hung her head like, 'not again'.. but she has gotten used to it and pays no attention to it anymore. It's just part of her day. Find a muzzle that fits well and maybe you could work on someone at the barn spending time with her until they can get it on her when you aren't there. Best wishes for success
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 10:03 PM
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It's hard to say without experience, just how many hours per day she'll need a muzzle. We have one who needs it 24/7, and another who only needs it on 12 hrs. a day. IF she's in the same pasture now as she has been since Nov., she may not need it at all. The grass comes in slowly, not all at once, and she may just develop the gut flora to handle it. Things to watch for are excessively wet manure, or weight gain. If you've convinced yourself that she's very likely to founder (or colic), start with the muzzle on 24/7 . It doesn't keep your horse from grazing---just slows down the intake.

Kids and horses----it just doesn't get any better!
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-08-2014, 10:08 AM
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It depends on how much grass/hay she can get through the hole in the muzzle, if she learns to eat through the hole. My donkeys did, in fact they learnt how to enlarge the hole, so I'm constantly having to make it smaller again. With my donkeys (that came to me obese), after two years of using muzzles I have a feeling they need it on most of the time, especially when pasture is lush. In practice I lock them into a "slimming yard" at night with a little roughage, like acacia branches, and let them free-range the pasture with the muzzle on during the day, with an occasional "muzzle holiday", maybe one day a week or fortnight, or an hour during the day, when the pasture is dry. Just monitor the horse's condition, and experiment. It's important not to over-restrict especially at first, but to make changes gradually, like with all feeding.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-08-2014, 10:19 AM
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Unless he is IR give him introduction grazing, let him graze 10-15min. a day extending longer grazing time each day for about a week. He should be use to free grazing by then.
Evening can be the best time to start as there will be reduction of suger by then.
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