Grazing muzzle info, tips & tricks??
Decided a grazing muzzle is a necessary and hopefully effective measure for my pony. Wanting to get other's info, tips, opinions, etc?
I've been keeping my guys on a track setup around the outside of a 4 acre paddock, making 'lanes' into it for strip grazing small amounts at a time. This had been working well.... until a friend's mare(no longer there) pushed my pony through the electric fence into the middle lush acres. So he's now learned that so long as he's quick, it's well worth braving the electric fence to get to the greener side!! I've now got 2 & 3 heights of tape on the fence - my big houdini boy doesn't dare! - and the blooming pony still gets through!
My main concern about the muzzle(& reason it's a last resort) is that I don't reliably get up there once a day, let alone twice a day(there is someone there to keep an eye out & tell us if horses need attention BTW), so was considering using it 2 days on, 2 off. I could be *almost* reliable at once a day if absolutely necessary tho, for day on, day off. I believe they're generally not appropriate to leave on long periods because they can rub. Do you think 2 days, allowing for a 2 day break in between is likely to cause drama(I appreciate this is a subjective question, just wanting experiences), and can you tell me what design may be most comfortable & least likely to rub? Perhaps lining it with neoprene or such? He's a 12.3hh welsh mountain, so not sure how much size would come into it too.
Also concerned about the size of the hole in the bottom. It seems tiny & I suspect if he gets too hungry/frustrated, he's smart & persistent enough to get rid of it! What are people's view on the hole size? Perhaps it's fine, or perhaps I can cut it a little bigger anyway?
And lastly, I have just recently tried an old grazing muzzle on him, which I thought would be good to get him desensitised to in my presence before the real deal - this one has part of the rubber worn away at the nose, so doesn't restrict grazing much at all! Don't know what size it is, but it fits loosly, but not baggily around his nose & I did it up so that the base hung about 1/2" below his lips.
So I've put it on him a few times now while supervising. As expected, he wasn't pleased & tried headshaking & rubbing it to get rid of it to begin with. I just worked to distract him with games, treats when he was quiet, ensured he was not fidgeting when I came to take it off, etc. Thought this was going well & he was settling down. Yesterday was the first time I walked away while he was wearing it.... for only a few minutes. Came back & it was off his nose, hanging around his neck!! HMPF! Hope that hasn't taught him to be good only in my presence.... like he pretends butter wouldn't melt with the going through fences business! Has anyone got any tips to help me desensitise him & keep the thing on him? Was thinking of a strap running up the front of it to the poll....