Grazing Muzzle Question
 
 

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Grazing Muzzle Question

This is a discussion on Grazing Muzzle Question within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Should i use a grazing muzzle for my overweight horse
  • How many muzzle does a horse have

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    06-23-2012, 10:21 PM
  #1
Foal
Grazing Muzzle Question

Hey All-

Since the grass has come in this Spring, I have kept a grazing muzzle on my overweight gelding for about 12 hours per day. Despite the grazing muzzle, he continues to gain weight. He is even forming a little bit of a cresty neck, which has me concerned.

I have always had hard keepers in the past and have never had to use grazing muzzles. Is it okay to leave the grazing muzzle on him all the time?

Thanks for your help!
     
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    06-24-2012, 04:40 AM
  #2
Trained
You're right to be worried, if he's so overweight already & still gaining! Not advised to muzzle 24/7, but some horses seem OK with it. Rubbing is a big issue with muzzles. I also don't like the idea of them being muzzled when not supervised/checked frequently. If the muzzling doesn't work, you'll need to keep him off that grass & feed hay that's been soaked in clean water for a few or more hours & drained, to leach out a lot of the sugars. Grass loses many nutrients when it's cut/dried, but unfortunately, sugar isn't one of them.
     
    06-24-2012, 05:30 AM
  #3
Weanling
Like loosie said, make sure the halter isnt rubbing. If you are worried about him getting caught on something, you can buy 'field' headcollars which snap under a certain amount of pressure, but if the muzzle doesn't attatch to a headcollar this doesn't really help :/ Is there anywhere he can be left without access to grass, like a dirt pen? You could put him in there with a small hole(/2 haynets-one inside the other) haynet, and soak the hay too.

How much of a crest does the horse have? Some horses naturally have a slight crest. Also look at fat stores behind the shoulder, fat across the back and rump, and fat stores above the dock. Body Condition Scoring of Horses this site seems quite useful :)
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    06-24-2012, 09:46 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Ditto not keeping the muzzle on 24/7.

It does sound to me as if the vet needs to look at him. Draw blood to check insulin/glucose levels and even though I hate saying this, your horse might be a candidate for Thyro-L.

I don't like messing with that stuff. It's like Prednisone in that the horse has to be backed off it gradually, once they lose weight. They do lose weight but, I don't know if they keep the weight off

But if he's still gaining weight, he needs help beyone the grazing muzzle.

The only other thought, that I hate equally as much as Thyro-L, would be to build a big dry lot for him and monitor his hay intake; if building a dry lot is even feasible. If you're in a boarding situation, it isn't.

With a dry lot, you could make several piles of hay along the rail of the dry lot so he has to move to get hay.

They can eat hay thru the grazing muzzle, as long as you pull the flakes apart in "finite detail". Two of my four are in grazing muzzles. I have been putting hay in the shade below the barn every day.

I make 6 - 8 small piles out of four flakes and carefully pull all of it apart so the muzzled horses can get hold of it. They wear the Tough-1 Easy Breath muzzles so the feeding holes are a tad bigger, making it easier to get the hay. It's a dark comedy watching that hay go up thru the muzzle hole, looking for all the world like horse spaghetti
     
    06-24-2012, 03:46 PM
  #5
Yearling
I have a question. If you don't leave the muzzle on 24/7 on a 24/7 pasture keep horse how is the muzzle having any affect whatsoever? I mean the minute you take it off and let him go in the field he's going to eat like a pig there for taking away any affect the muzzle is going have in the first place.
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    06-24-2012, 06:00 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggy    
I have a question. If you don't leave the muzzle on 24/7 on a 24/7 pasture keep horse how is the muzzle having any affect whatsoever? I mean the minute you take it off and let him go in the field he's going to eat like a pig there for taking away any affect the muzzle is going have in the first place.
Daytime is when the muzzle gets left on due to the high content of sugars/starches in the grass, and that includes drought grass.

Night time grazing is safer for turnout because the sugars are much lower in the grass. That doesn't mean it's the complete answer to the grass intake issue. It just means muzzles were not meant to stay on horses perpetually, 24 hours a day and night time is the safer option to turn them out, if they can't be locked in for part of the day.

The muzzles should also be washed before they go back on the horse; there's a lot of snot and dirt gunk in there that I sure wouldn't want my nose to hit up against the next day
     
    06-24-2012, 06:36 PM
  #7
Yearling
I don't see how theres a different amount of sugar in the grass just because its night time. That doesn't make much since. Plus most ppl like myself aren't able to get to the barn every day. So taking it on and off everyday wouldn't be an option. Im asking all these question because my horse Shaggy and another horse I'm rehabbing are getting way to off of grass. I was thinking about getting them grazing muzzles.
     
    06-24-2012, 06:44 PM
  #8
Trained
http://www.safergrass.org/pdf/nfcfactors.pdf

It's fairly well established that grass has higher sugar levels in the afternoon. It is because sunlight is used in the process that produces the sugar, and being in the sun all day means the grass has a lot of sugar stored up.
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    06-24-2012, 06:47 PM
  #9
Trained
I have heard in the past that if you leave a grazing muzzle on only part of the time, they will make up for the "lost time" when the muzzle is off. So, since I have 2 fatties, one is out only at night, and has the grazing muzzle on while out. The other is on pasture board and has his muzzle on 12 hr a day, and the rest of the time is in a paddock with very little grass.....like a drylot, sort of. It works. I will say that I hate the rubs they get from the muzzles. Makes me feel bad.
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    06-24-2012, 08:38 PM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggy    
I don't see how theres a different amount of sugar in the grass just because its night time. That doesn't make much since. Plus most ppl like myself aren't able to get to the barn every day. So taking it on and off everyday wouldn't be an option. Im asking all these question because my horse Shaggy and another horse I'm rehabbing are getting way to off of grass. I was thinking about getting them grazing muzzles.
Re sugars in grass, it's photosynthesis that produces them, so the more sunlight the higher the sugar - hence late afternoon is when sugars are highest. Grass uses those sugars overnight to grow(unless it's frosty or such), so generally as the night wears on, sugar levels ebb, making sugar levels lowest in early morning.

Re not getting there every day, I do believe this is not the best situation to choose a grazing muzzle for, but I have, being in a similar situation & found it was fine for the pony... until he worked out how to get it off! but not for the horses - regardless of lining with sheepskin, cutting bits to make it looser, etc, my horses got terrible rub sores if they were left on for too long at a time.

While I don't like the idea of 'dry lot' in the way most tend to do it - small paddock - if possible to do, I find a track setup a great way for keeping horses & restricting grazing.
     

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