Grazing Muzzle mechanics???
My mare who I have had almost a year came to me foundered last year on spring grass. I have a small pasture she is loose on always and shares with four goats and two sheep and there isnt a ton of grass but she does graze all day and I am now noticing a crest starting on her neck ugh. She gets free choice grass hay as well but nothing else. I was considering a grazing muzzle for the large portionof the day and I am not remotely familar with them. can anyone explain how they work? Can the horse get any grass at all? How do they drink etc? Just want to fully understand how they work so I can make a decision on whether to get one for her or not? Thanks so much.
There are, roughly, three main types, of which we've used them all at various times.
(i) Hard Bucket. Made of solid plastic with a pair of large holes over the nostrils and a row of small holes on the lower front edge. Web or leather strap over the head.
This type worked well enough on a small pony who learned how to 'dap' the muzzle downwards so grass went in through the small holes (these are really important for drinking and allow the muzzle to drain if it gets full of water - drownings have been known thanks to unventilated muzzles). We found putting in on over a web headcollar worked best because winding the muzzle strap around the headcollar headpiece meant she couldn't get it off, and the weight of the muzzle was taken by the headcollar nose-piece so it didn't rub her.
(ii) Soft Bucket - this is more like a dog muzzle with leather or web straps and a leather or plastic/rubber/composite base. They usually have a central hole in the base and again a strap overhead, but many have a further strap under the jaw because the muzzle's flexibility makes it easier for the horse to remove.
I prefer this type to the plastic bucket but it's more easily damaged by a horse trying to pull it off.
(iii) Grazing Guard - this is a plastic grid which fits over mouth and nose with straps which attach to a standard headcollar, though you can buy a specific headcollar for some makes which works better as it's constructed slightly differently.
I was disappointed in this. The one I tried was expensive, and though the horse didn't wreck it he found it quite easy to get his nose out between the muzzle-piece and it's attachments.
Hope that's some help :)
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