Grazing muzzles have become a common piece of equipment in the equine industry. They are being hooked to an ordinary halter and cover the entire muzzle of the horse. One (or more) hole in the bottom ensures a limited grass intake for the horse wearing it. Weight management and/or lowering the risk of laminitis are typically the two reasons to restrict the grass intake with grazing muzzles. Here are a few things to consider and be aware of when putting a muzzle on your horse.
- Proper fit
Muzzles should fit snug around the nose with about two fingers width between the chin and muzzle. While instructions can vary, most manufacturers suggest to have about 1 inch between the bottom of the muzzle and the horse mouth.
- Prevent rubs
On top of the nose or the chin are common areas for rubs to occur from wearing a muzzle. To prevent rubs in these areas, parts of the muzzle can be wrapped in duct tape, fleece or specific muzzle liners.
- Water intake
Small automated waterers or water buckets can make it harder for a horse wearing a muzzle to drink and often have parts that the muzzle can get caught on. Large water troughs are a better and safer choice for muzzled horses.
- Salt intake
The majority of the muzzles will not allow the horse to stick their tongue out, making it impossible for a muzzled horse to lick the salt block. Horses that are muzzled most of the time should have access to a salt lick in their stall. Especially during the summer, when horses sweat more, you might consider adding electrolytes to their diet to make sure their salt needs are met.
Tanja Schnuderl is a member with The Equine Expert LLC, a multi-discipline equine expert witness and consulting firm with expert equestrians offering legal expert witness and consulting services in court cases and legal matters. Tanja is an expert on Barn Management and Horse Behavior. She is the Barn Manager for Moon Rising Farm just outside Washington DC and Principal of Sigma Equine LLC, an equine appraisal business. Tanja grew up in Germany and was a paralegal for many years. For more information on Tanja Schnuderl email email@example.com, www.theequineexpert.com