I don’t wanna be a mean muzzling mom

This topic contains 12 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by PiaffeNPassage PiaffeNPassage 4 years, 6 months ago.

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  • Faster Than a Vette Original Poster Faster Than a Vette
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 0

    My barn owner just had ‘the talk’ with me because my horse is slightly overweight but still on pasture. She said if I want to continue to turn him out with his buddies on grass he’ll have to wear a muzzle. I would feel horrible putting such a contraption on his face! Is there anything else I can do to keep him from eating so much while grazing? I don’t want him to hate me!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 21

    Honestly…suck it up. Would you rather muzzle a horse or deal with laminitis? I’ll answer that for you…you would rather muzzle. I have all my easy keepers muzzled. Yes there is a day or two of depressed horses but they get over it and are just fine. Look at the Tough-1 Easy Breathe muzzle (available at Chicks and Big D’s as far as I know). The hole is slightly bigger than the Best Friends version and there are openings for the nostrils so you don’t get that lovely Darth Vader sound effect going on. Price is also a bit cheaper. I’ve found the horses adjust to these quicker than the Best Friends kind.

    Otherwise? Drylot with a small hole hay net. Sorry, no other options.

    Sundance Acres
    home to 6 overly spoiled, fat, shiny, adorable horses, and 4 cute barn kitties

    analise analise
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 10

    What SAcres said. It’s not mean to do what you need to do to limit your horse’s intake of food. While you can limit how much hay they eat without a muzzle (like using a slow feeder net)…you can’t tell the horse, “no, don’t eat all the grass you want even though you’re surrounded by its deliciousness.”

    My horse is an easy keeper and out on pasture 24/7. He’s got a grazing muzzle at the ready if necessary and I’ve also had the BO cut back on how much regular food he gets.

    max max
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    I totally agree with SAcres and Analise. Your horse will not take it so personally as to think you are mean. And even should he, SO WHAT!?!? You do not want to deal with obesity related issues. He would be happier with a muzzle turned out with his friends than on a dry lot, alone with limited dry food, without his friends to control his diet. You could try upping his exercise regime, may really help.

    FadingTwilight FadingTwilight
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 18

    I agree. If you want him to continue his current routine, you’ll either need to muzzle, or pickup the amount of exercise. You’ll have to keep the work consistent and adjust with the changing seasons for this to be effective. It’s definitely easier to muzzle though.


    jmc jmc
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    What the others are saying: Muzzle him. Your horse will not think you are “mean”, or hate you. And you might save his life! Obesity is a major factor for laminitis, founder, and other problems.

    I have an extremely easy keeper, and he has a muzzle on all summer. He eagerly sticks his head in it every time I put it on! The Mrs. Pasture cookie might have something to do with that 🙂 That’s the only time he gets a treat – he eagerly looks for the grazing muzzle when I’m getting ready to turn him out to pasture. I use the Best Friends Deluxe model.

    You might also want to consider taking your horse off grain, if he’s getting a typical sweet feed. It will not be helping.

    FWIW, in addition to the muzzle, my horse gets his hay rationed (weighed), and in a small-hole haynet when he’s in a stall. He also gets NO grain at all, just a little Triple Crown Safe Starch chopped forage, once a day, because he won’t eat his supplements otherwise (if it weren’t for the supps, he’d get only pasture/hay). He gets ridden 2-4x per week. And he’s right at a 5 on the Heineke scale. It takes a lot of work to keep him at a decent weight!

    So, suck it up, and get a grazing muzzle on your boy. It’ll be an adjustment for him, and it might be a battle at first (I went through 3 muzzles the first summer), but stick with it, because the alternatives are Not Good. Also, as others have said, turned out with a grazing muzzle is a lot healthier, mentally and physically, than being turned out in a drylot, or kept in a stall 24/7.

    Proud Partner of Yankee Allstar,
    Rocky Mountain Gaited Horse

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    what’s slightly overweight? 20lbs? 30? Something that is easily fixed with working him for 15-20 minutes daily?

    It would be better to muzzle, then to pull him off pasture for 6+ hours a day. Since once he goes back out, he’s just going to eat the same amount of grass, if not more, as if he was out for 24 hours.

    Also, is he just on pasture or is he getting grain or hay as well?
    If he’s getting either, I would cut him back on his grain. Maybe only give him a scoop if he’s getting supplements, if he’s not getting any supplements, take him off it completely or put him on a low starch grain if you want to give him something.
    If he’s getting hay on top of being out to pasture, ask them to not give him any hay. This will help cut out calories and help him lose weight as well.
    We had a similar situation at our barn, we couldn’t figure out why my moms horse was suddenly gaining weight. Then we found out he was getting hay on top of being out to pasture 24 hours. The barn owners would pull him for 6+ hours a day and then we’d let him out in the evenings, only for him to gain more weight because he was constantly eating. While when he’s out all day he comes and goes with the other boys. Not only was he getting fat, but he was getting a serious attitude and would sometimes swell up because he wasn’t out running and walking the pasture.

    you need to do what’s best for your horse. I would first try to eliminate any EXTRA’s and then move onto the muzzle.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    HuckFinn HuckFinn
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Grazing muzzles aren’t torture devices, I promise. My Morgan wears one to keep his weight in check, and sure, he tried to get it off at first, but he quickly got over it and now I’m honestly not sure he even notices it anymore. Personally, I think it’s more torturous to keep letting him pack on the pounds, which can put him at higher risk for things like arthritis, laminitis, and founder. Just make sure the muzzle fits comfortably (fleeces or moleskin can work wonders!) and then remind yourself every day that you’re doing the right thing for his health, by letting him stay with his pals and get plenty of outside time!

    GuyzNDollz GuyzNDollz
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    You could try putting him out on dirt or sand, but then you’ll need to worry about sand colic, since he’ll probably be scouring the ground for scraps and treats.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 7

    I would like to know what “slightly overweight” actually is. What is his body score? Is he just getting a hay belly or is he actually packing on fat? Has he always been on this pasture? Is he suddenly getting more grain/better hay if he’s stalled at night?

    These are all good questions to ask before putting a grazing muzzle on a horse. My gelding and mare will cycle through a “slightly overweight” size down to a “slightly underweight” size and I would never think to put a grazing muzzle on either of them. I usually cut grain down if I think they are starting to get heavier than preferred.

    Now, if this horse has never been on grass pasture before and is just now packing on pounds, then that is a problem. There could be an easy keeper under there who needs preventative attention to stop too much weight from being gained. In that case, a grazing muzzle may be a good solution.

    I would personally call in a vet’s opinion if you think he is only slightly overweight and see what he/she has to say, and he/she could offer specific advice to changing your horse’s diet and exercise if need be. Sometimes weight is more of an opinion on horses, and if your horse is a different breed than what the barn owner is used to, you may be facing an uphill battle. A vet will provide more unbiased remarks about weight and the horses well-being. My Quarter Horse looks like a tank compared to the skinny, tall Thoroughbreds at the barn, but that doesn’t mean he’s overweight in his own right. You can still easily feel his ribs on his stomach and he’s been like that all summer.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I know you are worried that your horse will think you are being cruel by placing a muzzle on him. And he may act bothered for a few days–or weeks. But in the end, he will adjust and it will help dramatically with his weight, with his risk for laminitis, and other ill-effects like risk of Insulin-Resistance.

    Here are two examples….

    16 months ago, I got a new horse–a Percheron/Standardbred X. In a couple of weeks, he had obvious odd fat-deposits develop on his body. I quickly got a muzzle, but like you, I felt guilty about him wearing it–so he only wore it for half each day. He’d run around after I put it on him, shake his head. I let it get to me. Stupid me. He got so fat even with 1/2 a day muzzle off–he never foundered, but became Insulin Resistant (IR). A pleasant horse developed behavior problems under saddle. After light work, he would buck. After much research, I found that the IR gave him pains in his belly (lactic acid buildup) after just light work. Now I had on my hands an obese horse who developed IR and couldn’t be ridden (bucking) and I could have prevented this all by having him wear the muzzle 24/7.
    To fix this problem, I added magnesium to his diet, but him on a special low carb feed called M-30 (to get the nutrients needed w/o the suger, carbs and weight) and enlisted in 24/7 muzzle use. All in an effort to get his weight down. After enough weight was off him (it took over 1/2 a year and yes, he wore the muzzle through mid-December–the grass still has starches in November!), he began a retraining program in March when I was sure his IR was under control and he wouldn’t have pains in his belly when worked. At first he bucked–anticipating the pain, but then stopped with the help of several pro-riders (he had at this point developed a habit and needed to re-learn a lot). He eventually found that riding did not cause him pain.

    But, I learned my lesson–this April, the muzzle went back on. When out, he wears it all the time. He is still beefy, but not obese. He no longer minds it one bit. It is just something he is used to. He gets regular exercise, and the muzzle cuts out 80% of the grass intake (compared to grazing w/o one). I like this one from Green River Tack (Tough-1 52-976 New Bright Colors Heavy Duty Poly Nylon Gazing Muzzle in neon colors–easy to find in the field). http://greenrivertack.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=2137&osCsid=82f07392fc1e7d210b2d8fefc686611b It is well priced at $24.50 and lasts a long while.

    BTW, my pony with Cushings, also wears a muzzle 24/7 when turned out. Without it, he would not be able to walk (he gets laminitic sooooo easily).

    Lastly, the second example…..A friend of mine keeps her horse 24/7 when turned out on a bare lot–no grass, and feeds a small, controlled quantity of hay. The horse just stands around–nothing to graze. This also works.

    Please try the muzzle and see how many hours your horse needs to wear it to keep his weight down. Also, buy a weight tape to keep track. It really isn’t so bad and not doing so is so much worse! Hope my error helps you!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    p.s. You might also ask your barn manager if she’d be willing to feed him a reduced calorie/starch/sugar grain (and then a small amount). Sweet feed is a no-no, but many pellets also have lots of extra calories that your horse doesn’t need. I use McCauley’s M30 and feed a small amount 1x day. Just enough that he gets the fortified nutrients that the other horses get from regular grain and regular grass allotments (which he can’t have), but not enough to add to his weight battle. This small amount also gives me the opportunity to mix in the supplements he needs (like magnesium–good for many reasons for overweight horses).

    Other brands, such as Purina also offer low carb/low starch alternatives, but I find the McCauley’s M30 has the most protein per small serving (they also have an M10 for less protein). It is a similar cost to other quality grains, so it shouldn’t run your barn manager extra expense over her other boarders.

    PiaffeNPassage PiaffeNPassage
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 25

    For his health, you are going to want to either do the muzzle, evaluate the diet in the hay amount/type and grain department, or start working him harder.

    Even if he does start wearing the muzzle you could always do it for portions of the day or something…maybe not the whole time depending on how his weight responds.

    Owned by Imperious 1997 ArabXFriesian Gelding

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