Many horse owners ask for expert advice when they find their horses are moving on the heavy side. Their horses may have been stalled overnight with enough hay, grass, and supply of their other ration. During daytime, they may be on pasture with their companions. So, people wonder whether it is ideal to use a grazing muzzle in order to restrict intake and control overweight.
If so, how to effectively introduce it?
The expert answer is that unlimited grazing opportunities throughout the day may surely end up in undesirable weight gain. For those who are looking for an effective an easy solution, grazing muzzles can be ideal for such situations. If fitted correctly, then it can surely help restrict the grass intake and also prevent the horse from unhealthy grazing.
Pasture turnout also has significant benefits in terms of horse health, but it also comes with some drawbacks. Turnout will help to enhance movement and also aids in gastrointestinal health. It helps to maintain low-level fitness and also effective calorie utilization, which is an important consideration in overweight management.
Group turnout also will help to enhance the social interactions of horses which is not possible in standard stall settings. However, experts also point out the downside of it as pasture turnout may also result in uncontrolled forage intake, which leads to additional weight and other health hazards as insulin resistance, equine metabolic symptoms, and laminitis, etc. in some horses. Know more at TVG.
Grazing muzzles have a significant advantage over other weight control measures for horses. Researches have shown that the stabled grazing muzzles turned out on pasture resulted in an 83% decrease in terms of pasture intake over there hours. Some other studies have also shown the same averaging an 80% decrease across the studies. There were more benefits in case of group situations on pasture, especially for the horses which were otherwise stall housed.
Fitting a grazing muzzle
Correct fitting of a muzzle is important. There are many verities of grazing muzzles available in the market and on buying one, be sure that you follow the fitting instructions as specified by the brand to ensure the best results. Pay close attention to the parts which may rub over the muzzles like ears, cheekbones, and the nose bridge, etc. while fitting. Also, make sure that the muzzle is not touching its mouth constantly. There should be a gap of one inch or more at from the tip of the mouth to the muzzle to avoid contact. Also, ensure that the horse can easily open its mouth when the muzzle is on.
Start slowly when you are applying a muzzle. Use pressure and release technique to place it alongside the head of the horse first when it is a relaxed mood. Do this multiple time until the horse feels fully at ease. Then slowly progress to put the muzzles over the nose and repeat it for a few times to get used to.
Reward the horse for its relaxed cooperation with you and then gradually increase the time of muzzle over the nose and ultimately secure the muzzle completely on to the head first for a shorter time period. Try to reward the horse by attempting feedings through the muzzle which reassure the horse that it can eat even with a muzzle on.