Agriculture and farming practices have greatly improved and enhanced grass and hay quality for our beloved equine partners. With these upgrades, it is important to consider the nutritional differences and how they will impact horses’ digestion and metabolic conditions. Horses’ digestive tracts were designed to constantly be taking in forage, but some horses may require a grazing muzzle to ensure optimal consumption during the grazing season.
Grazing muzzles are a tool to help horse owners with decreasing or maintaining weight in horses turned out on pasture. Using a grazing muzzle allows horses to take smaller bites of the pasture while still eating enough to maintain digestive tract health and wellness. Horses with equine metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease, and easy keeper / overweight horses can all benefit from wearing grazing muzzles.
It is also a useful tool for horses who have laminitis or have foundered in the past. Grazing muzzles offer an effective method for weight loss while still encouraging forage intake and exercise. This allows horses to still spend time in the pasture and graze freely instead of being left in their stall or barn.
Wearing the muzzle can help many horses with pasture access and lush grass maintain proper nutrition, body weight, avoid health issues, and laminitis risk. Kentucky Equine Research suggests that mature ponies especially are at a higher risk for overeating and having other diseases related to obesity, laminitis, and insulin resistance which could be prevented by wearing muzzles.
ThinLine’s Flexible Filly Muzzle offers an adjustable grazing hole size. This feature allows horse owners to make custom changes to their muzzle for optimal horse happiness and health. Ensuring your horse, pony, or donkey’s muzzle fits correctly is key to ensuring turnout time spent in the pasture is pleasant. ThinLine also offers accessories for the grazing muzzle for horse’s optimal comfort like a specially designed breakaway halter and padding.
Grass Intake & Size
Seasonal changes in grass and weed height, softness, and width are correlated with how much grass a horse can eat through specific grazing hole sizes. In the spring the grass is shorter, softer, and full of sugar. In the summer, the grass will likely be higher and thicker than it was in spring. Horses will need a larger hole to access the broader pieces of grass.
Similarly, in the fall, a muzzle with a smaller grazing hole may be necessary to allow your horse to get the proper amount of forage based on the seasonal size of the grass in your horse’s pasture. Having two muzzles, one with a smaller hole size and one with a larger hole size is a great way to ensure the perfect bite of grass and optimal nutrition for your horse’s diet.
The ThinLine Muzzle breaks tradition. It is a new way to think about finding the perfect muzzle for your horse. This muzzle comes in two grazing hole sizes, and either variation can be enlarged with a pair of scissors or a box cutter for a completely customizable option.
ThinLine suggests having the best practice in place of monitoring the thickness and length of your grass and using a smaller muzzle hole size for restricted grazing on shorter, stubbier blades and a full-size hole for longer, thicker blades of grass.
This moderates the amount of grass your horse consumes without overeating while alleviating the annoyance of not being able to eat properly when the grass is at a less consumable length.
Why This Grazing Muzzle?
ThinLine’s grazing muzzle is incredibly lightweight, comfortable and will never rub or cause pressure points on a horse’s face. It encourages social behaviors like grooming other horses, and horse owners never have to worry about their horse drinking. This grazing muzzle can be used with traditional water tubs and automatic waterers. The air flow and UV protection are added bonuses.
As always, before making any changes to your horse’s routine, contact your veterinarian for advice about your horse’s forage intake, pasture condition, weight, and other specific needs.