GOOD MUZZLE FIT
muzzles are a great way to limit your horse's grass intake, while allowing him to roam the pasture with his buddies and get
more exercise and eliminate boredom. Using them up to 12 hours a day, combined with a dry lot is a great way to keep ponies
trim and prevent grass related laminitis. This month, I'm going to illustrate what is a good fit, in my experience.
muzzles are just round baskets with a small circular hole at the bottom, and work just fine. My favorite model is "Easy
Breathe" by Tough 1. There are nostril holes for the the horse to be able to breathe. Which seems more comfortable and
not as hot. Some horses that snort and fuss over the the traditional baskets do better with the Easy Breathe. Or, you can
cut part of the basket that covers the nostrils. That part doesn't hold it on, or affect the usefulness of the muzzle, but
be sure the edges are smooth when you cut it so it doesn't catch on things.
Making sure the muzzle isn't
too big is important. If it is, it will flop and rub on the horse. If it's too small, it will be easy for your horse to rub
One other thing I found, is to check that
the hole in the bottom actually lines up with the mouth. I had a pony that rubbed herself raw, but never got grass. I checked,
and she has a big upper lip, and the hole wasn't lined up for her mouth. I cut the hole bigger and now it lines up with her
mouth. The larger hole still limits grass intake. The goal is not to eliminate eating, just slow it down. Now, the mare
doesn't rub her face raw and she's quite happy to put it on, as she knows she gets out of the dry lot for a while. See the
pictures for illustration of the modified hole and how it fits this mare.
CLICK ON ANY PICTURE
First picture group is of good
fit, pictures at the bottom are of imporoper fit.
|NO LARGE GAPS BETWEEN MUZZLE AND FACE TO RUB
|SNUG FIT IS LESS APT TO CATCH ON SOMETHING
WHAT DOES POOR MUZZLE FIT LOOK LIKE?
Poor muzzle fit is one
that is too large, with obvious gaps along the face and around the nose. This could be dangerous-in the pasture things like
tree branches or a fence post could get tangled easier if your horse scratches. The muzzles are designed to break free in
that event, but then the muzzle is off and you chance the horse getting too much to eat. Better avoid it needing to breakaway
in the first place. Also, if they are too big, they tend to rub your horse's face more and create raw spots. If your horse
is a bit between sizes, go one size up, and add fleece padding or vetwrap to cushion the basket nosepiece and where
there are gaps.
If a muzzle is
too small, it will come off easily. A crafty horse will be able to rub his nose on the ground and pop the muzzle basket off
his chin and then flip the rest over his head. My pony mare used to do this before I went one size up. Also, the basket top
will put pressure on the nostrils, which would not be comofortable for breathing.
you adjust the muzzle?
muzzle is quite easy. There are usually two sliding buckles on either side of the face. Adjust them so that the basket just
touches your horse's lip at the bottom.Try to make them even so the muzzle hangs evenly on the face. If it hangs too
low, it will rub more and could come off. The basket should be snug , almost or just touching the face on the sides
and front, but not pinching. The top of the basket should be above the horse's notril holes, preferable just below where a
halter nose band would be.
the throat strap (has the metal snap) with the sliding buckle, so it keeps the poll strap from working forward
into your horse's eyes.
there is a connector from the throat strap to the basket (under the chin). Make sure it helps hold the basket snug on the
mouth. This also minimizes rubs or the chance of it coming off. There is a Velcro attachment on the poll strap. That is more
for on/off than for adjustment, but if your horse has a long head, you can provide more length by adjusting this some, but
I would use this as the last place for adjusting. I find I don't need to undo it to take it off. I just undo the throat snap
and slip over my pony's ears, but if your horse is ear shy, you can undo the top.
|POOR FIT-HOLE DOES NOT LINE UP WITH MOUTH
|THIS MUZZLE BASKET IS TOO BIG