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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Teaching a horse to wear a grazing muzzle

This protocol is not entirely mine, I've adapted it from one I found on a nutrition site, but it seems quite sensible. So if any of you are contemplating using a muzzle to restrict your horse's grazing you might want to try this and let me know how you get on.

Allow yourself and your horse plenty of time for this - several days or a week or more
  • Start with the muzzle and put some food into the bottom
  • Allow your horse to put her head into the muzzle themselves, don't force it on. Give her time to figure out that if she puts her head into the muzzle she will get some food.
  • When your horse has sussed this bit put the muzzle on and put some food through the hole at the bottom.
  • Then at the next session you can take your horse to the grass area and place the muzzle on the horse. Pick some grass and put it up into the hole at the bottom a few times.
  • Then begin to ask your horse to follow this down to the grass but still put some grass into the hole for her. Do this a couple of days.
  • Your horse should start to to put her head down to get the grass you are putting through the bottom.
  • If the above has gone well she should then start to try to get her own grass as you let her search for what you have been putting up into the muzzle.
Don't think the horse can figure it all out by themselves - some will but many will need the help of the above protocol.


Andrea said...

My borderlining-on-genius mare, who could get herself into and out of ANY scrap she could think of without harm, absolutely could not figure out her grazing muzzle. She did, however, figure out how to get it off ;) And when I put it back on repeatedly, she figured out that if she hung herself on the fence by the muzzle (literally, she managed to clip the snap of it onto the wire mesh fence while wearing it), she could completely destroy it and shred it into a million pieces when she pulled back away from it. Genius.

Janine said...

That's very helpful, thanks!!!!

Cheval Noire said...

Thanks for the tips. I have a food inhaling/hoovering/vacuuming, always on the edge of founder, way too good a doer little smarty pants arab who figures everything else out far too quickly except for the grazing muzzle. Going to try your 'method' and see if we can get her to accept it rather than just removing it (she does) after 5 frustrated minutes.

Would it be inappropriate to gaffer tape it to her head if your method fails? (sorry, she really needs to be in the desert where her forebears were, although I'm sure she'd still find something to eat, as she loves mulch and loves to dig up stuff to eat when she gets bored with the surface offerings).

Love your posts. I do endurance in Australia and love reading about other peoples' experiences.

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