How to teach my horse to use a muzzle - tips please?

Tobiano

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I've posted before about not being able to get a muzzle to stay on Bilbo as he scrapes it off on the tree. I've just tried my 3rd brand of muzzle on him to see if it makes any difference and it was off within 5 minutes. I have concluded that he can't work out how to eat any grass through the muzzle and after trying for a while he decides it has to come off (pretty logical really!).

I really would like him to be able to use one as I've had him ACTH tested and it came out at 37.9 which the vet said is 'borderline' - and which I've taken as a warning to get some weight off him pronto.

Any tips on how to teach him to be able to eat with the muzzle on please? My other horses who have needed muzzles just seemed to pick it up themselves after I poked a few grass stalks through the holes for them.
 

Queenbee

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In all honesty, it sounds less like he can't learn how to eat and more that he has learned how to get the muzzle off... not sure if that is re-trainable! If he was keeping the muzzle on but not eating, that would be different, but he has learnt that he can get it off and eat normally - not sure where I would go from there... Can you not look at other WM systems? Paddock Paradise/Track perhaps.
 

Amicus

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My welshie was a master muzzle remover but will tolerate the greenguard muzzle (and the extra throat strap helps stop him getting it off if he stops being tolerant) I made sure he understood how the muzzle worked and had of positive association with it by feeding him through the muzzle and making sure he'd grasped grazing through it before leaving it on him.
 

Tobiano

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In all honesty, it sounds less like he can't learn how to eat and more that he has learned how to get the muzzle off... not sure if that is re-trainable! If he was keeping the muzzle on but not eating, that would be different, but he has learnt that he can get it off and eat normally - not sure where I would go from there... Can you not look at other WM systems? Paddock Paradise/Track perhaps.
Thank you for posting! I originally thought this QB, but watching him today he did make an effort to try and eat through it! And I know I will get slated on here again for saying it, but I have meanwhile been putting a rubber straight bar snaffle on him on a slip head for grazing and he (touch wood, so far) hasn't tried to scrape that off as he can eat ok with it on.

I don't really have the option of track systems at our yard (or anywhere within a reasonable distance of home) so he is getting a lot less time out than I would like. But better than 6 weeks of box rest. :(
 

Tobiano

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My welshie was a master muzzle remover but will tolerate the greenguard muzzle (and the extra throat strap helps stop him getting it off if he stops being tolerant) I made sure he understood how the muzzle worked and had of positive association with it by feeding him through the muzzle and making sure he'd grasped grazing through it before leaving it on him.
Thank you Amicus! I have got a green guard basket but just waiting for the head collar to come in in his size (tried a pony size but too small). I think that looks as though he may be able to eat easier through it than the Shires or the Dinky which are the most recent I have tried.
 

poops

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I use the greenguard on my mare. I have sewn a sheepskin edging around the edges on the muzzle as she used to push it against her face to try to get it off causing rub marks.
I was putting a head collar on top to keep it on. My mare has now got used to wearing it & happily eats through it so we dont need the headcollar on top.
 

Tobiano

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I use the greenguard on my mare. I have sewn a sheepskin edging around the edges on the muzzle as she used to push it against her face to try to get it off causing rub marks.
I was putting a head collar on top to keep it on. My mare has now got used to wearing it & happily eats through it so we dont need the headcollar on top.
Thanks for the tip about the sheepskin - I can get working on that whilst I wait for the h/c to arrive. (The one I have got is literally just a basket and you need the h/c to attach it to).
 

pansymouse

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I use a Tough 1 muzzle (American brand off eBay) on my mare 24/7. Frankly much as I love her she's not always the brightest thing on four hooves but she very quickly worked out how to graze through it. I did start her off with an old one of another brand and cut a larger eating hole so she got the idea. Her cob field mate wears one too and he is a master at getting it off but if it's plaited in with two plaits it usually stays in place.
 

Tobiano

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I use a Tough 1 muzzle (American brand off eBay) on my mare 24/7. Frankly much as I love her she's not always the brightest thing on four hooves but she very quickly worked out how to graze through it. I did start her off with an old one of another brand and cut a larger eating hole so she got the idea. Her cob field mate wears one too and he is a master at getting it off but if it's plaited in with two plaits it usually stays in place.
Thank you! Yes I have got the stanley knife out ready to cut a bigger hole in an old one. Plaiting is out as we are hogged! :)
 

pansymouse

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Thank you! Yes I have got the stanley knife out ready to cut a bigger hole in an old one. Plaiting is out as we are hogged! :)
You need to let a tuft of mane grow around the poll solely for the purpose of being able to plait in your muzzle. It could become a very fashionable look - the reverse bridle pathway :D
 

ester

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dinky ponies are very good at staying on though they do eat through them eventually. I sacrificed our first one with a pair of scissors to cut a hole in the bottom - they are supposed to eat at the sides with it so that he worked out he could eat with something round his nose.
I currently use a shires deluxe but without the overhead padding as it slips off easier then.

Hogged will make it harder to get it to stay on I suspect!

the tough1 looks like the easy breathe PM which you can get over here :)
 

Micky

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As poops says, we put head polar on top of the muzzle for a while until they gave up trying to get them off! We have 4 with muzzles on and 2 had head collars on top, they are now fine without, just takes a bit of perseverance! Worth it in the end..
 

Northern Hare

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My horse (TB x WB with Cushings) refused point blank to try and eat with the Shires muzzle - even after cutting a further four holes in the bottom. He was wasting away as he'd also gone off hard food - he just stood and looked into middle distance looking so miserable.

I tried everything to try and show him how to eat with it by posting grass, polos etc etc through the holes at the bottom. This went on for a couple of weeks but in the end I had to look at other alternatives so I bought a Greenguard, and whilst expensive it's brilliant for my horse - he knew straight away how to graze with it on and has never tried to get it off.

The GG headcollar comes with an extra strap like a throat lash, so you can use that to start with. However, I think once your horse has got the hang of it hopefully he won't try to get it off. I think they allow a lot more air to flow around the muzzle so they don't get so hot and uncomfortable with them on.
 
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