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Grazing muzzles – what are your options?


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  • Grazing muzzles can be a highly beneficial tool in the fight to against equine obesity. They can be worn by all horses, not just the chunkier native pony breeds. If used correctly, they can successfully reduce your horse’s grazing intake.

    Scientists in Minnesota, USA, studied four horses grazing in four separate paddocks, each planted with a single grass species. The study, published in 2014, found there was no difference in the quantities of each grass species that the horses could consume through the muzzle. Wearing the muzzle reduced the horses’ dry matter intake by an average of about 30%.

    There are a variety of grazing muzzle styles available. Some muzzles are attached directly to a headcollar, while others are all-inclusive and come as one piece. Jump down to find out more about how to use a grazing muzzle.

    Best grazing muzzles

    Shires GreenGuard muzzle

    Shires GreenGuard muzzle

    Colours: Black | Sizes: Pony – full | RRP: £71.99 |

    This lightweight basket-style muzzle from Shires is durable and UV resistant. It can be attached to a GreenGuard headcollar (available separately), which has an additional front strap to hold the front in place, or your normal headcollar, with four adjustable straps.

    View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, equus.co.uk, naylors.com or ebay.co.uk

    ThinLine Flexible Filly grazing muzzle

    ThinLine Flexible Filly grazing muzzle

    Colours: Black or purple | Sizes: S–L | RRP: £76 |

    This soft, light muzzle from KM Elite attaches to your horse’s normal headcollar. It is constructed of a durable and pliable mould-resistant material that is soft on the teeth and lips. It has UV protection and an adjustable grazing hole size.

    View now at amazon.co.uk, rideawaystore.com or equus.co.uk

    Hy grazing muzzle with fleece

    Hy muzzle with fleece

    Colours: Black | Sizes: Extra-small pony – extra-full | RRP: £18.50

    This non-slip nylon muzzle from Hy has additional fleece padding on the inside to prevent rubbing. It features a rubber base, a double hook and loop fastener on the headpiece, a clip throat lash and a leadrope ring. Also available without fleece.

    View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, rideawaystore.com or equus.co.uk

    Roma grazing muzzle

    Roma grazing muzzle

    Colours: Black or purple | Sizes: Pony – full | RRP: £23.99

    Made from a durable nylon webbing, this muzzle features padding around the nose for comfort, adjustable straps and a quick-release clip on the throat lash.

    View now at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or equus.co.uk

    Best Friend deluxe grazing muzzle

    Best Friend Deluxe grazing muzzle

    Colours: Black | Sizes: Mini – draft | RRP: £42.95

    This muzzle by Best Friend has a built-in breakaway headcollar with five adjustment points. It has a padded noseband and is totally synthetic, so resistant to rot and mildew.

    View now at amazon.co.uk or ebay.co.uk

    Harry’s Horse Air grazing muzzle

    Harry’s Horse Air grazing muzzle

    Colours: Black | Sizes: XS–XL | RRP: £25

    This grazing muzzle from Harry’s Horse is made from soft webbing with a padded nose and quick-release throat lash.

    View now at amazon.co.uk

    EasyGrazer Classic

    Colours: Black | Sizes: S–XL | RRP: £145

    This EasyGrazer muzzle is highly water repellent, breathable and anti-allergenic, with removable and washable neoprene padding. It has a pre-determined breaking point and you can easily replace the rivets yourself.

    Ultimate grazing muzzle

    Ultimate grazing muzzle

    Colours: Blue | Sizes: Small pony – extra-full | RRP: From £28

    This Ultimate muzzle is designed to sit higher at the front to prevent removal. It has a leather head strap and is clip-free to avoid your horse getting caught. Fleece covers are available separately.


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    Why do horses wear grazing muzzles?

    Grazing muzzles are used to restrict grass intake, while allowing your horse to benefit from turnout. They are usually used in conjunction with other measures, such as strip grazing, as part of a weight loss or maintenance plan to protect against equine obesity and other associated problems, such as laminitis. They do not prevent a horse from eating.

    How long should a horse wear a grazing muzzle?

    Grazing muzzles should not be left on 24/7. It’s not recommended that they’re worn for more than 10–12 hours each day, but it’s important to remember that during muzzle-free hours your horse’s grazing or access to forage should be restricted to avoid compensatory eating undoing your hard work.

    Do grazing muzzles work?

    Research studies have found that grazing muzzles can reduce grass intake significantly – one study found an 83% reduction over a three hour period. Another that looked at muzzle use over 10 hours, combined with 14 hours of un-muzzled turnout, and found that weight gain was reduced over a three-week period in most ponies.

    How should I introduce a grazing muzzle?

    It’s important to introduce a grazing muzzle slowly and to make it a positive experience for your horse. How long it takes for your horse to be accustomed to it will depend on his temperament and prior handling experience.

    The National Equine Welfare Council recommends the following steps…

    1. Begin by training your horse to accept the muzzle near his face and then around his nose. Reward relaxed and calm behaviour.
    2. When your horse is accepting, do the muzzle up, leave it on for a few moments and provide a low-calorie treat reward through the muzzle.
    3. Increase the amount of time your horse is wearing the muzzle from seconds to minutes. Graze your horse in-hand to encourage him to try eating with the muzzle on.
    4. Increase the supervised time that your horse wears the muzzle before turning him out with it on. Make sure he is grazing comfortably and is able to drink easily.

    Tips for successfully using a grazing muzzle

    • Take time to introduce your horse to the muzzle
    • Ensure you’ve fitted the muzzle correctly – most come with fitting advice
    • Fence off any potential hazards where the muzzle could become caught
    • Monitor your horse’s weight weekly and conduct a body condition score assessment at least every 2–4 weeks
    • Check for rubbing daily – common areas include on the poll, behind the ears, top of the muzzle, lips, cheek bones and under the chin
    • Ensure your horse’s grazing is restricted when he is not wearing the muzzle to avoid compensatory eating. Common options include stabling or putting him in a bare paddock with soaked hay during this time
    • Check that your horse can manage to eat the grass in his field – grazing that is too long or too short an be difficult to eat through a muzzle

    How do you keep a grazing muzzle on?

    Firstly, make sure your muzzle is fitted correctly. Too tight and your horse may experience discomfort and put more effort into getting it off, but too loose and it’ll be easy to get off. Some owners swear by plaiting the forelock around the headpiece to hold it on, while others loop it through the ears holes of a fly rug. Some horses are particularly efficient muzzle removers, so it might take a bit of trial and error but perseverance is key.


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