Owner’s shock as couple remove laminitic mare’s grazing muzzle to feed her bread

An owner was shocked after a couple removed her laminitic mare’s grazing muzzle and fed her bread on private land.

Tracy Lovett from West Wickham had been turning out her 10-year-old cob mare Lily, who she has owned since birth, with a grazing muzzle for an hour a day after she was diagnosed with laminitis in July. On 10 August a man and woman were discovered feeding her in the field.

Tracy told H&H: “Lily spent a month in her stable and then my vet said she could start going out for an hour on grass with a grazing muzzle. This is the first time she has ever had laminitis – she was found to have arthritis in her neck as a four-year-old when I started to back her so she had to be retired. Because of the arthritis she can’t be lunged or long-reigned to help get the weight off so she needs to wear a muzzle.

“Ryan, the farmhand, spotted a commotion in the mares’ field and saw a man and woman feeding Lily. Ryan went over to them and found they had three empty bags of sliced white bread.”

Tracy said the pair had removed Lily’s field-safe headcollar and grazing muzzle so they could feed her.

“The couple came onto the farm and let themselves into the field – there are no public paths or roads near the field, they were on private property. Ryan asked what they were doing and the man said they love horses and had taken the muzzle off so they could feed her.

“Ryan told them Lily needed the muzzle because she had laminitis, which he explained was like a human having diabetes and too much sugar can be bad, but the man still didn’t understand what they had done was wrong,” she said.

“Ryan came and got me and I stayed with Lily until 9pm to watch for signs of colic, but luckily she was ok.”

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Tracy posted about the incident on Facebook and received hundreds of replies from people who have experienced similar incidents.

“I was shocked at how common this is and how often it’s happening. People have had muzzles cut off with knives, fly masks removed, grass cuttings and potato peelings emptied in fields – it’s unbelievable,” she said.

“People don’t realise horses are wearing muzzles for a reason. They shouldn’t be feeding someone else’s horse – it could kill them. I would like to see some kind of public awareness campaign to get the message out there to people that you can’t just feed horses; they could be on a special diet or they could start fighting with each other if they’re fed while in a group in a field.”

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