Overweight horse? Find out if a grazing muzzle could help

With the autumn flush of grass coming through and weight management a pressing issue, the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) has released guidance on how to use grazing muzzles responsibly.

Muzzles often cause controversy for horse owners, making it difficult for them to know if, how and why to use them.

This video is designed to help owners decide if a grazing muzzle is the right choice for their horse, and if so, how to introduce one, how to fit one and how to monitor one on your horse or pony.

“Because their impact on horse welfare is not fully understood, there is real concern amongst horse owners about the use of grazing muzzles,” says Nic de Brauwere, chairman of NEWC.

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“While many of our NEWC member organisations are able to use other weight management options, these alternatives don’t exist for many horse owners,” adds Nic.

“This leaves a gap where controversy over the equipment can escalate, identifying a real need for evidence-based and impartial advice.

“NEWC and its member organisations have produced this guidance based on the best evidence currently available; to help owners understand the potential risks and benefits of using grazing muzzles whilst being aware of potential alternatives that all contribute to weight control in their horses.”

Grazing muzzles have their place to help control weight, but owners may leave it too late to use them or use them inappropriately. NEWC members regularly receive enquiries regarding the use of grazing muzzles so this guidance and video have been produced in response.

NEWC joined forces with Blue Cross, HorseWorld, The British Horse Society and Redwings Horse Sanctuary to produce the guidance, with assistance from the British Equine Veterinary Association, The Donkey Sanctuary, Professor Pat Harris, Dr Annette Longland and Dr Teresa Hollands.

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