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When we want to reduce our horses’ grass intake, we keep him in a stall. However, we intend to start turning him out in the pasture with a grazing muzzle. Before I dive too deep into the advantages of grazing muzzles here are my choices for best grazing muzzles:
|TGW RIDING Horse Grazing Muzzle||All in One grazing muzzle with large holes in front for easy breathing||Standard||Click Here|
|Tough-1 Delux Easy Breathe V Grazing Muzzle Horse||Nylon web muzzle/halter, combination. Padding at the crown and jaw line||Standard||Click Here|
|Intrepid International Best Friend Have a Heart Muzzle||Adjustable noseband for hard to fit horses. V-Strap secures the muzzle making it near impossible for horses to slip out of it||Standard||Click Here|
|GREENGUARD Grazing Muzzle, size 5 Horse, Black||Limits grass intake as much as a traditional basket muzzle while being much more comfortable, lightweight, and cooler for the horse.||Muzzle only||Click Here|
|Harmany Grazing Muzzle- Horse||Customizable and forms to your horse's head shape to limit the amount of grass intake. Durable. Kevlar fibers make it tough and long-lasting.||Muzzle only||Click Here|
|Shires Deluxe Grass Muzzle||It has fleece wool padding and is fully adjustable and comes with field safe fastenings||Standard||Click Here|
|Prairie Horse Supply Deluxe Comfort Lined Grazing Muzzle, Heavy Duty Waffle Neoprene with Chin and Neck Pads,||Designed for comfort. The Waffle basket is lined and the neck strap is adjustable and padded for comfort||Standard||Click Here|
Many horse owners keep their horses stalled to prevent overgrazing and excessive weight gain, but restricting horses to a stall has negative implications. A grazing muzzle might be what’s needed to control grazing while still allowing pasture time.
The best grazing muzzles limit a horses’ grass intake, are durable, and don’t cause sores or infection from rubbing. A grazing muzzle also needs to fit correctly and is not easy for your horse to remove.
Note: I ordered a new grazing muzzle, the Flexible Filly Grazing Muzzle, to try. Once we test it, I’ll write a review. It looks like a really great product that’s easy to use and comfortable for the horses.
The very best grazing muzzles for horses.
The Intrepid International is a standard grazing muzzle, with an adjustable strap that helps to keep it in place. It isn’t rough on your horse’s nose, but you still need to keep an eye on the spots where the grazing muzzle touches your horse.
Overall this is a nice grazing model and it’s priced reasonably.
The TGW grazing muzzle is made of durable poly/nylon, and it outlasts many of the higher-priced muzzles. The downside is the material is stiff.
The muzzle allows adequate airflow with large openings on the side. It hole the horse eats through is small and definitely limits intake.
The Tough 1 easy breathe grazing muzzle is the most popular muzzle used in my area. What makes it so popular is the design allows for easy adjustments. If you need to tighten or use on different sized horses.
Tough 1 is also offered for sale at a lot of the local feed stores. Overall the Tough 1 muzzle works well and doesn’t restrict airflow.
The Shire Deluxe muzzle is a great option for horses that tend to develop problems wearing grazing muzzles. These come with wool padding around the muzzle and chin.
The Shire muzzle is adjustable and has a D-ring so you can attach a lead rope. My problem with the muzzle is that the padding is too hot for some areas in the summer.
They also take patience to get on your horse. But overall, for the price and protection, it is a bargain. If you order the Shire double-check to make sure you are ordering the correct size for your horse, they make multiple sizes.
Prairie Horse Supply Deluxe Comfort Lined Grazing Muzzle, Heavy Duty Waffle Neoprene with Chin and Neck Pads
The Prairie House Supply grazing muzzle is a handy model. It comes with two soft halter pads, it’s easy to get on and off your horse, and it’s useful in limiting grazing.
Yet, it is made with durable material and isn’t easy for horses to remove. Overall this is a very user-friendly grazing muzzle that should last.
The best one-piece grazing muzzles
This muzzle is almost perfect; it’s lightweight, doesn’t rub, and allows plenty of air to pass so your horse doesn’t get too hot. The downside, it isn’t durable. These muzzles wear out in a short time and if you have a horse that’s rough on his gear then don’t waste your money on the Greenguard.
The following muzzles are good one-piece models:
If it fits your horse correctly, it has all the advantages you want in a grazing muzzle, light, airy, and doesn’t rub. However, it is difficult to adjust to some horses. Overall the Harmany Grazing Muzzle serves its purpose well and is durable.
Each of the ones I recommend is rated over four stars on Amazon. Here are the links to Amazon customer review pages so you can read for yourself what hundreds of other horseman have to say:
- Shires Deluxe Grass Muzzle: customer reviews
- Best Friend Have a Heart Muzzle: customer reviews
- GREENGAURD Grazing Muzzle: customer reviews
Types of grazing muzzles.
Not every grazing muzzle is best for your horses. There are a variety of grazing muzzle styles and it’s unlikely you’ll find one type that fits all our horse’s needs.
You should try different ones before settling on one particular style. You always want to consider your horse’s best interest when choosing any equine product. There are a couple of basic models with brand-specific variations.
And a paramount consideration when choosing a grazing muzzle is the climate. For example, airflow is of paramount importance in hot, humid areas. We’ve researched the models we think are the best grazing muzzles.
Standard grazing muzzles
Standard grazing muzzles are made of plastic and nylon. The base is made of hard plastic and is attached to nylon webbing. They can be purchased as an all-in-one unit, which includes a halter or just the muzzle.
Standard grazing muzzles are usually heavier than one-piece units, and horses tend to chew through the plastic in a few months.
One-piece molded muzzles
One-piece molded muzzles rarely cause sores because these muzzles hang down, away from the horse’s mouth. These models are made from one piece of molded material, such as plastic or kevlar.
Traditionally they are more expensive but offer benefits not found in standard muzzles; they allow better airflow and are less likely to cause sores from rubbing.
A one-piece muzzle weighs less and allows better airflow than a traditional grazing muzzle. However, they cost considerably more. It is vital that whatever grazing muzzle you choose, be sure it can break away under pressure.
Why use a grazing muzzle?
Grazing muzzles limit the amount of grass a horse eats
In the mid-’90s, it was unusual to see grazing muzzles used outside of the horseracing industry. However, today, they are used by horse owners in just about every discipline.
Grazing muzzles help manage a horse’s diet when it’s turned out in a pasture. Before the advent of grazing muzzles, horse owners kept their horses in a stall to control their grass intake.
Grazing muzzles consist of webbing material formed in a basket shape that fits over a horse’s mouth. The muzzle allows minimum grass to be accessible to the wearer through a small hole at the bottom of the contraption.
A horse owner doesn’t have many options when it comes to preventing their horses from overgrazing. They can either confine a horse to its stall or use a grazing muzzle.
Time spent outside of a stall is healthy for horses
Stall confinement is the most common method of restricting a horse’s grass intake, but it has some adverse side effects, such as boredom, loneliness, and lack of free exercise.
Grazing muzzles are the better option for a variety of reasons:
- horses can move freely and get exercise;
- helps prevent boredom and associated conditions such as cribbing;
- horses can socialize with other horses; and
- horses can still eat small amounts of grass;
But is it essential to limit the amount of grass a horse eats? Yes. Controlling a horse’s diet is about more than just weight loss; there are other health risks associated with overeating, such as colic and laminitis. Horses that overeat are prone to develop numerous health problems.
Overeating grass can lead to obesity in horses.
A horse most certainly can overeat grass. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase eat like a horse, well horses, especially in a pasture full of rich grass, often eat way more than they should. And overeating grass leads to obesity in horses.
A horse allowed free range can consume 25 lbs of grass in a day. This amount of grass consumption greatly exceeds their recommended caloric intake, without accounting for any feed or hay it may be receiving.
Obese horses are prone to develop adverse health issues
Even with exercise, a horse eating too much grass leads to excess weight and possible obesity. Overweight horses are prone to adverse health consequences, such as:
- Increased stress on the heart and lungs
- Higher incidents of laminitis or founder
- Increased risk of orthopedic problems in growing horses
- More strain on feet, joints, and limbs
- Less efficient cooling of body temperatures
- Dangerous fat build-up around essential organs
- Reduced reproductive efficiency
- More considerable lethargy and more easily fatigued
Incorporate exercise into your horse’s weight loss plan
If your horse is overweight, you not only need to manage your horse’s grazing, you also need to maintain its feed intake and start a regular exercise program.
It is vital for your horse’s health that you make gradual changes to both its exercise and feeding routine. A lower-calorie diet and an increase in exercise will result in weight loss for your horse.
The proper use of grazing muzzles is an effective method to combat obesity. Click here to read an in-depth study equine obesity, causes, effects, and prevention.
Just like in a person, use increases metabolism and burns more calories. When a horse has fewer calories available for energy, its body will burn fat reserves as fuel. Click here to read our article about overweight horses.
The use of grazing muzzles isn’t cruel.
Problems with grazing muzzles
Grazing muzzles can cause sores
Sores and infections caused by muzzles are the most prevalent problem. Many muzzles are designed to fit tightly, resulting in the material rubbing a horses’ nose and chin when it chews.
The constant rubbing in these areas causes chafing sores, and sometimes the sores become infected. It is best to add sheepskin are other soft material inside the muzzle where it contacts the horse.
Grazing Muzzles trap moisture and germs
Dirt and debris are often trapped inside a muzzle. The foreign material can cause friction and irritation resulting in cuts and scrapes on the horse’s nose and chin.
The muzzle also traps moisture and creates heat, which can lead to bacteria growth and infection. The webbing of the muzzle gets wet when horses drink. Depending on the climate, the damp strap could become a breeding ground for undesirable bacteria.
Grazing muzzles restrict airflow
Most grazing models provide wide webbing; however, some muzzles cover a horse’s nostrils and restrict airflow, which results in breathing deficiency.
Muzzles secured close to a horse’s nostrils can cause issues for horses with heaves. When choosing a grazing muzzle for your horse, consider airflow. This Tough-1 grazing muzzle is explicitly designed to allow better airflow.
Grazing muzzles can get hung up on a fence post.
There are also concerns about muzzles getting hung up or caught on fixed objects like fence posts. If the muzzle is made of sturdy nylon without a breakaway mechanism, a horse could be severely injured.
If you can fit more than two fingers, the muzzle is too loose and could be pulled off and is prone to get snagged. A muzzle fit too tightly will cause rashes or sores. Consider buying a breakaway grazing muzzle.
These muzzles allow a horse to pull free if the muzzle gets caught. Click this link to check out a hardy stand-alone breakaway muzzle by Best Friend.
Grazing muzzles aren’t cruel and can be a beneficial tool to help control overgrazing in horses. However, there are some problems associated with grazing muzzles. Most can be remedied by ensuring the muzzle is fitted correctly on the horse.
How tight should a grazing muzzle be?
A grazing muzzle should not fit tight. The muzzle should be about one inch from your horse’s mouth, and allow enough space for you to place two fingers between the horses’ face and the muzzle.
If you find abrasions treat the sores and take steps to avoid contact in these areas the next time you fit your horse with its muzzle. Also, wash the grazing muzzle between uses with a mild antibacterial soap.
How much does a horse eat with a grazing muzzle?
It depends on the length of the pasture grass, the type of grazing muzzle, and the muzzle’s fit. Generally, grazing muzzles reduces a horse’s grass intake by approximately one third. A one-third decrease in grass consumption allows a horse to slowly and safely decrease its body weight.
How long should a horse wear a grazing muzzle?
A horse should not stay in a grazing muzzle for more than 12 hours a day. Leaving a horse in a grazing muzzle too long would be cruel and can lead to a host of health issues, such as infection, dehydration, or excessive weight loss. Always remove a grazing muzzle daily.
Can horses drink while wearing a grazing muzzle?
Horses can drink with grazing muzzles on Most muzzles are designed to allow horses to drink and the excess water to drain from the bottom of the muzzle.
Some grazing models drain too slow and water stays in the muzzle longer than it should. If this occurs frequently, a horse will avoid drinking and become dehydrated.