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The horse has evolved as a grazing animal; pasture plays a pivotal role in equine nutrition. Reported intakes of fresh pasture by horses can range from 1.5% to 5.2 % of body weight/day. With such a large intake of pasture possible, can horses over-consume? What components of pasture grass can cause problems if taken in at excessive levels? Pasture has been implicated in the onset of several metabolic disorders in horses.
During photosynthesis, green plants ‘fix’ atmospheric carbon dioxide in the presence of light, resulting in the production of simple sugars. When sugars are produced in excess of the energy requirement of the plant for growth and development, they are converted into storage, or ‘reserve’ carbohydrates. These carbohydrates make up the nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) fraction of the plant. These non-structural carbohydrates follow a seasonal pattern with highest values in spring compared to summer and winter, and intermediate values in the autumn.
The over consumption of nonstructural carbohydrates by grazing horses have been implicated with disorders including insulin resistance and laminitis. In addition to sugar and starch (NSC) causing metabolic issues, the sheer over consumption of pasture grass can cause obesity in horses. Obesity can result in further problems with insulin sensitivity as body fat mass increases. All of these overweight conditions result in a cascade of problems that at the very least leave your horse fat and intolerant of exercise to far more severe conditions such as insulin insensitivity and laminitis.
It has been reported that excessive pasture intake accounts for nearly 50% of all reported cases of laminitis. Obesity, therefore, must be corrected. The first step in any weight reduction program is calorie control. Elimination of all grain from the diet is a logical step for overweight horses. A low intake vitamin and mineral supplement pellet such as LMF Super Supplement should be added to the diet as a means of supplying key nutrients to the horse without excess calories.
Another key to success is limiting or eliminating access to pasture. Pasture grazing represents an unregulated source of calories that cannot be easily quantified. It is therefore necessary to limit pasture access until weight loss has been achieved. Physical prevention of excessive pasture intakes by horses can be achieved using grazing muzzles. Grazing muzzles are commonly recommended for controlling grass intake in overweight and laminitis prone horses and ponies.
The use of grazing muzzles reduces bite size and restricts intakes to the tops of leaves, where the concentrations of sugar (NSC) tend to be lowest. Grazing muzzles may be favored by owners over other methods of intake restriction that limit animals to very short turnout times or confinement to stables or small bare paddocks. Grazing muzzles enable the animal to graze larger areas and for longer periods and owners do not have to implement severe changes to their facilities. In addition, a horse that is allowed to graze with a muzzle continues to move around in the pasture and get at least some exercise.
Not all horse owners need to be concerned with pasture intake restriction. For the majority of horses, total restriction is not always a viable or desirable option for financial, welfare, and health reasons. It may also not be necessary for those animals that are not predisposed to a metabolic disorder.
The first step in determining if your horse is a candidate for a grazing muzzle is to determine the laminitis risk. There might be breed, age and sex effects in the incidence of laminitis. Certainly it is generally accepted that ponies are more commonly affected by laminitis than horses. If you own a pony, buy a grazing muzzle you will eventually need to use it. Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have a lower risk of developing laminitis but this is probably due to activity level rather than breed.
Ponies and horses that have been previously affected with laminitis or are affected with certain other diseases (e.g. Cushing's disease or insulin resistance) are at higher risk of developing laminitis. For those animals identified as being at high risk of developing laminitis a grazing muzzle may be necessary. A less radical solution compared to using a grazing muzzle would be to restrict pasture access by controlling the amount of time they graze.
Simply restrict the grazing opportunity to two hours or less per day. Further, grazing can be restricted during times of high risk such as during the spring and fall. The pasture is the most dynamic and most dangerous component of the diet if the horse has previously suffered from laminitis. If an affected horse is returned to pasture, use of a grazing muzzle is recommended to limit grass intake.
Grazing muzzles can be worn every day or only during months when the pasture grass is more abundant and contains higher concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates.
Turnout on pasture should be avoided when the pasture grass is growing rapidly in the spring after the weather turns warmer or during the summer after heavy rain. Temperate pasture grasses also accumulate sugar when they are stressed by drought or the onset of winter.
When a horse is returned to pasture after being confined to a stall for several days, reintroduction should occur gradually, with no more than one hour of grazing at a time for the first two weeks. While grazing muzzles are recommended to reduce pasture intake there is limited data on their effectiveness. A recent study utilizing ponies aimed to determine the extent of intake restriction imposed by grazing muzzles.
Ponies fitted with grazing muzzles on average ate approximately 83% less forage than those without grazing muzzles. Ponies with muzzles were only able to consume 0.14 % of their body weight during 3 hours. Grazing muzzles appear to be an effective means of restricting pasture intake by ponies. Management Strategies for Using Grazing Muzzles • The muzzle should be attached to a breakaway halter and fit should be checked often.
The extra weight of the muzzle adds more pressure to the bridge of the nose than usual, and pressure sores can sometimes develop. Encasing the noseband in fleece may provide relief. • Introduce the muzzle slowly by introducing the muzzle for short periods in the stable and rewarding your horse with a treat through the hole in the muzzle each time you put it on and take it off. As you progress outside with your horse wearing the muzzle feed grass through the hole so your horse gets the idea that he can still eat.
Initially leave the muzzle on for short periods gradually building up the time your horse grazes with the muzzle on. • Make sure that your horse is comfortable drinking with the grazing muzzle on. Try this in the stable first by offering a bucket of water directly to your horse in hand and you will find they are quick to investigate, especially if you have been offering treats through the hole in the muzzle! • Make sure the muzzle fits correctly as this will help prevent your horse removing it.
• Don't leave the muzzle on all day. • When your horse is not wearing the grazing muzzle bring them in off the grass as they are able to graze freely and may even try to compensate for the restriction earlier in the day. • Beware of herd dominance and make sure the horse wearing the muzzle is not being bitten by others in the group. Written by Dr. Tania Cubitt and Dr.Stephen Duren of Performance Horse Nutrition.
best dating grazing muzzle horses recommended - The Horse on Instagram: “Does your #horse wear a grazing muzzle? Learn more about how to introduce and use a grazing muzzle for horses in today's nutrition Q&A at…”
Best Friend Grazing Muzzles are recommended by equine health professionals to prevent, as well as treat, laminitis, founder, obesity, colic and other diet-related diseases. The small opening in the bottom allows horses a limited amount of grass, yet unlimited water.
Rather than being restricted to a non-grass environment to control intake, horses are free to exercise and socialize as part of the herd. Other Grazing Muzzle Benefits: • Your horse is happier as a result of not being kept away from both his grass and his outdoor buddies. • Your horse can get the required exercise. (The average horse covers one mile per hour while grazing.) • Disease prevention is easier and less expensive than a visit by the vet. • All synthetic materials make it lightweight, rot resistant and well-ventilated.
• Padded noseband helps resist rubbing and chafing. • Most durable, comfortable and safest grazing muzzle available. Don’t be fooled by look-alikes! • Recommended by John Lyon’s Perfect Horse and The Horse Journal. • Reduces bedding bill and stall-cleaning time. • You have peace of mind knowing your horse is happier and healthier. • 5 Thank you Posted by Debbie on 15th Apr 2015 "I just wanted to say thank you for your product best friend muzzle.
It truly did save my horse's life. She foundered last summer and I found your product. She is now recovered but I still make her wear her muzzle.She never puts up a fight to wear it. I really thought she would have to put down, but thanks to you she is a healthy, happy horse again. Thank you from the bottom of both our hearts." Happy Customer, Debbie • 4 Prefer these over the halter combo Posted by Abigail on 26th Jun 2013 I prefer these over the grazing muzzles with the built in halter, as I feel like these stay on better.
They get hot though, but that's the be expected. • 5 Works well, nice fit Posted by Paige C. on 26th Jun 2013 This muzzle fit the gelding I was using it on well, and after a little bit of adjusting it stayed on very securely. I'd recommend using it with a safety halter. The directions were pretty clear, and it's held up well under lots of use. • 5 Durable and Successful Posted by Jessie on 25th Jun 2013 Our overweight mini began wearing one of these to decrease his grass intake and it seems to be doing its job (much to his dismay.) I heard poor reviews on many of the grazing muzzles with halters, but this one attached to his halter that already fit and it's perfect.
When it gets too dirty, we simply hose it off and let it air dry. Has lasted well and seems to be helping control his weight! • 4 Nice Grazing muzzle Posted by Unknown on 25th Jun 2013 This muzzle worked pretty well, however I would recommend using fleece covers as my mare got some rubs on her face from it. • 5 Durable and comfortable Posted by Shelley on 25th Jun 2013 The horses seem to tolerate these better then some others. • 5 Bad horse proof Posted by caryn on 25th Jun 2013 I have a laminitic horse that has to wear a muzzle on pasture.
He broke all the muzzles with the halter attached...so i bought him this muzzle that I attach to his leather halter. He has worn it for a year now without breaking it!
• 4 durable product Posted by conner on 30th Oct 2012 works great for limiting the feed consumption of overweight horses without having to dry lot or isolate. • 5 so far so good! Posted by jess on 29th Oct 2012 my horse tore through his last two he had and this one has held up very well this past summer!
• Recommended by equine health professionals • Prevents and treats laminitis, founder and obesity • Controls intake of grass while allowing unlimited water intake • “Basket” only attaches with Velcro at four places on the halter • Lightweight muzzle resists rubbing and chafing • Discourages bad habit such as nipping and cribbing • Sizes: Large horse, horse, cob, pony and mini Description: This muzzle attaches to your safety or breakaway halter with four velcro attachments.
Best Friend Grazing Muzzle is a good choice if your horse is a "Houdini" who can get out of almost anything, or if your horse is difficult to fit. Benefits: Safe and comfortable, Best Friend Grazing Muzzles are recommended by equine health professionals to prevent, as well as treat, laminitis, founder, and obesity.
The small opening in the bottom allows horses a limited amount of grass, yet unlimited water. Rather than being restricted to a non-grass environment to control intake, horses are free to exercise and socialize as part of the herd. The lightweight muzzles resist rubbing and chafing and will not rot.
Best Friend Grazing Muzzles can also be used as a training tool to discourage bad habits such as nipping and cribbing . 5 I have purchased the Best Friend Grazing Muzzles which Velcro on to a halter. They are quick and easy to use, I keep them on designated halters for easier use. These muzzles are TOUGH and do not come off!
Heavy muzzle material, so no chewing through. rwonderpony Raymond, Washington 2018-05-16 true I would recommend 4 Both my mare and mini are easy keepers and I have to limit their grazing and this product works best. I have tried the cheaper ones and my mare goes through 2 of those from spring to late fall- the Best Friend brand is costly but it lasts. QHorseLover Illinois 2015-07-24 true Best Friendâ¢ Grazing Muzzle Will my horse be able to drink from an automatic feeder?
Sue 2018-09-03 Yes, your horse should be able to drink from an automatic waterer. 2018-09-04 Cheri I have a mini horse.
Do I need to measure his nose size? How do I make sure to order the right size, not too small? Thanks Hannah 2016-05-20 I would say to measure his halter to get the size. Since it will be attached to the halter that would be the best way to get the measurement. 2016-05-23 Customer Service
Greenguard Grazing Muzzle