Does Your Horse Wear A Grazing Muzzle During Winter?

I’ll get to the specific topic of this post in a minute, but first, I’ve got something for you folks who like to win free horse-prizes. Greenguard Muzzle is hosting a contest. The prize is a free grazing muzzle valued at about $99 along with a few other related items. Contest ends March 30th, 2021. Read below for entry info.

“Our 2020 face mask and grazing muzzle contest was a massive success. Even with vaccines for Covid-19 currently rolling out, being careful in public spaces is more important than ever, so we’re doing another round of our Mask and Muzzle photo contest.

There will be at least 6 random drawings: prizes include two new GreenGuard Grazing Muzzles, two new GG Equine Premium Breakaway Halters, and two sets of replacement muzzle straps.

Post a photo of yourself in a face mask and your equine friend in their grazing muzzle (any brand of muzzle is fine), tag GG Equine, and you’re entered to win a new GreenGuard Grazing Muzzle!

Follow and tag GG Equine on your favorite platform:

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
No social media? No problem! Email your photo entry to support@gg-equine.com with “Mask and Muzzle” in the subject line!”

Contest officially runs from 1 February – 31 March, 2021. Random drawings will be done to select the prize winners during the first week of April. The drawing is open only in GG Equine’s sales territory – North and South America – though anyone may submit a photo.”

Quoted from a recent Greenguard email blast

I am personally familiar with the GreenGuard brand. I used to work in a barn where the GreenGuard muzzles were popular among the boarders. You can learn more about the muzzles at https://www.gg-equine.com/.

I also tried a GreenGuard once on my horse, Bear, after using a Tough 1 Easy Breath muzzle for a couple of years. I got the sense he felt more comfortable in the Tough 1 than in the GreenGuard. The Tough 1 Easy Breath muzzles are also easier on my budget. For now, I stay with the Tough 1 brand. That said, I will certainly keep the GreenGuards in mind as an alternative option if my future muzzle needs change. You can check out the Tough 1 Easy Breath grazing muzzle through this link here

https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/tough-1-easy-breathe-grazing-muzzle

The email blast that I received about the Greenguard contest included links to a couple of interesting articles about grazing muzzles. The articles discuss the reason that some owners might choose to muzzle their horses year round when on grass. You can read them at

https://www.proequinegrooms.com/tips/health-and-well-being/muzzles-year-round

https://www.proequinegrooms.com/tips/health-and-well-being/grazing-muzzles-winter-your-horses-health

My twenty-five year old horse, Bear, has Equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) with a history of laminitis. My seventeen-year-old, Shiloh, does not. But Shiloh is a very easy keeper so I consider him at risk. Both my horses typically wear grazing muzzles when turned out onto the grass that is outside of their semi-dry lot paddock, but they usually get a couple of muzzle-free months during Winter. Depending upon my horse(s) condition in a particular year and the grass conditions of my pastures, I usually do not put their muzzles on during January and February.

The entire issue of whether to let a horse with PPID or EMS out on grass can be difficult to navigate. Without a way to test a horse’s glucose/insulin levels daily and without a way to test the fructose in the grass at different times throughout the day (because it is something that constantly changes), it is in fact impossible to know for sure “when your horse is safe to eat what grass and for how long.” It is a constant judgment call as to what circumstances/conditions will prove safe.

It is one reason that you will see some vets recommend that horses at risk for laminitis (such as horses with PPID and EMS) never be turned out on grass. If your horse is in the initial stages of these diseases, or especially when experiencing a laminitic episode, keeping them completely off the grass seems to be essential to getting those glucose/insulin levels down enough to stop the acute disease process and prevent even further damage.

Once past that acute phase, some owners consider it worth the risk to turn a horse out on limited grass due to the physical, mental and social aspects of allowing the horse to graze. That’s something every owner needs to discuss with their own veterinarian for each of their horse’s individual situation, circumstances and history. A grazing muzzle can be one way to potentially allow your horse some grass access, although it is not a guarantee of good health.

I imagine that someday a non-invasive device will be invented that gives an immediate reading on a horse’s glucose and insulin. If I could pass a wand over my horse and get instant results, I would have a better chance at keeping him sound and healthy by adjusting my management practices based on that information.

Same thing with the grass. If I could wave a wand over the grass and track its changing fructose levels in real time, I could chose the optimal turnout time with more accuracy than just going by general rules of thumb about when fructan levels are thought to be at their lowest.

What about your horse? If he or she wears a grazing muzzle during Spring through Fall, does he or she also wear one during Winter?

P.S. – After you enter the GreenGuard contest mentioned above, don’t forget about The Backyard Horse Blog’s own current contest. Enter to win one of two prizes, either a $50 gift certificate to The Great British Equinery or to Trafalgar Square Books (Horseandriderbooks). Go here to enter:
https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/01/29/the-backyard-horse-blog-winter-2021-contest/

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