Grazing Muzzles’ Efficacy at Reducing Pasture Intake

Grazing muzzles can be effective at reducing pasture intake, sometimes reducing intake by as much as 85%.
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Grazing Muzzles
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While British artist Norman Thelwell’s depictions of pleasantly plump ponies make most horse lovers crack a smile, actually owning a horse with this body type is serious cause for concern. Equine obesity can lead to a variety of sometimes life-threatening ailments including laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome.

The challenge facing these horses’ owners is an effective method by which to restrict the amount of pasture or hay these animals consume. Many owners turn to grazing muzzles to reduce horses’ forage intake, and a group of British researchers recently determined this method can be very effective.

Annette Longland, BSc, PhD, CIBIOL, DIC, head of equine research at Equine and Livestock Nutrition Services in Wales, U.K., presented findings from a recent study evaluating the efficacy of grazing muzzles on ponies at the 2011 Equine Science Society Symposium, held May 31-June 3 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Accompanying Longland on the research was Patricia Harris, MA, PhD, Dipl. ECVCN, VetMB, MRCVS, of the WALTHAM Equine Studies Group in England

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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