MANAGEMENT Keeping a muzzle on
Q:My overweight, easy-keeper gelding should wear a muzzle most of the year. The problem is that he is very crafty at getting the muzzle off his head. He has used a hook and the fence to catch and rip off muzzles, destroying them in the process. His latest scheme is having his herdmate grab onto the muzzle with his teeth and pull it off. What can I put on the muzzle to deter his buddy? Is there something that would taste bad but not be harmful to the skin or the horse if he ate it? Any help would be appreciated as I don’t want my guy to founder or colic. Amy Swing Newark, Delaware
And be very careful not to get any close to the actual bucket area of the muzzle ---that would be a strong deterrent against him putting his head back in there again! I would also suggest waiting until a time when there is no rain in the forecast during turnout times for a few days, just to be sure the repellent cannot wash down into the muzzle.
I would avoid the products sold to put on wood and stall surfaces to protect against chewing---these are so strong that they might add to your horse’s motivation to lose the muzzle for himself, and for some individuals they can be skin irritants.
If these strategies fail, and a dry lot is not an option, you could consider muzzling your horse’s buddy, too. Good luck keeping the muzzle on! I am sure your horse would thank you if he really understood the stakes.