MAN­AGE­MENT Keep­ing a muzzle on

EQUUS - - Eq Consultant­s -

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.

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