Q: Which muzzle size should I order?
A: Please see BF muzzle guide
Q: How should the grazing muzzle fit?
A: The muzzle should not be tight or restricting and should allow room for grazing and chewing. You should be able to fit two to three fingers sideways between the grazing muzzle and the horse's face. The Standard muzzles have a slightly closer fit. Check regularly for rubbing, especially when introducing the horse to the muzzle. If necessary, use padding such as sheepskin or a Muzzle Mate (see Accessories) to cushion sensitive areas. Having the proper fit and adjustments will help avoid rubbing.
Q: How should I adjust the Deluxe Grazing Muzzle?
A: For the most comfortable fit and to prevent the muzzle from coming off the horse's nose, adjust the muzzle so that the throat latch fits behind the horse's jawbone, if possible. It may help to put the muzzle over a well-fitting halter and adjust the straps so that the muzzle fits as closely as possible to the halter.
Q: The muzzle keeps coming off my horse's nose.
A: Check your fit and adjustments. If the muzzle is properly adjusted the muzzle should not come off over the horse's nose and the horse should not be able to get the headstall off over its ears. Having the proper fit and adjustments will help avoid rubbing and prevent the muzzle from coming off.
Adjust muzzle straps to fit like a well-fitting halter with the throat strap behind the horse's jawbone and the rings in the crease of the neck. It may be helpful to put the Deluxe Muzzle over a halter to make the initial adjustments. In the summer, using a fly mask helps keep the muzzle on.
If your horse is difficult to fit or is a "Houdini" that seems to get out of everything, we recommend the either the Standard Grazing Muzzle used with a separate, well-fitting breakaway halter, or our new Have A Heart grazing muzzle with V-strap to keep the muzzle from coming over the horse's nose.
Q: How is my horse going to react to the muzzle?
A: Don't expect your horse to actually like wearing the muzzle, just as we humans don't like going on a diet. However, most horses adjust quite easily. In fact, the March 2006 issue of The Horse Journal described it as a "non-event" for most horses. We've had many customers tell us that their horses associate the muzzle with being able to go out and graze and be with their friends so they put it on quite willingly. Your attitude will make a big difference. Act matter-of-factly when you put it on your horse. Don't apologize!
Q: How should I introduce my horse to the muzzle?
A: It's very important to introduce the horse to the muzzle slowly. Put the muzzle up to his face several times before you put the strap over his head. You may want to put a treat such as a carrot inside the muzzle. If after a few hours he hasn't figured out how to graze with it on, you may want to place some grain or small pieces of an apple or carrot in short grass to stimulate grazing behavior. Be patient and don't feel bad about putting the muzzle on your horse. It's for their own good. Most often if a horse doesn't accept the muzzle it is because the owner has a problem with it. (Note: If your horse is diabetic you can use treats such as winter squash, lettuce, celery, parsley, one or two alfalfa cubes or a small handful of pellets, or sugar-free mints, rather than the above mentioned treats.)
Q: How long will a grazing muzzle last?
A: Grazing muzzles take a lot of abuse so expect to replace it periodically if your horse uses it for extended periods. Many horses use the same muzzle for several seasons and some horses may go through more than one a season. It depends on factors such as the amount of time it is worn, whether you have a gentle horse or a more aggressive horse and the age of the horse. Since the teeth on older horses protrude, we have found that generally the older horses will wear out a muzzle more quickly.
Compare the life of a muzzle to the life of a pair of running shoes. The outside bottom of the muzzle is being rubbed on the ground and the inside bottom is being scraped by your horse's teeth thousands of times a day. We have made every effort to make the rubber as durable as possible, but expect to periodically replace your muzzle.
Q: Are the muzzles guaranteed?
A: Muzzles that are purchased directly from us are guaranteed for 30 days. This does not include any damage caused by your horse, such as getting caught up on something and tearing the muzzle apart. If at any time you have questions on the use of the muzzle or feel your muzzle is not wearing properly, please contact us. Before returning a muzzle you must call or e-mail us for a Return Authorization Number.
Q: How do I clean the muzzle?
A: Keeping the muzzle clean will extend the life of the muzzle since dirt and sand can wear down the fibers. The muzzle should be hosed off or swished in a bucket of soap and water and rinsed at least weekly. Allow the muzzle to dry thoroughly whenever possible to reduce odors.
Q: Will my horse be able to eat hay or grain while wearing a Grazing Muzzle?
A: Most horses are not able to eat hay or grain with the muzzle on. If you want a free-to-eat muzzle we suggest our Best Friend Cribbing Muzzle.
Q: My horse is pastured only. Can I leave a grazing muzzle on 24 hours?
A: We do not recommend leaving a grazing muzzle on for 24 hours, however many of our customers report that they have been doing this successfully. If you choose to do this, be sure to introduce your horse slowly to the muzzle, gradually increasing the amount of time in the muzzle. Check regularly for any signs of rubbing, make sure your horse has access to salt licks, hay or daily grain requirements and remember that if your horse gets the muzzle off while not being monitored he/she will have free access to grass. Any drastic diet change should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Q: Do you repair muzzles?
A: No. We recommend that you use your local shoe repair service or harness maker to repair any tears in the webbing or stitching. The rubber bottom is not repairable.
Q: Are there any harmful substances in the rubber? Is it dangerous if the horses eat the rubber?
A: While cows have four stomachs and can digest almost anything, horses only have one stomach and cannot throw up. So what goes in one end must come out the other. That is why it is a critical situation when horses get a stomach ache (colic.) It certainly is not good for a horse to swallow rubber, however, thousands of rubber bits have been sold with no ill effect. To our knowledge there is nothing caustic in the rubber.
Q: How much grass can the horse get while wearing a Best Friend Grazing Muzzle?
A: It's difficult to say how much your horse would be able to get through the small opening, but we estimate that it cuts intake by an average of 50% to 75%. The opening may seem small at first, but most horses become quite proficient at getting grass through it. Keep in mind that if the muzzle or safety halter breaks away in the pasture your horse will have free access to grass. If your horse is in danger of founder s/he should be monitored regularly while grazing.
Update: A horse feed company in England, Dengie, performed a scientific study to see how much our grazing muzzle restricted their horses' intake. The study showed a 75% to 86% reduction of intake. Keep in mind that this was a short term study and the horses hadn't worn muzzles before. The longer a horse wears a muzzle the better he/she gets at working it and she/he will get more grass. Here's a link to the entire article:
Update #2: June 2011, The HoofBlog reviewed another study stating that using a grazing muzzle is a much more effective and reliable solution than restricting pasture time: