You’re probably here because you’re concerned that you may have a horse that is overweight. Being overweight is unhealthy for a horse, and it can cause serious health problems like laminitis, insulin resistance, and equine metabolic syndrome.

The first step to weight management in this situation is to cut back on the concentrates, such as grain, but if that isn’t enough you may have to limit the amount of roughage or forage your horse has access to. This means limiting the amount of hay or grass your horse can eat - which can be very challenging. This might mean you have to time how long your horse is grazing and separate them from the herd every day. Not only is this difficult to schedule when you have a busy day, but it can sometimes be upsetting to your horses. There’s even some research that has proven that decreasing pasture time can actually increase the rate your horse consumes grass. This is where the grazing muzzles come into play, because they are designed specifically for this purpose. In this blog, you’ll learn more about grazing muzzles and how they can help you with weight management.

The Many Benefits and Drawbacks of Grazing Muzzles


Horse grazing muzzles are a very effective tool when looking to manage your horse's weight. Research has proven that horse grazing muzzles decrease your horse's forage intake by about 30% on average regardless of the kinds of grass in your pasture. This is a significant number that can help your horse lose weight without disrupting their turnout schedule.

Horse grazing muzzles are a great alternative to keeping your horse in their stall while their friends are in the pasture. Stall confinement is effective in helping your horse lose weight, but it can also lead to loneliness, frustration, and boredom. This in turn can cause stable vices like cribbing, weaving, and wood chewing. Horses are herd animals and will always be much happier when they are with other horses.


Grazing muzzles are a great weight management tool but they also come with some drawbacks you should consider. These drawbacks are fairly manageable, but horse owners who choose to use muzzles must be checking up on these things to ensure they won’t hurt their horses.

  • Water Consumption: If horse grazing muzzles are properly fitted it should not affect your horse's ability to drink water. However, many horses drink much less water while they are wearing their muzzle. Keep this in mind as you get your horse used to being muzzled.

  • Salt Consumption: It is very hard for horses to get salt while they are muzzled. Make sure to allow your horse at least 2 hours a day without their muzzle so they can get salt, drink plenty of water, and eat their meals.

  • Sores, Rubbing, and Infection: Horse grazing muzzles can also cause rubbing, sores, or infection. Grazing muzzles can collect bacteria and if a horse develops a sore from their muzzle it could get infected. Make sure your muzzle isn’t rubbing and if it is, use fleece lining to make it more comfortable for your horse.

  • Non-Muzzled Time: Many owners take the muzzle off of their horses for extended periods of time while they are turned out. Often these horses learn to eat as much as they can as quickly as they can while they are not wearing their muzzle. This could actually be detrimental to your weight management plan. If you notice your horse doing this try to allow them time without their muzzle in a dry lot or where they do not have access to grass.

The Design of Grazing Muzzles

As we know, grazing muzzles go over the horse's mouth and restrict how much grass your horse is able to eat while still allowing them to exist in their natural environment. There are two main designs for horse grazing muzzles.

  • Standard Grazing Muzzle: Standard Horse grazing muzzles are usually made from nylon and plastic. The muzzle itself has a hard plastic base that attaches to nylon webbing. These muzzles often look a lot like halters with a short basket shape covering the horse's nose. The muzzle typically has one or more holes at the bottom that allows grass to come through so the horse can eat it. You can buy a standard horse grazing muzzle with a halter attachment or you can only buy the muzzle itself.

  • One-Piece Molded Grazing Muzzle: One-piece molded horse grazing muzzles are much more comfortable than standard muzzles because they hang away from the horse's mouth. This prevents rubbing and sores that could be caused by other muzzles. They are usually made of molded materials such as plastic or kevlar and they are made of only one piece with holes to allow grass to pass through. These horse grazing muzzles are typically more expensive but they are more comfortable and have better airflow than the standard design. These muzzles are usually attached to the horse's halter with leather straps.

Ensure whatever design you pick for your horse is comfortable and fits him correctly to ensure he will not be rubbed. Also, make sure the muzzle has good airflow and will not hurt your horse's ability to breathe.

How to Fit Your Horse for a Grazing Muzzle

When fitting horse grazing muzzles make sure the muzzle itself sits about an inch from the horse’s lips. There should also be room for 3-4 fingers to fit in between the top of the muzzle and your horse's nose so that they are able to chew. Check to make sure the horse can chew while wearing the muzzle by giving him a treat while wearing it, also watch him to make sure he can easily drink.

Even with a perfectly fitted muzzle, your horse could always get caught on something while he is turned out so make sure that your muzzle has breakaway components. In addition, make sure that you allow your horse to be unmuzzled for at least two hours every day so he can easily drink water and get salt. Salt is especially important since it is much harder for horses to get salt while wearing a muzzle.

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