Hoof Nutrition Intelligence Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.

Below you will find Part 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: Will using a grazing muzzle help me keep weight off my horses?

By Krishona Martinson

A recent British study has helped determine the efficacy of grazing muzzles in controlling the bodyweight of grazing ponies.

Five, non-obese, adult ponies were pastured for 23 hours daily and either grazed freely (without a grazing muzzle) or were fitted with a grazing muzzle for 10 hours per day.

Average daily changes in the percent of bodyweight for four of the ponies when grazing without a muzzle was 0.3% compared to a slight loss in bodyweight (-0.04%) when fitted with a grazing muzzle. The daily change in the percentage of bodyweight for the fifth pony while muzzled averaged 0.3%. Because of the rapid weight gain observed while muzzled, this pony was removed from the trial and was not allowed to graze without a muzzle.

The percent change in bodyweight increased throughout the study as the ponies learned to graze with a muzzle. Pasture intakes for ponies with a grazing muzzle were fairly constant throughout the trial period.

Based on this research, it appears the use of a grazing muzzle for 10 hours per day generally reduced the rate of weight gain in most, but not all, ponies on pasture. 

Krishona Martinson is an extension horse specialist at the University of Minnesota.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). Absorbine

Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.

Click here to read Part 2 of the May 1, 2018 installment: What are the chances my somewhat laminitic overweight horse will be insulin resistant?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.