Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Guess It's Time


I guess it's finally time to break down and buy a damn muzzle for Lilly. I've been avoiding this as much as possible despite the fact that people keep telling me over and over and over that it's probably a good idea. I just really wanted to manage her 'metabolic issues' in different ways. It's not working, and I've finally come to terms with it.

I mentioned in my last post that it was possible Lilly had some kind of metabolic event around the time of the last horse show. When my trimmer came out shortly after that, she noticed separation on all four hooves, and Lilly also had a little bit of bruising on her front hooves. I have never really had issues with her hind hooves, so to see separation back there was a bit alarming for me. We were on the lookout for other signs of laminitis, but those never came (thank goodness). She's been a little bit more tender, and my barn owner noted that Lilly had a difficult time doing a tight circle to the left on one occasion, but for the most part she's been ok.

Her hooves have been chipping like crazy, which is why I think she's been a little more tender. Once the separation shows up, and with the type of hooves my girl has, it's only a matter of time before it all starts chipping away. I've been keeping up with it by keeping her mustang roll going as much as possible, but I was fighting a losing battle. Without the hoof wall for support, she's walking much more on her soles, and we've lost some of the concavity we had back before August. I think she's also put on some weight since the last time my trimmer was there.

My trimmer was out again last night and I told her what I'd been seeing, what my barn owner noticed, and what I've been doing about it. The good news was that my trimmer didn't see any sign that whatever we had going on in August was still ongoing. It all looked old, the separation wasn't still chalky, and the bruising was nearly nonexistent. We could see a very clear line on her hooves, which indicated when the event happened, and the new growth above it looks really solid. So now we're in a place where we're managing whatever happened. The problem is, when is it going to happen again?

The weather has been crazy here... we went from HOT days and warm nights, to cooler days and even cooler nights, back to warm weather, and now we've been getting temps in the low 50's for nighttime lows. I'm sure the grass is going nuts.

Being in a boarding situation, there's only so much I can do in regards to Lilly's turnout. When Lilly had her episode, I asked my barn owner when she planned on switching the horses from night turnout to day turnout, and she said she keeps them out at night as long as possible because it's the schedule that gets them the most turnout. I was hoping we'd be switching sooner rather than later because I want Lilly to have LESS turnout. Last night when I arrived at the barn around ten after five, she was already turned out. On the weekends when I go over to check on her, sometimes they'll still be outside at 10am. I'm not sure when she brings them in on weekdays, but I know it's not super early. So even if they come in at 8am, we're looking at 15 hours of turnout. That's a LOT. And when I went out to the pasture to grab Lilly for the trimmer, I noticed quite a bit of grass in her pasture.

This is not good. So the only real way to regulate her grass intake if she's going to be on pasture that much is to buy her a stupid muzzle.

My trimmer recommended the Best Friend muzzle, which I have researched plenty of times and have decided is probably the best muzzle for Lilly, but I don't know whether I should get her the one with a breakaway halter attached, or the one I attach to her nylon halter.

Muzzle with halter?
Muzzle without halter?
I don't like the idea of her wearing something on her head for turnout, but the pastures are all free of trees, so I only have to worry about other horses and maybe the t-posts. The posts do have caps on them, but horses are horses. I'm thinking of going with the one already on a halter because it looks like it would be more 'minimal' and she could wear her fly mask without having lots of bulk on her face.

Any thoughts? Pros or cons to either? Or is there a muzzle you like better?

I hope she doesn't hate the muzzle as much as I hate the muzzle...


  1. She will hate the muzzle. It's inevitable. I'd get the one with the halter (I already do have it actually...) because its easier to have separate from your daily use halter so you don't have to reattach/unattach when you're working with her. Also, if she's anything like my mare she'll get the thing off and lose it somewhere and you don't want to be without your main halter if she loses it in the field for a while.

    1. You make a good point... I'd probably have to find a muzzle specific halter to use just for that purpose, so I might as well just buy the one already on a halter. I'm still hoping she won't hate it!! (Although I know she will) :(

  2. A number of horses at our barn wear muzzles, and they all do fine with them - the ones with the built-in halter seem to work the best. Once she adjusts to it - it will take time and you'll have to coach her a bit to eat grass through the hole - she'll be fine with it - it's just how things are and horses are good at accepting that.

    The number of hours she's on turnout on pasture, but night grass is generally much better for horses sugar-wise than day time grass - the sugars accumulate during the day and the afternoon hours are the most dangerous. The grass uses the sugars to grow at night so the sugar levels are falling.

    The muzzle will work wonders for her weight and her feet. One other thing to consider using is a supplement that delivers chromium - this improves glucose metabolism. The one I use is Chromium Yeast from Platinum Performance. Most horses have no trouble eating it.

    1. I went ahead and ordered the one that has a built in halter. It sounds like the best idea. I'm also looking into the chromium supplements. Thank you for the suggestion!

  3. BOO on the muzzle, but I do hope it helps her issues. Oh, Lilly! She can't make it easy on you can she??

    1. It's her life's mission to make things complicated for me. LOL