Why do horses need a grazing muzzle?
Founder (laminitis) is the 2nd largest killer in horses and the most common cause of chronic lameness. Overweight horses, “easy keepers,” and those with a prior laminitic episode are at higher risk. However, laminitis can also occur in normal weight horses of any breed and age. In fact, an estimated 10-25% of all horses have insulin resistance/pre-laminitic metabolic syndrome1. No horse is immune. In fact, the famous racehorse Secretariat died of founder. A grazing muzzle helps manage grass intake to allow at-risk horses the opportunity for turnout instead of being confined to a stall.
1. Morgan, R., Keen, J., & McGowan, C. (2015). Equine metabolic syndrome. The Veterinary Record. Journal of the British Veterinary Association, 177(7), 173–179.
What makes Greenguard different than other grazing muzzles?
Greenguard Grazing Muzzles have a unique, patented lightweight design that offers more airflow and much more breathing room than a traditional muzzle, while still restricting intake similar to a muzzle with a single hole. The secret? The very center of the Greenguard muzzle has no opening so it does not allow for the horse to graze from the middle. Instead horses have to work to get grass from the side slots, similar to a slow-feeder. The other advantage to having multiple openings? The muzzle wears more slowly and lasts longer since wear is not focused in one place.
There are so many holes - isn't it going to let too much grass in?
It is surprising, but the Greenguard Grazing Muzzle reduces grass intake on average about the same as a muzzle with a single hole. It does this through a unique design that has openings towards the side of the muzzle rather than the center. This allows the muzzle to have better airflow while still restricting intake. Horses really have to work to get grass from the side slots, and this slows down their intake significantly. Read more about how it limits grass intake here.
Why is it square?
The simple answer is "so the horse can breathe." The square shape of the muzzle and lower corners allow for unobstructed breathing through the nostrils. The fact that it holds its shape keeps the sides of the muzzle from collapsing in on the horse's nose. Think less claustrophobic! In addition to more breathing room, this also makes rubbing much less of an issue. Read more about the unique design here.
What if it doesn't work for my horse? What is your return policy?
We realize that every horse is different and what works for one horse may not work for another. So we have a full 30 day return policy. You can return any of your items ordered from us within 30 days of the date of shipment for a full refund, even if you have used the items on your horse. This means you can take the muzzle (and halter too!) for a test drive and if it doesn't work out then no worries - just send it back for a refund. So there is absolutely nothing to lose by giving the muzzle a try, but a lot to gain in terms of your horse's comfort and happiness!
Will the muzzle rub?
As long as the muzzle is fitted correctly and not too small then it should not rub. Unlike a muzzle with flexible sides, the Greenguard muzzle retains its shape so it does not collapse in on the horse's nose. In fact, as the horse is grazing the sides of the muzzle hardly touch the horse's nose. In addition, the muzzle is made of a material that is much lighter weight than nylon and it does not absorb moisture. Moisture is often one of the primary causes of rubbing. However, if you do encounter any problems, we are more than happy to help troubleshoot with you. Find additional tips for rubbing prevention in this article.
I go through 1-2 muzzles a season. How long will this muzzle last me?
We have many customers who get years out of their Greenguard muzzles, not just a season. There are several reasons why the Greenguard muzzle will likely last you MUCH longer than your traditional muzzle. For one thing, there is not just one hole in the middle that the horse is neurotically focused on making bigger and bigger! Because horses are moving around to different slots in this muzzle, it wears much more evenly and, as an added bonus, this also keeps the horse's brain busy. Secondly, the muzzle is made of a very tough, durable, high quality polyresin that is semi-flexible and very difficult to break. Lastly, the fact that horses tend to be much more comfortable in this muzzle means that they are less likely to want to destroy it. We even offer a 1 year warranty on the muzzle because we are so confident in its quality and durability. Try to find another muzzle that offers this kind of guarantee!
Will it fit in my automatic waterer?
It depends on the make/model of the automatic waterer. See our article Automatic Waterers and Your Greenguard Muzzle for info on specific waterer models and compatibility. Click here for a quick reference table comparing different models.
How do I decide on the right size?In general you should go by your horse's bit size, not their head or bridle size. This is because the fit of the muzzle depends on the width of the mouth rather than the head. If your horse is between sizes, we recommend getting the larger size. These muzzles are designed to fit MUCH larger than traditional muzzles. The horse needs plenty of room front to back in the muzzle in order to allow enough space for the chin. Typically having more space is not an issue, but if the muzzle is too small it can rub. Please see our Muzzle Sizing page for more details and sizing information.
Do you make a draft size?
Currently the largest size we have is our "horse" size. It is quite generous and does fit some draft horses (usually draft crosses rather than full draft). You can check out the dimensions on our Muzzle Sizing page and measure your horse to see if it might fit. We can't say right now if/when the manufacturer will decide to make a larger size but we will definitely post any updates we get.
How long does it take a horse to adjust to wearing the grazing muzzle?
It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days depending on the horse. All horses will eventually figure it out. Even if they get frustrated or sulk initially, they will continue to try to eat at some point. Once horses figure out how to graze in the Greenguard muzzle, then they are typically very accepting of it, even the most die-hard "houdini" horses. How you introduce your horse to the muzzle can also make a big difference. Read more about the Best ways to introduce the Greenguard Grazing Muzzle to your horse.
My horse is a houdini - how will he do in this muzzle?Because of its improved comfort and breathability, our muzzle has actually transformed many muzzle-hating escape artists. If horses are more comfortable, they are much less motivated to try to remove the muzzle. It can take some trial and error, but we are happy to assist customers with fitting and troubleshooting especially for those houdinis. Find more information in our article: Help, My Horse is a Houdini!
Will this wear down my horse's teeth?
Most horses graze normally with a grazing muzzle and so their teeth wear normally. However, there is a small percentage of horses who will bear down aggressively and scrape the bottom of the muzzle with their front teeth which can cause abnormal wear. Horses with this type of behavior will typically do it in any grazing muzzle - not just ours. Our muzzle has a couple of advantages in that it doesn't just have a single hole - so it encourages horses to move around to graze rather than focus in on a single spot. Also, the material our muzzle is made of is *much* softer than tooth enamel so the horse will wear completely through the muzzle before they can do much damage to their teeth.
This problem is usually a situation in which the grass is either a) really short and not long enough to poke through the slots, or b) really long and folds over preventing it from going through the slots. Horses may then resort to scraping the bottom because they are unable to get any grass. If you are noticing a lot of dents and wearing on the bottom inside surface of the muzzle, these may be a sign of an issue. However, these cases are fairly unusual and if you have a "typical" pasture with grass between 2" to 5" the chances of this happening are very minimal to none. We do of course recommend having your horse's teeth checked and floated routinely (which is important whether or not the horse is wearing a grazing muzzle) to ensure there are no issues.
Can I use it for other purposes like cribbing or reducing hay intake?
Some customers have used our muzzle for alternative purposes such as cribbing and reducing hay intake. When used for cribbing, horses do have a harder time getting a good grip because the muzzle has a flat bottom surface. However, it will depend on the horse as to how persistent they are - some horses will still figure out a way to crib.
The muzzle has also been used by some customers for slowing hay intake. However, it can be difficult for horses to get any hay through the muzzle. Hay does not tend to stick straight up like grass, but lays flat on the ground which makes it difficult for the horse to get anything through the slots. Using the muzzle for this purpose might make more sense if you wanted the horse to spend some time not eating hay, for example if the horse is out in the pasture with other horses. For hay consumption in the stall, it would be better to use a slow-feeder hay net.
***Please note that we do not guarantee the muzzle for anything other than its use for grazing and that use for any other purpose will void the warranty.***
Does it get hot in the summer?
The material will get warm like anything will when exposed to direct sunlight. However, we have never had an issue of the muzzle getting so hot that it would burn the horse or cause an issue. Because of the increased breathing room and airflow, the Greenguard Grazing Muzzle actually stays much cooler than a traditional muzzle in the summer.
Does it smell like petroleum or have a weird plastic scent?
No. The muzzle is made of a high-quality, non-toxic, polyresin material and is manufactured in Europe rather than China to ensure that it is safe, especially since horses are eating out of the muzzle.
Why is it more expensive?
We too were hesitant about importing these muzzles at first because of their expense, but after seeing firsthand the night and day difference with our own horses, it was a no-brainer. These muzzles are manufactured in a high tech molding process and made from a high-quality polyresin material which does make them more expensive. However, it also means that these muzzles are extremely durable, lightweight, and non-toxic (since horses are eating out of them after all).
We can honestly say that this muzzle is hands down the best product we have ever come across in terms of improving horses' quality of life. It is much more comfortable, open, and breathable than a traditional muzzle, and well worth the cost considering the amount of time horses have to spend in their grazing muzzles. In fact, in the long run, our muzzle may actually not be more expensive because horses are less likely to try to remove and destroy it.
Other questions? Just ask. We are happy to help!
We think you will find our customer service second to none. We are 100% committed to improving horses' quality of life and comfort.