FAQ of the Month: Dec 2023
My mini horse will not drink water while wearing the muzzle. He grazes beautifully with it on. Do you have any tips? - Deb F.
The first thing to check is how much space there is between their lips and the muzzle when their head is up. We recommend you try to adjust the muzzle so that there is a gap of about 1-1.5 inches between their lips and the base of the muzzle.
You can try getting them used to drinking by sprinkling a little food in the bottom of a bucket and then adding a bit of water over it. Repeating this will allow them to become more comfortable with the sensation of water coming through the muzzle while they are focused on getting to the grain at the bottom of the bucket.
If you use an auto-watering system, you may also want to make sure that the water trough is big enough to accommodate the muzzle. We have a page dedicated to waterer compatibility.
We are more than happy to do a fit check. Feel free to send us a photo of the halter and muzzle on your horse directly from the side with their head up to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are “slow-feed” solutions?
When horses’ natural grazing instincts cause them to over-eat or eat too quickly, it can lead to digestive problems, behavioral issues, diseases and other long-term health problems. An estimated 50% of the 60 million recreational horses worldwide are overweight and at risk for disease or premature death due to this problem.
Slow-feed products help horses to eat at a healthier, slower pace. They facilitate improved digestion in horses by managing their food access, moderating their eating speed, and encouraging thorough chewing. They come in a range of products, including items like our GreenGuard muzzles and Hay Play slow-feed bags.
What are the benefits of using slow-feed products?
Here are the reasons that top our list!
- Healthy Weight Management – Slowing food consumption is one of the most affordable and effective ways to reduce or help maintain a healthy weight for your horse.
- Freedom and Flexibility – One of the most gratifying aspects of our products is how they enable horses to live a more natural life. Owners often restrict overweight horses to a stall or dry lot in their (well-intentioned!) efforts to control their food intake. Muzzles allow them to be turned out in the pasture, grazing in any natural, normal way with freedom and friends. This can be a game-changer for horses and humans alike. :)
- Treat and Prevent Health Issues – Equine obesity is linked to a wide range of health problems that can negatively affect your horse’s life–not to mention cost hundreds of dollars in vet bills. Equine obesity can lead to increased risks of metabolic syndrome, laminitis, inflammation, degenerative joint disorders, heat stress, orthopedic disease, and poor athletic performance.
- Reduce Feed Waste – The fiber and nutrients in hay are crucial to a horse's well-being and dietary requirements. Nevertheless, hay expenses can add up! Slow feeders can mitigate hay wastage by enabling horses to consume their hay at a more measured pace and gradually nibble at their food. Similarly, grazing muzzles can protect a field from being overgrazed too quickly.
How do I know if my horse is overweight?
Unfortunately, many people are accustomed to seeing overweight horses as ‘normal’, so it can be challenging to identify if your horse has a problem that needs addressing. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) estimates that over half of American horses are overweight, and around 20 percent are obese.
The longer a horse carries excess weight, the more likely it is to acquire several associated degenerative health problems. Among them are laminitis, founder, colic, metabolic disorders, insulin resistance, musculoskeletal stresses, and arthritis.
One telltale sign of an overweight horse is fat pads–most commonly found in the crest, shoulder, and rump areas, as well as over the ribs and base of their tail.
Healthy horses should have the following:
- Visible or easily palpable ribs
- Minimal to no crest fat
- No fat pads over the shoulder area or ribs
- No noticeable gully along the spine or on top of the horse’s hindquarters
The best and most accurate way to assess your horse’s weight is by using body condition scoring (BCS). BCS divides the horse into three sections: neck and shoulders, back and ribs, and hindquarters. Each section is scored between 0 and 5, where 0 = Emaciated, 1 = Poor, 2 = Moderate, 3 = Good, 4 = Fat and 5 = Obese.
For a step-by-step guide to determining if your horse is overweight, click here.
How is GreenGuard different from other muzzles?
We sum up GreenGuard’s differentiators in three words: breathability, durability, and freedom.
The square, tapered shape of the muzzle allows for more breathing room, and the open design allows a horse’s jaw to move freely inside the muzzle. The multiple-openings design contributes to more natural grazing behavior by enabling the horse to choose where to graze.
Our team stands behind this product! Most of our staff started as loyal customers wanting to help their horses, and now they’re here to help yours. We constantly develop new products and strategies to serve our customers' needs. Our dedicated customer service team is made up of avid users of our products on their own horses, who are available to troubleshoot any issues that may arise!
Hear directly from our Founder and CEO, April Chester, about what sets us apart.
How do I choose between a muzzle or a slow-feed bag? Can I use both?
Generally, grazing muzzles are used to allow horses grass pasture turn-out with controlled forage intake. Slow-feed bags are used mainly for hay feeding when a horse spends time in a stall, dry lot, or pasture where grass forage is less available.
Yes, both can be used together if the goal is to regulate forage intake around the clock. The hay bags can be deployed in stalls or dry lots if the horse is confined to one or the other for any reason. It can also be used in pasture when grass forage is less available during the winter or non-growing seasons.
Please consult your vet and/or equine nutritionist before making dietary plans for your horses.
Which size muzzle should I buy?
GreenGuard muzzle sizing is based on bit size. Figuring out your horse’s bit size is not too complicated. A length of twine running from the outside of one side of your horse’s mouth to the other, plus half an inch, will give you an excellent idea of your horse’s bit size.
If your horse is between sizes, we recommend sizing up. We prefer a horse to have a bit more room than they strictly need. Too tight, overly restrictive muzzles can incur nose, chin, or jaw rubs that a bit more space can help you avoid.
We highly recommend you take careful measurements and check out our Muzzle Sizing Guide before you purchase!
Caution: Horse and pony sizes may not fit in some types of automatic waterers if the diameter is less than 10 inches. Please check the measurements to ensure the muzzle will fit in your waterer.
Do I need to buy an insert?
We recommend you first purchase and use only the muzzle (without inserts) to see whether you need any of our accessories.
Reasons you may want to consider an insert down the line:
- Protect your muzzle from excessive wear and prolong its life.
- Address sensitive teeth - Our diet and regular inserts have a rubbery, softer material for your horse's grazing surface. The leather inserts interact with the horse’s saliva to create a smooth and slippery surface and are our favorite option for horses with sensitive teeth or who have experienced previous tooth wear.
- Restrict even more grass than the muzzle on its own–our diet and leather inserts have holes that are smaller than the muzzle holes and can be helpful if your horse needs to be on a more strict diet.
Which size halter should I buy?
We get it – trying to figure out halter sizes for horses is like figuring out the right size for a new pair of jeans! Every manufacturer seems to have their own idea of what "Horse," "Cob," "Pony," and so on, mean.
We’ve taken the guesswork out with our Halter Sizing Guide!
Are your products breakaway?
GG Equine believes in safe, breakaway equipment. All of our muzzle straps are breakaway.
Our GG Equine Premium Breakaway Halter features a leather, wool-lined crownpiece designed to break away if your horse, pony, or donkey gets caught on anything.
Does the muzzle get too hot in the summer?
GreenGuard muzzles are made of a high-quality, non-toxic, food-grade polyresin and are manufactured in Europe. Like most materials, prolonged and static exposure to direct sunlight will cause the muzzle to warm. However, we have never had an issue where a muzzle got so hot that it affected a horse.
Because of the increased breathing room, airflow, waterproof material, and a horse's constant movement while grazing, our muzzle stays much cooler than a traditional muzzle in the summer.
Do HayPlay bags stand up to extreme temperatures?
HayPlay bags are made of heavy-duty, weatherproof, PVC-coated material that can withstand the harshest conditions. They will not crack or weaken in extremely cold or hot temperatures.
Do your products work for donkeys?
Yes! Many donkeys, mini donkeys, mules, and hinnies rely on GreenGuard muzzles and GG Equine halters during turnout time. Visit our dedicated Donkey Depot for everything you want to know about sizing, fitting, and troubleshooting!
Are your products available in any retail stores?
Yes! We partner with a number of U.S. retailers who carry our products. Trot over to our retail location page and be sure to call ahead to check for product availability!
Horse-Related Questions (We get it!)
Will wearing a muzzle cause my horse any pain?
With the proper fit and any recommended inserts, absolutely not!
GreenGuard Muzzles and GG Equine halters are purpose-designed to be more comfortable, breathable, and accommodating than traditional grazing muzzles. Our muzzles encourage airflow and fit a little larger so that they are not in constant contact with a horse’s face or skin, which means fewer rubs and plenty of room to move and chew freely. Unlike traditional muzzles, where tight, absorbent nylon material causes rubbing and can get hot, stuffy, and moldy quickly, especially in hotter and more humid areas.
While they don’t cause pain, muzzles may require some getting used to! We compare it to the experience of wearing masks we’ve all shared throughout the pandemic. For some horses, wearing a muzzle may take some getting used to–but the benefits to your horse’s health are well worth the effort!
Are slow-feed solutions bad for horses' teeth?
Slow-feeders can actually improve your horse’s dental health. By moderating eating pace and extending chewing periods, slow-feeders facilitate more even wear on their molars, preventing the development of sharp edges and minimizing the likelihood of dental issues. Watch this video to learn more!
If you are already dealing with tooth wear concerns, we recommend purchasing our leather inserts with your muzzle purchase. The leather is meant to wear through and be gentler on teeth than the material on the muzzle itself and is very effective in preventing further tooth wear.
My horse is an "escape artist" and has gotten out of every other muzzle I've tried. Can you help?
We’ve helped hundreds of Houdinis! We recommend checking out our Houdini Help page to understand how we can problem-solve together. Depending on your horse’s escape style, you may want to invest in the GG halter, corner straps, and/or neck strap.
If your horse is still escaping or you just want to be extra preventive with your halter and muzzle set up, give us a shout at email@example.com. You can get more tailored service and even sign up for a video consultation with our escape artist experts.