Winterizing Your Muzzle
By Sarah Borns
Winter is coming, winter is coming! Or, rather, winter is here. Maryland had an unusually-warm Fall, but the cold weather has finally arrived. We have had several hard frosts, which means that many horses are finally going to pasture without their grazing muzzles and those muzzles are going into storage until the next season begins.
It is important to be thoughtful when it comes time to store your muzzle. GreenGuard muzzles are hardy and built to last many seasons. They are an investment so take care of them!
Here are some tips:
1. Give your muzzle a good wash. You can do this in a sink, with a water hose, or in the dishwasher. GreenGuard muzzles are made from a polymer blend with a very high heat tolerance. They can easily withstand being sterilized in an autoclave - which I imagine most of us do not have at home - so yes, they are also dishwasher-safe.
A nice thorough cleaning on a regular basis helps keep the surface of the muzzle smooth. During the season, this is important for your horse's teeth. When you're prepping your muzzle for storage, a season-ending scrub will help preserve is pristine condition through the Winter.
2. Find a spot to hang your muzzle, like on a bridle rack. Or, find a spot where the muzzle can sit with the bottom side down and with nothing touching any of the sides. This is very important!
I speak from experience. I will admit I used to just shove my muzzle in my trunk during the off-season. It was not my smartest move. The next year, my poor pony got rubs! It was easy to see why upon inspection though: I had bent one of the sides in so that the shape was not right anymore. UGH!
The polymer plastic that makes up the GreenGuard muzzle is malleable and do have some give. Like any other non-rigid plastic material, it will bend if pushed or placed under pressure for extended periods of time.
Luckily, this malleable nature can also be beneficial! If you heat up the muzzle you can remold and fix some of this user error. But, if you think ahead and store the muzzles properly, you do not have to worry about it. If you are like me and have multiple muzzles, you can stack them in one another to save space during storage.
GreenGuard muzzles are tough and durable in their own right. Like any other piece of tack, regular cleaning and secure storage at the end of the season makes a big difference. You can extend the life of your horse's favorite muzzle by taking good care of it.
Sarah Borns is a lawyer and former barn manager. She has a beautiful Welsh-Thoroughbred cross named Haley.