Three Years of Best Friend Grazing Muzzles
One of our horses, Charlie, tends to put on weight and we’ve had situations where we’ve been worried about the possibility of laminitis and founder. We also like to keep our horses outside and it’s not practical to dry lot this horse while his pasture mate is munching away on grass in the adjacent pasture. So we turned to the Best Friend Grazing Muzzle as a way to turn out Charlie in his pasture and keep him safe from founder.
Charlie has been pastured with the Best Friend Grazing muzzle for almost four years with no founder or laminitis issues and he’s never shed the halter in the pasture. We’ve been very happy with the product and recommend it to anyone who needs to limit a horse’s access to grass.
The model we used differs slightly from the model sold through Amazon — ours included the breakaway halter. We made that choice because the straps that fasten the grazing muzzle to the noseband of the halter are just one more opportunity for chafing and rubbing if you leave the halter on the horse for long periods of time.
Since Charlie wore his grazing muzzle for 12 or more hours a day, we thought the grazing muzzle and halter combination might be a little easier on him. It probably wouldn’t make much of a difference if your horse wears the halter for shorter periods.
The Bad Aspects of the Best Friend Grazing Muzzle
The only bad aspect of the Best Friend Grazing Muzzle was its tendency to rub Charlie’s nostrils. The inside of the muzzle is covered with a soft rubber, but the ventilation openings were placed so that the upper corner of Charlie’s nostrils rubbed on the lower edge of one of the bands around the muzzle.
I experimented with various ways of using Vetrap and duct tape to pad the muzzle around the nostrils and eventually found something that worked. But it’s unfortunate that the grazing muzzle wasn’t constructed to avoid this chafing issue.
The solution I use now is to first cover the opening with duct tape horizontally, on the inside and outside of the muzzle. Then I wrap duct tape vertically between the bottom opening and the top of the grazing muzzle in the front half — essentially to keep the horizontal tape in place.
The edges of those ventilation openings were rubbing on the edges of Charlie’s nostrils and causing chafing issues. By covering the edges with duct tape, I created a durable smooth surface around Charlie’s nostrils that prevented any chafing.
Closing off the ventilation openings caused no problems for Charlie, even in the hot summers of Southeast Texas. A couple of times a week, I’d rinse out the grazing muzzle to prevent the buildup of sweat and dirt.
The duct tape job lasted for months and as I got better at applying the tape, it lasted for as long as the halter lasted — about six months of 12 hour a day use.
The Good Aspects of the Best Friend Grazing Muzzle
It’s a sturdy, well made piece of gear and aside from the chafing issue I solved with duct tape, there’s been no problem with muzzle chafing or with any other aspect of the grazing muzzle.
We’ve worn out three of the Best Friend Grazing Muzzles and we’re on our fourth example after about a year and a half of use. There’s never been a problem with stitching giving way or ripped webbing.
If your horse wears the grazing muzzle for long periods of time, the horse will eventually widen the eating hole by sliding the muzzle through forage and by eating the grass that pokes through the hole. We replaced the halter after about six months of use because Charlie had widened the hole in the muzzle so much it wasn’t limiting his eating.
I have read online that some people have extended the use of their grazing muzzles by drilling holes in the center of rubber hoof pads and then placing those pads in the grazing muzzle, essentially as a new bottom. I talked to my farrier about using the hoof pads and then decided that it would be better to purchase a new halter. I was afraid that the hoof pads might cause abrasions of Charlie’s muzzle and since the halter isn’t that expensive, I decided to just purchase a new one.
I recommend the Best Friend Grazing Muzzle and I’ll continue to use one to keep Charlie safe and happy on pasture.