Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Commander gets a new grazing muzzle

You all, my Dear Readers, may recall that my last attempt to use a grazing muzzle on Commander didn’t work out so well. It took no more than an hour for the thing to be destroyed. But I’d really like to let the boys have more time out on their grass paddock than the couple of 15-or-so-minute outings they’re currently getting per day, so I invested in a pair of muzzles – one for Commander, the other for Ben. Commander’s has a tiny central circular hole; Ben’s is oblong, larger, and should let him get more grass while still stopping him from tugging off the bottom of his buddy’s muzzle.

Today was the day I tried their new duds on the boys. First up was Commander.

He was PISSED! He knew exactly what it was and he was indignant when I put it on him! He kept twitching his head away or shoving it at me as I adjusted the thing, then when I walked away he came after me, trying to rub it off against the vicious cruel human (or maybe just knock me down so he could trample me to death in revenge). Then he went into the run-in and sulked.

Poor Ben just looked resigned and a bit befuddled when I put his on.

As it turns out, by the time I got to the barn and got them both muzzled, it was twilight and the mosquitos were buzzing. Neither horse was willing to spend any time out on the grass at all. I’d lead them out, they’d dip a muzzle into the grass, say “Screw this, I can’t get anything and the skeeters are swarming me” and bolt back to the run-in.

We’ll see how they do tomorrow midday. Normally when I let them out onto the paddock for a bit of grazing while I muck the run-in, they stay out for at least ten minutes before the various daytime insects harry them back into shelter. Will it still be worth their time to go out when they can’t gobble huge mouthfuls of grass?



At midday Friday, with muzzles on both, Ben happily nibbled away at what made it through to his busy lips and teeth. Commander got frustrated fairly soon, quite trying, and trotted back to the run-in. Ben kept grazing even without his buddy there.

I took off both muzzles and put Commander back out. He dove into the grass and greedily chomped away. This time it was Ben, bug-bugged, who broke away first to flee into the run-in. I had to go out to Commander and lead him back when it was time to end his grazing spree.

Saturday midday: Let both out without muzzles and allowed them to graze freely for a few minutes; then put the muzzle on Commander. He was pissed, circled me demanding I take it off, when I walked away tried halfheartedly to graze, then said the hell with it and stomped back to the run-in, where I did remove the offending device. When he found no food in his run-in stall he tromped over to the water trough, sloshed his face around, and threw an innocent bucket into the trough. I was going to lead him back out onto the paddock for a few more minutes, but Ben came galloping back and they both crammed into Ben's run-in stall for a feverish grooming, so that was it for the grass today.

I need to make the hole in his muzzle larger. And kill every insect in Essex County.

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