Saturday, April 7, 2012

hand grazing taken to a whole new level

I went to get Shyloh from her pasture to do some in hand dressage work with her. Seriously, though, I never in a million years thought I would be doing dressage work! But Shy is into it and it will help us on trail rides, so I will do it.

First I wanted to let her graze a bit outside the pasture. Her current pasture has very little grass, so she spends all day in search of little blades to satisfy her tummy. She does not need the grazing muzzle for this pasture, but once her herd goes back into the pond pasture, she will need it. 
As I was grazing her in the much thicker, greener grass outside of the pasture, Kathy suggested that I put the muzzle on Shy to get her accustomed to it. Good idea! I left Shy to graze (let's face it, with grass in front of her face, she is not going anywhere), and got the muzzle. I put it on Shy and she was immediately displeased. She started her sweeping of the grass with a bewildered look in her eye like Why oh why can't I eat the grass?!?!
I had yet to attach the lead rope to the grazing muzzle and off she went. Not far, she just kept circling, at a trot, trying to get grass. Shy quickly figured out that the muzzle was preventing her from getting all the grass she could eat,  sothe next logical step in Shy's mind was to remove the muzzle from her face. 

She ran around in circles, dragging her head on the grass trying to get the muzzle to come off. As it was getting closer to the edge of her nose, Shy would throw her head up, hoping to fling it off, but the muzzle stayed on. A few times, she came real close to getting it off. I was worried that if she did get it off, she would have to stay in a dry lot when her herd moved. I don't really want that, but it remains an option.

I tried to approach her to show her how she could get grass through the grazing muzzle, but she kept tearing away, dragging her head, then bucking out. I wish I had this on video, it was so funny (bad horse owner, laughing at Shy's torment!)! When Shy did stop, she tried to rip the muzzle of with her front hooves! She was bound and determined to get that thing off! Since Shy was not letting me catch her, I opened a small pasture that was not in use and me and Kathy got her to run in there. By now, she has really worked herself up into a tizzy about this muzzle and its preventative measures of not  letting her get grass!

Shy ran right over to Baby Bob, whose head was over the gate that connected his pasture. He instantly took hold of the grazing muzzle and was trying to get it off of her! It was hilarious, like Shy ran up to him asking for Bob's help and he knew exactly what she wanted. Thankfully, he did not get it off of her.
Bob, Shy's knight in shining armor!
Finally, I caught her and I hand picked grass and fed it to her through the hole in the grazing muzzle. I did this until she calmed down and realized she could still eat grass, I lowered her head and showed her how she could get grass through the hole, a few blades at  time. Sometimes, I had to twist pieces of grass together, stick them in the hole and then Shy would rip the grass and eat it. She was not entirely pleased with the time it took to get such a little bit if grass,  but I think she has started to get the concept. It might take a few more sessions before she completely "gets it," but it is a start!


  1. I don't know any horse that has ever accepted or liked "The Muzzle"

  2. Camryn here: Sounds like abuse to me. If you'd like I'll file a report of the incident. Though I must say Alli did redeem herself a bit by showing you how to get the grass. And Bob, he's a hero in my book for understanding and trying to help. You go Bob!

  3. Awe, poorShyloh. I'm glad she is starting to understand. Love that she had a knight and shining horse to try and help her.

  4. Pippin here, I say call PETA and the ASPCA! Down with muzzles! My Mrs. Owner tried that on me. Here's my story about that:

    My Mrs. Owner did remind me that one of her friend's horses learned to plunk her face down onto the grass to get the little bit that came up into the hole. She got pretty good at it. I never did get the hang of it... and if you recall, I can get my halter off in 10 seconds... the grazing muzzle is easy-peazy!

  5. Bob is cute! I don't think I've seen him before. She sure know how to pick out her knights in shining armor lol.

    She will figure it out. It just takes time. :)


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