Just like human’s, every horse is different. When it comes to nutrition and dietary needs / restrictions, I have always wished I could explain to my “herd” why one horse gets a handful and the other gets a bucket of quality feed! Sam, a 22 year old Morgan x TB on our review team has always been an “easy keeper.” In recent years, the need to control his weight and intake of the fresh green grass has become urgent. He was diagnosed 8 years ago with DSLD and our veterinary team has expressed the need to keep him “fit” to reduce the amount of strain on his suspensory ligaments in his retired years.
I have tried other grazing muzzles in the past, all of which either rubbed his skin raw, discouraged him from drinking or he was able to scratch off or hook on the fence to avoid having to use it. I also frequently worried about the safety of “turning out” with any kind of halter on him. What if he somehow caught the basket of the muzzle on a fence, a tree, or part of his run in shelter? As much as we try to “toddler” proof their surroundings, let’s face it, a horse will find a way to get stuck on something! Thinline designed the Flexible Filly Grazing Muzzle to be safe. It is softer, lighter, and less behaviorally restrictive. Constructed of a durable and pliable material that radically improves the horses’ feel. It is effective while also being soft on equine teeth and lips. The Flexible Filly Muzzle is well-ventilated and safe, rated to break just before your turnout halter.
When I received the Flexible Filly Grazing Muzzle, I was a little overwhelmed. There was the muzzle piece itself, twist ties, zip ties, a turnout halter with reinforced patches, and the halter pad’s. We received the Horse size with the 3+cm hole. I laid it all out on the table and was praying I could figure it out. Thinline is AMAZING when it comes to easy, step by step instructions, and I packed my entire box out to the barn. I assembled the halter pads on the turnout halter which was pretty straight forward, then I fit the halter to Sam.
The actual fitting of the muzzle was what I was nervous about. If you look closely at the Turnout Halter, you can see the reinforced patches with the “channels” that fit the zip ties for each strap on the muzzle perfectly. (This was very helpful and made fitting so much easier) I will say the fitting part was a little trial and error. They suggest using the twist ties to get the fit just right and I was VERY thankful for those instructions. I would fit the muzzle, measure and check, and then adjust, and then one by one I took the twist ties out and replaced them with zip ties. It was EASY. But I must say if you do not have a horse that stands well, it may be a little bit of an inconvenience. It did take approximately 20 minutes to fit the halter, muzzle, and pads from beginning to end.
Once the muzzle was fitted, Sam was NOT happy. He fought the muzzle for almost 15 minutes initially. I would grab a handful of grass and push it up to the muzzle to reassure him he COULD eat with the muzzle on, and he would grab it. He tried to get his lips out of the side of the muzzle to eat, and it was not successful. It was a slight process and I started out hand grazing him the first few days, acclimating him to the fact that he was going to be able to eat. Once he was acclimated after a few days, I was able to turn him out for 12 hours with the muzzle on! He did well, seemed relaxed, and was able to drink, eat, and relax without stress! On our ranch we turn out 12 hours per day on pasture, and then the muzzle is removed and Sam is given free choice hay in our mud lot or stall the other 12 hours of the day. The intake “hole” in the muzzle is easily adjustable, we received the standard 3cm option, but it is adjustable by increasing the size of the hole by cutting around the hole of the “plastic” material and widening the hole with a pair of household or bandage scissors, we did increase the size of the grazing hole by 1/2 inch with a pair of bandage scissors and it was VERY easy!
We are now 12 weeks into the use of the muzzle, and although the clear muzzle itself is discolored, it has not lost any of its quality. After being in the elements and all over the field the muzzle itself and the halter/pads are in amazing condition, there are no rips, tears, cracks, or pills in any of the pieces that make up the grazing muzzle system! I have not seen ANY rubbing from the halter in Sammy’s “typical” rub spots or from the actual grazing muzzle. Sam is very sensitive to rubbing and wearing halters/fly masks so I was concerned about the fit. But there were zero issues.
The best peace of mind even if you are unsure of making the jump is that they do offer a 6 month full replacement durability warranty on the Flexible Filly muzzle! So if you have a “destructive” equine companion, it is a huge advantage to other brands that may not be as durable or offer a durability guarantee! Thinline is high quality and they stand behind their product.