Thursday, September 5, 2013

Duct Tape+ Plastic Mesh= Happy Winston

Recently we noticed that Winston was getting grumpy. All our horses like to work, but with the wet weather he has not done much. So we tried taking him out for spins on the longe. That helped somewhat. I started racking my brain for what to do.

I figured he needed time to be able to run in the big fields. The sacrifice area just is not enough room. Then the question is, what to do about the grass? The Hannibal muzzle is way too open for the pasture and even the Best Friends type of muzzle is a bit big.

As I was cleaning around a blanket box, I found one of our spare rubber muzzle bottoms (cut off damaged muzzles). That got a idea brewing. Using the muzzle piece, I cut out a piece of plastic mesh we use to wrap hay in to slow down eating. Then I used the duct tape to attach the mesh to the muzzle piece. Finally that combination was attached to his full muzzle with duct tape. This cut the eating area down to about half what it is normally. The two rubber pieces protect the mesh from damage.

View looking into muzzle
 With this muzzle we let Winston go out with the boys in the pasture for 1-4 hrs depending. Most of the time he comes in looking for easier food before we think about going to get him. Then he goes in his little area for the night. He seems happier just being able to flat out run if he wants to and that he gets to be with the boys. And Mom and I don't have to worry about him overeating.  Plus he is less grumpy. He even played over trot poles set on a circle like he has done them forever. Small things can make a big difference.

"Hey, this is tough"
Finding balance between a happy horse and prevention is challenging, but after getting the opportunity for Winston to get the Laminil all the steps are worth it. His videos are now helping promote Laminil and hopefully raise funds. According to their video, all 42 horses showed improvement. Here is the link:
Hearing about the number of people who applied to be part of the trial the first day and knowing that I applied a couple days after the announcement, makes me realize how lucky we were Winston was an ideal patient. It was a high point after a bad work day.

Now it is onto show preparations. My list is almost done :)

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