Pasture with muzzle?

Stephanie Stout

Hi Everyone,

Hope you all had great and safe holidays! I am wondering if it's safe to put King out in pasture with a muzzle on. His friends /roommates go out during the day and he's getting upset that he can't go with them. He is IR & PPID(it's controlled as of latest his ATCH test). So, can he go out if he wears a muzzle?


Stephanie & a hopeful King dreaming of pasture time with his buddies
Oct 2014


Is his IR controlled (insulin results)? If not, you can tape the hole on the muzzle with duct tape and see if he tolerates it. Some get too frustrated and some are so glad to be out they don't care. Watch the other horses, because sometimes they "help" by removing the muzzle.

If he's not been turned out with a muzzle before, be sure and do it on a day when you're home and can see how things go.

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
Missouri - Dec 2005

Stephanie Stout

Hi Kathleen, 

Thanks for replying. He's never had a muzzle before as he's always been a hard keeper even before the IR/PPID. I think he will be so excited to be out with his friends that he won't mind. His Insulin originally was 171 back in September with an ACTH of 1170. He was immediately switched to the IR diet. Retested in December and came back with Insulin @ 27 uIU/ml and ACTH @ 30 uIU/ml. Is it safe for him to go out with a muzzle? I can duct tape it if I need too. The pasture is big, and is a hay field during the summer so it's a very tasty pasture. :) 

Thanks so much! 
Stephanie & King 



That's a decision you have to make. All I can do is tell you what can happen. It depends on his history, too. For example, before I joined this group, I made a bad decision to turn my horse out on winter pasture, thinking it was safe. I was using a magnesium supplement that someone told me about, thinking it would "fix" IR. I barely had an understanding of IR in horses. My vet at the time had no understanding and recommended "2 flakes a day of hay and nothing else." Knowing what I know now, I would have recognized that his insulin was sky high and he was hovering on the brink of laminitis. I turned him out on a snow covered pasture in December and he came back with laminitis.

Knowing what I know now - his weight has been the same for 9 years, he has no crest or lumpy fat, his insulin is in the normal range and has been for years - I turn him out on pasture. But... I also know the risk. Even though it's been 9 years, I know he and his pasture mate are prone to IR. Joe is 20 now, so I have to bear in mind that he's a candidate for PPID, too.  

I made that decision very slowly, well over a year after his laminitic episode. I built a Paddock Paradise. That seemed like a good idea and it was minimally effective, but we live in a region with very little rock and I ended up with terrible pasture erosion that has taken years to repair. I muzzled for years - still do - and for a long time, had trouble keeping weight ON him. I finally relinquished my death grip and discovered that with proper exercise, grazing was possible. 

Bottom line, know your horse, know the warning signs. IR/PPID is not "one size fits all" so if you proceed, do it cautiously.

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
Missouri - Dec 2005