These tips should help you along your way; feel free to add yours by sending us an email or posting on Facebook. We would love to hear how you personalize and customize these special muzzles!
· We will add pictures of the ways people are customizing the muzzles and making them work the best for their horses.
· Be sure to allow enough room on each side to prevent rubbing, usually ½ to 1 inch.
· From the front to back, watch your horse eat a carrot and be sure you can slip a finger between the front and back while he is chewing.
· Slipping: If the muzzle seems to slip to one side, be sure to secure the front strap to the noseband of the halter with something like Vetwrap®. If the muzzle slips sideways, the horse can get his nose through the hole and may get it stuck between his teeth. Add a halter sheepskin piece to the noseband with a slot cut in it to allow the Velcro strap through. This is especially useful for horses with sensitive skin who get rubbed by the halter with the weight of the muzzle on it, or who aggressively rub the halter against objects.
· Holes: For most horses, it is best to cut out the 2 smallest slots. This will encourage balanced eating, and allows enough grass to keep them happy. If you really need to restrict intake, try cutting the rear slot next to the hole first. Only for severe dietary restriction (acute laminitis, post-surgery, etc) should you use just the supplied hole. Too little grass will make them try to escape.
· Cutting the holes: Use a pair of wire cutters (easiest and safest), or a sharp knife, or a box cutter to snip the tabs.
· Velcro: The double-sided Velcro has a soft side and a rough side. The soft side should be on the outside, next to the skin. It will stick together better and will not rub. The rough side can irritate the skin rapidly. After you are happy with the adjustment, wrap a piece of tape (best is Gorilla tape® from the hardware store), but many types of tape will work. A couple wraps of Gorilla tape will secure it well and will stay strong for a long time.
· Rubs/sores: Some horses will get rubs easily because their skin is thin and sensitive. Other horses get rubs because they insist on rubbing the muzzle on any object they can to try to take it off. And some rubs are caused by the way it is adjusted. Check for clearance all around and re-heat the offending part. You can shape the flaps by bending them out in various places, especially at the top to follow the angle of the jaw. Or bend out a pocket behind the chin, or around a curvy nose at the front. Try to follow the natural line of the face.
· Persistent rubbing: If you’ve tried all of the tips above and your horse is still getting rubs, add real sheepskin to places that get irritated. You can glue it or tie it on.
· Keeping it on the “Houdini” horses
· Add a well-fitted fly mask over the halter
· Adjust the halter chinstrap so it comes up under your horse’s cheekbones. Or add a chinstrap
· Add a nosepiece from the noseband up to the top of the crownpiece.
· For those that cheat and go through the corners, stick the corner in the hot water and bend the edges close together, essentially closing the gap.
· For those that twist it, use the 2 extra small holes on each flap to add baling twine or ties to stabilize it to the halter. Be creative in lacing it onto the halter.
· If they are opening up the sides by putting pressure on them, try tying the sides with baling twine, going through the holes or slots to stabilize the flaps.