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I Give Up, Eeyore Wins- Kinda

The Great Muzzle War has ended folks. Sadly I lost although I’m not sure there is a winner here as Eeyore is currently on stall rest from his latest muzzle induced injury and I may need to call the vet out soon if he doesn’t start to show signs of improvement.

The first injury occurred the second day he wore the darn thing. He came in with the entire right side of his nose swollen twice the normal size. I panicked thinking he would suffocate on his own stupidity, but it quickly went down and he was fine by the next morning. I still gave him a few days without it, so point for Eeyore.

Laying down and grazing. It doesn’t get much lazier than this folks.

Round #2 happened last week. He looked a little funny coming in for dinner and then I noticed it. He had somehow managed to get the bottom two velcro loops undone which loosened the bottom half of the muzzle. Ok, kinda smart dude. But then he got the stupid bottom lip of the muzzle STUCK IN HIS MOUTH and couldn’t get it back out. Who knows how long he stayed with the muzzle stuck inside his mouth. I almost gave him a point for this, but it still did the job of not letting him gorge on the spring grass, so I’m taking it. 1-1.

All went calmly for 5 days until yesterday. He was chilling by the water trough instead of at the gate with everyone else at dinner time. Odd. I looked closely and noted that the halter was no longer over his nose, it was hanging around his throat only. And the muzzle was missing. He was happily eating all the grass he wanted. I went to get him, cursing his name slightly, and then my heart dropped out of my chest. He was not putting any weight on his front left leg. He limped miserably and slowly back to the barn for dinner and inspection and there he remains today.

Lush pastures make my heart happy. It also makes my horses fat.

Best guess as to what happened: the muzzle was found inside the water trough and the spicket that fills the trough was torqued 90 degrees the wrong direction. I’m betting he wedged himself into the small space between the wooden pole protecting the spicket and rubbed his face on it to lever the darn muzzle off. He succeeded in ripping the muzzle off and into the trough as well as removing the bottom half of the halter. I’m guessing he then tweaked the front left leg trying to get out of the spot he wedged himself into. He has a very angry muscle attaching the upper leg to his chest and a swollen “knee”/carpal joint. He got bute and will remain on stall rest for the weekend. If he isn’t better Monday, I will call the vet.

Point for Eeyore. He wins. I’d rather a fat horse than a dead one.

This now raises the question of what do I do both short and long term to keep him fit and protect against laminitis/founder? He shows no signs of either but he is obese and the lush spring grass won’t help any. He needs managed sooner rather than later. I really wish I was at a boarding barn and could throw him in a lesson program or ask a barn rat to hop on him a few days a week when I can’t ride. But that isn’t the case and no way can I perform enough wife mathematical gymnastics to make it make sense to go from free care to $600/month.

Gosh but I love this Doofus

Dusty and I spent the evening stewing over various short term options first:

1). Use the arena as a dry lot. This was the most obvious to pop out at us, but it also quickly got thrown away. Yes, there is no grass to eat, he would remain outside and it is a large enough space for movement. It also has no shelter, no water source and I have spent hundreds of hours turning it into a nice arena. The thought of hay and poop in it makes me want to cry.

2.) Stall him during the day/out at night. The solution most barns employ is simply reducing time in pasture. It goes against all my own personal horse management beliefs to leave him in a 12×12 box for 12 hours a day. He also cribs and is ulcer prone.

3.) Fence in the barn yard to create a dry lot. Not an official one with perfect footing because we don’t have time/money for that at the moment, but the grass is a weird variety that doesn’t grow very tall and the horses don’t like it much. A water source would be easy to come up with as it is in front of the barn, but shelter would be an issue. Thankfully it isn;t super hot at the moment.

4.) Sell him and buy a hard keeper who could use the grass. Only partly kidding here. It crossed my mind. I won’t do it because I adore him but he could try even a little bit to make my life easier.

At the end of it all, I think he is going to get the barnyard for the short term once he can leave his stall again. It only needs one cross line of electric strung from the barn to the existing wooden fence to make it a smaller area without any of the barn equipment reachable. I can drag a spare trough for water and hang a hay bag on the fence. It will be a bit of a pain to get in and out of the barn and use the tractor, but hopefully we get to the long term plan soon and reclaim our barn yard.

The barnyard. We can run a line of electric from the right corner of the barn to the fence that is behind my back as I took this. The grass is currently better than in this older picture, but not by much so it would work nicely. The issue is that we’d have to keep the barn closed to prevent his access but that is easy enough to do.

The long term plan is harder. I went down some pretty deep rabbit holes researching my options here. One even included buying a bunch of sheep as they are known to eat the pasture down enough to limit horse use and keep weeds at bay. But they seem to be a PITA to keep up and ignore electric altogether, so that won’t work.

The truth here folks is two fold: I LOVE green grass and large spaces for movement is of utmost priority for me in the way I manage my horses. It makes me immensely happy to watch Gem pick up a full blown canter and race the others across the pasture. This happens daily. They love the room too. I also get joy out of looking out at my farm and seeing fields of green. I don’t want large patches of dead dirt staring back at me. I also don’t want a dead laminitic horse, so I have to come up with a happy medium.

My solution? One that really makes the Hubby unhappy. Oops. Sorry Honey. You see, he has spent the last 2 years moving fence line. I’d come up with a plan, he would spend hours moving the long fence rows and then a few months later I’d realize and error in my planning and make him move it somewhere else. He is tired of moving fencing. My plan includes a whole lot of fencing.

We are going to build a Paradise Track System around the property. It is going to take some serious planning and maneuvering because I would like it to include as much of the acreage as possible versus creating three separate ones within each pasture. It would be super simple to just place an inner fence in each pasture to create an outer track and an inner field, but that isn’t what I want long term. If I’m going to do this, I want it to be great. We have woods we can incorporate into the track, plenty of natural protection and easy access to water sources everywhere. If done how I imagine, there should be enough grass to allow some grazing without gorging, lots of room to roam still and I can take them off the track and use it for conditioning. A win-win.

Poor Hubby though. It is going to be A LOT of fencing.

21 thoughts on “I Give Up, Eeyore Wins- Kinda”

  1. Paradise Paddocks are so cool… But as someone who boards her horse, I had to do the muzzle thing.

    I will say, I had to try a bunch of muzzles before finding one that May liked. All muzzles have to be fitted with the halter pretty tight, so that can be a challenge. Otherwise, they do slip into her mouth. Buuut we’re now one our third greenguard muzzle. And it seems to be the happiest compromise we can come to.

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    1. I’m now partly terrified of muzzles one him. He has such a wide but short nose it’s hard to fit him well. If the halter is tight then the muzzle hits his nose and smushes his face. I’d like to try others but I’m worried he is going to rip half his face off trying to get it off.

      Part of his issue is that he is a mouthy horse. He loves to chew and he loves to throw things around. You can’t keep a halter or anything hanging near his stall or it gets thrown across the aisle. I think the muzzle stops him from having fun and pisses him off more than the fact he can’t eat as much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just cross fenced my big pasture with electric tape and move it as needed. I do want to add another charger back by the barn but total cost for all was about 300 if that. I do need to replace some poles but otherwise i love it. I am also thinking of making even smaller areas for the donkeys.

    I hope you figure something out. Remus used to have his pasturemates take his muzzle off for him (got it on video once). When he was here he didn’t wear one but he was on limited turnout (in his stall most of the day) and also in the various small areas rather than one big field.

    Now he is not on grass where he is boarded (Or not much anyway) so he doesnt need a muzzle.

    I would think that paradise track system is going to cost a lot? Good luck

    PS My farrier also used to say tight halter with muzzle and also weaved baling twine around his poll down to the muzzle as well. When Remus was boarded it stayed on that way. I had a Happy muzzle that attached to his own halter. But you can get them with a halter built in.

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    1. We tried a halter built in to the muzzle last year and it was a disaster. I got a break away halter this time and it seems that if it’s tight the muzzle smushes into his nose and you want an inch space there. I don’t know. I’m probably doing it wrong. Gem wears hers politely.

      The track system should be fairly cheap. I’m not going overboard with building bridges and rock areas and water crossings. At the most basic point you only need electric tape and t posts to create the tracks. Since we have a large area and I want to create some long tracks it will be a lot of fencing but we already own a ton of excess tape and t posts so hopefully it is just man hours and not money

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  3. The track systems sounds awesome in the long term and in the short term can’t you just include part of the barn as a shelter in your barnyard plan? Run some barrier through the barn so he isn’t in all of it (once he’s good enough to be out of stall rest anyway). You could also just make him 1 smaller pasture possibly also until your glorious track system is up.

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    1. If it was any other horse I’d let them have the barn but he is destructive and mouthy. If he can squeeze into a spot or grab something he will do it and end up hurt. I’m not sure I can toddler proof the barn that much. He’d for sure tear the cross ties off the wall. He has already tried that and they are right inside the opening.

      The weather is pretty perfect right now so as long as we get the system started and the basic outline in before summer he should be ok during the day in the barn yard.

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  4. I’ll trade you for a few months? You get Nay who could handle all that grass and I’ll take Eeyore who could deal with my lack of grass and lots of hay. Sound good? LOL.

    Hopefully, Eeyore feels better soon, but your plans sound good!

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  5. I hear you on the big pastures – I too love having the horses be able to run around and graze on their own schedule. However, fat horses are not good either. My mini wears a halter muzzle combo thingy and is perfect in it. He loves being out with the big guys. If I separate him he climbs up/over/through fencing etc. to get out! lol My big QH sounds like Eeyore – majorly mouthy and always getting into/wrecking stuff!

    The idea of the track is great – I’ve been meaning to plan one out, but haven’t got around to it yet!

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    1. My Arab mare wears hers politely no issue at all. If only Eeyore would too. We are going to draw out what I want and price it in. Hopefully we can afford to do what I picture in my head but typically I have champagne taste on boxed wine budget so we will see

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  6. Gosh darn it Eeyore, he really doesn’t make anything easy does he ugh haha. I hope his leg is ok and agree that it’d turn me off from wanting to muzzle him. But like…. ugh muzzles are so clearly the easiest option. Womp.

    The track idea sounds awesome tho. And tbh, even if he’s just turned out in your arena for partial periods those are still periods where he’s not on grass. A single muck tub is enough for water and you can always tie hay nets to the fence to at least keep it localized. And in terms of shelter you can just use it when conditions aren’t extreme. It’s at least something short term that’s better than nothing?

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    1. The current plan is to turn the barnyard into a dry lot. It’s a good size and has easy access to water and hay is easy to hang from the fence. We have a two bay overhang off the side of the barn where we keep the tractor. We are going to allow one for the horses as a shelter.

      As for his leg. He was worse today 🙁 Still three leg lane even with two doses of bute. The swelling settled lower down today and now I’m worried about a suspensory injury. He wasn’t warm and didn’t react so maybe it’s just gravity because that area was not swollen at all yesterday. If it is still swollen tomorrow morning I’m having the vet out asap

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  7. Ugh I feel your pain very much. I HATED muzzling Bump when the spring grass came through last year (not cos of the obesity but because of the insanity it gave him). I lasted about 2 days I think. Couldn’t bring myself to keep doing it.

    Mums place has a similar issue to yours, we ended up putting in two smaller “Jenny Craig” paddocks for the laminitic prone horses. It’s not ideal but better than a dead horse as you said!

    I will never not laugh at his squishy appy head.

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    1. His squishy Appy head is his best attribute 😂 It’s a good thing he loves head snuggles cuz I’m always hugging and squishing and playing with it.

      We decided to fence in the barnyard and to make a Jenny Craig (love that term!) paddock for him and Gem to use during the heavy growing season. Hopefully come summer they can go back to the bigger pastures again

      Liked by 1 person

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