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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Altea is just so beautiful, and a credit to You and Katie. xx

I am hoping Daniel never becomes prone to laminitis and need to reduce his weight to increase his resistance.

So, like Altea, he can go out to play tomorrow but with his muzzle on, then chat to the others inside and enjoy a slice of hay overnight.

I am still amazed at the amount of articles that appear on when I type muzzle, but no studies on the social or mental effects.

Hope this little record of Dan's diet regime, with the lovely contributions may be of future help, and make owners consider all options available and the implications or consequences of their choices. xx

Susie xx

PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
What I don't get is why both hinds tread the same narrow part of the sheep track, there is enough room for him to walk properly here.

Do you think this has to do with propreoception due to the fact that his muzzle whiskers (is there a name for them?) are hampered by the grazing muzzle?

Hope this little record of Dan's diet regime, with the lovely contributions may be of future help, and make owners consider all options available and the implications or consequences of their choices. xx

Bravo..... :applause: it's a great record and made more personal and factual with the pics :D

Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:44 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Those prints might have been in his muzzle wearing time.
Whiskers affect walking? More research required. Random observations are insufficient to substantiate the theories, but it might be the case.
Oh dear, lots of hunters and jumpers have whiskers shaved.

I found this to indicate barn dozing time taking much of the day is an indicator of satisfaction. ... viour.html

Satisfied horse behaviour
A dozing horse has eaten enough, according to recent research.

What behavioural signs do horses show when they have eaten enough?

A Japanese study has been observing the behaviour of stabled horses to identify indicators of eating satisfaction. Shigeru Ninomiya and colleagues trained six horses to press a button, which then dispensed a food reward. It didn't do this every time, but was programmed to do so after being pressed either three or twelve times.

The study ran for four days. Each horse spent an hour in an experimental stall, which contained the button and food dispenser. On two days, the horses received food after pressing the button three times. On the other days the horses had to press the button twelve times before food was dispensed.

As well as recording the number of rewards each horse obtained during the experimental period, the researchers recorded and monitored horses behaviour and heart rate.

Horses that were rewarded after only three presses received more food than those that had to press the button twelve times.

As it took more time and effort for the horses to receive food when they had to activate the button twelve times, it is likely that under those conditions they were still hungry. In contrast, the horses that had pressed the button only three times were more likely to feel satisfied.

The scientists compared the horse behaviour under the two conditions. They found that when horses had to press the button twelve times to receive the reward they tended to spend more time investigating the bedding. In contrast, when they had to press only three times they spent more time dozing in standing sleep. The scientists did notice that age affected the time spent dozing. Older horses spent less time dozing than did younger ones.

The researchers conclude that standing-sleep is a behavioural indicator of eating satisfaction. They suggest that it may be a useful indicator that the welfare conditions of the horse are satisfactory. However, they advise that it is necessary to consider the horse's age when using standing-sleep behaviour as an indicator of satisfaction.

For more details see:
A note on a behavioural indicator of satisfaction in stabled horses.
S Ninomiya, S Sato, R Kusunose, T Mitumasu, Y Obara.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2007) 106, 184 - 189.

Reproduced with kind permission of Mark Andrews BVM&S CertEP MRCVS
© Copyright Mark Andrews - Equine Science Update 2008

Susie xx

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:16 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
How late to bed am I....but I have been reading this study, about pasture management, sward, bite etc.

volume_77_part_1_p95-100.pdf from
Animal Science 2003,
95-100 1357-7298/03/2284095$20·00
2003 British Society of Animal Science
Influence of sward height on bite dimensions of horses
A. Naujeck† and J. Hill
Faculty of Applied Science and Technology, Writtle College, University of Essex, Chelmsford CM1 3RR, UK

The horses’ bite dimensions were not fixed but
adjusted in response to changes in sward height.
These data are similar to observations in ruminants
992 a and b; Milne
et al.,
1982; Black and
Kenney, 1984).
The linearity of increase of bite depth as a response
to sward height suggests that the horse perceived the
difference in sward height and that the animal
responded to the change by a modification of bite
dimensions. Similar behaviour has been observed in
cows (Laca
et al.,
1992b) and sheep (Milne
et al.,
Black and Kenney, 1984). The mechanisms by which
animals perceive their forage are still poorly
understood and it is interesting to note that the
horses in this study did not seemingly maximize
food intake per bite. The animals observed took bites
of at least 12 cm in depth but they did not perform
such bites for grass heights of less than 19 cm. This
behaviour might have been a trade-off between
energy intake per bite and energy cost of the food
processing, such as harvesting, chewing and
ingesting. Food processing of younger leaves or the
top of leaves requires less energy than harvesting
mature leaves that are higher in fibre content and
that need to be reduced in particle size (Wright and
Illius, 1995). Clemens and Stevens (1980) have
suggested that long food particles (10 and 20 mm)
needed a longer period of time and greater input of
energy to be processed and digested than short food
particles (2 mm) (see also Ellis
et al.,
2000). This may
explain why the horses did not take the maximum
bite size, but poses the question : why did the animal
not take smaller bites when the sward height was
The proportion of a bite to the sward height was
nearly the same for all grass heights. The horses
removed 62 to 68% of the initial height from 8, 15,
and 19 cm swards and about 50% from a 3 cm sward
(Table 2). When grazing short grass herbivores have
to graze close to ground level, which makes it more
difficult for them to cut the grass without touching
the soil (Healy, 1967). In contrast to ruminants,
horses have both upper and lower incisors, allowing
them to shear off the vegetation close to the ground.
Touch receptors on the muzzle and the lips feel the
surface characteristics and sense the soil (Frape, 1998;
Hodgson, 1990). By taking a small proportion of
short grass, horses may attempt to avoid ingesting
soil. In deeper swards the risk of soil contamination
of herbage and ingestion is much lower.
While grazing the microswards the horses did not
bite the grass from the side (as observed with long
grass (> 25 cm) on the pasture), but vertically down.

this from page 99 I think, I have closed the pdf now.

Susie xx

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:36 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
From behaviourist, the respected Prof. Francis Burton

In addition, the number of sensory receptors varies from hundreds to thousands per square inch of skin on different parts of the body. Many of these receptors are simple nerve endings, while some, looking like tiny bulbs or discs, are specifically sensitive to either light or sustained touch. Tactile sensitivity is particularly great around the lips, nose and eyes, due to a higher concentration of receptors and the presence of long, stiff hairs whose follicles are surrounded by nerve endings. Whiskers are important to horses because they indicate when the nose is close to an object. They may also be used while feeding to judge textures. Shaving a horse's whiskers off just for cosmetic purposes should therefore be discouraged.

Touching plays a vital role in communication between horses, particularly between mare and foal, and in courtship. Mutual grooming helps to cement friendships within the herd. We also rely on the horse's keen tactile sense in riding, through the use of legs, seat, hands and whip. A responsive horse remains sensitive to subtle signals. On the other hand, repeated and indiscriminate use of harsh aids is likely to result in a 'hard' mouth and/or 'dead' sides, as the sense of touch becomes desensitised.

Taken from:
Equine psychology and behaviour can be one of the most fascinating aspects of our involvement with horses. It is necessary in understanding the horse in health and sickness, in performance, in interaction with its handlers and even in picturing it properly in illustrations and film. Yet this most important aspect of horse care receives little attention in lessons, courses and the more conventional books. It doesn't help that we humans have a quite different mentality from horses. We often tend to think 'for' the horse and put our own interpretation on a situation he may view very differently.
Horse behaviour has fascinated 'thinking' horsemen for thousands of years. Xenophon obviously had the species fairly well sussed out as did the boy Alexander (The Great) when he succeeded in riding Bucephalus where all the experts had failed. Having noticed that the horse was frightened of his own shadow, he turned him into the sun mounted and rode him with no trouble.

Just what you've been looking for!
If, like Alexander and Xenophon you are interested in equine behaviour and human/horse interaction and if you sometimes feel you are out on a limb with little means of communication with others of like mind, then the Equine Behaviour Forum is for you.

Founded in 1978 and based in the UK, its present Chairman and Scientific Editor is Dr Francis Burton of the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The EBF is an entirely voluntary, non-profit-making, international group of people interested in equine (not only horse) behaviour. Its membership comprises vets, scientists, professional and amateur horsepeople, breeders, casual riders and horse owners, 'weekend riders' and also people who have no access to equines or who simply prefer to observe them from a safe distance! All you need to enjoy the Forum is a genuine interest in equine behaviour.

The EBF produces a journal entitled, appropriately enough, Equine Behaviour, which contains both scientific and 'amateur' sections. Edited by Alison Averis and Francis Burton, Equine Behaviour is written and illustrated mainly by its members and comprises letters, articles, views and experiences, book reviews, requests for and offers of help and advice, and much more.

The Forum organises optional projects for members to carry out informal talks and discussion groups and visits to places of interest in the horse world.

Taking part
It is very much a member-participation group. Without the active participation of its members, particularly in relation to the production of its newsletter, it cannot exist. Because of this, members are asked to contribute at least one item per year for publication in Equine Behaviour, although this not a condition of membership. Contributions certainly do not have to be professionally written. Anything is interesting, from a full article or scientific paper to a short comment or query. Photographs and artwork are also most welcome.

Subscriptions are £15 Uk £16 everywhere else. 2010.

For my future reference: links from Equine Behaviour Forum
Equine research: people and organisations
NEW International Society for Equitation Science
University of Regensburg, Dr Konstanze Krueger: Social Behaviour and Learning
Equine and Animal Cognition Reference Database
Havermeyer Equine Behavior Lab at New Bolton Center
Horse Behavior & Psychology from the White Horse Equine Ethology Project
Auburn University: Horse Behaviour and Trainability Research
Equine Research Foundation: Horse Learning & Behavior
Dr George Waring: International directory of equine behaviour researchers
Articles about horse behaviour and training
Papers/abstracts from Havemeyer Workshop "Horse Behavior and Welfare", 13 - 16 June 2002
Training Mythunderstandings: a series of training articles by Dr Ron Meredith
Andrew Maclean: How Horses Learn, Biological Basis of Submission
Donald McMiken: The Psychology of Horses
Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation, Australia
The Horse Interactive magazine: articles about behaviour (needs free registration)
Dr. Temple Grandin: The Use of the Wheat Pressure Box on Horses
Alexandra Kurland: Clicker Training For Your Horse
Shawna & Vinton Karrasch: Clicker Training
Marie Hoffman: Library of Horse Training Articles and Case Reports
Scientific abstracts and articles
NEW Equine Science Update (a few behaviour articles under "Sample articles")
Measuring Behaviour '96: Heart rate and cribbing in horses
Sue McDonnell: Normal and Abnormal Behavior of Stabled Horses
Sue McDonnell: Important lessons from freerunning equids
Stable Vices - A Measure of Poor Welfare?
Houpt et al. (1997) Equine Behavior and Welfare: The PMU Controversy

Other behaviour-related websites and general information, Resources for applied ethology (including equine)
Voices for Horses
Equine Behaviour, Donald Newe (French)
Company of Horses
Directory of Articles (some on behaviour, look under "Horsemanship")
Mr Horse World Equestrian Site (look in Library) has some articles on behaviour (do a site search for "behaviour") [Feb '08: appears to be broken]
The Alternative Horse Society also has a few articles on behaviour under "Articles"
Anything Equine (3 short articles)

Susie xx

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:24 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
I have seen horses with no muzzle whiskers (show horses shaved or clipped) bang their heads/faces more frequently than horses left in tact. I do know they use these whiskers to feel vibrations from the air/obstacles and also to determine what forage they are eating. Many clever horses test electrical fences this way by placing their muzzles close to but not touching the fence. They can "feel" the electrical current running through the line.
How this would affect walking? I just thought it might be possible that Dan was erring on the safe side by walking an exact path whilst he gets used to having the loss of this point of propreoception.

More research needed!!!!

Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:22 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
interesting stuff, lots of reading...

dont your horses eat the thistles?? Mine love it.

i think you have find a good middel way for the muzzle...we learn each day new things ;)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Inge, yes my boys do nip the heads off thistles occaisionally, they cannot do this wearing a muzzle, but with a large choice of plant varieties to select from, they tend to choose thisles infrequently.

We know how sensitive our horses are on their muzzles.
There are so many nerve endings to stimulate the body all connecting in the muzzle.
I am an amateur horse keeper, not a scientist, but my pony Daniel will need supervision of his weight for the next 40 years.
I want to know what the implications are for covering a well used sensory perception and communication area on my pony.
I am sure but have to seek research about the connections to endocrine, lymphatic and other hormone secretions that could possibly be affected by muzzle wearing.

For instance, we know success has been achieved with head shakers wearing nose nets. ... uzzle_net/
see also

Equine breathing using hands to teach and use of masks for grazing has also relieved many symptoms and problems according to the feedback and testimonials. ... athing.htm


Susie xx

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
I have asked Juliet if I may share an answer she gave with regard to a laminitic horse a concerned owner had.
(Daniel is not laminitic or I/R, I am hoping to prevent these illnesses.)

Juliet Getty talking about grazing muzzles at ... itis-risk/

- here is an excerpt of her advice:

"What you have here is a situation where you are causing stress for your mare. I think you already realize this and are trying to reduce her stress level. However, muzzling is a terribly frustrating thing to do to a horse. Here is what is happening…

When you muzzle your mare, and she is stressed by this, she releases a "stress hormone" called cortisol. Cortisol makes her cells reject insulin. The result of this hormonal imbalance is even more insulin pumped into the bloodstream. An elevated insulin level leads to FAT STORAGE.

So, a stressed animal, that is already overweight, is a fat animal, that is getting fatter.

I would recommend that you remove the muzzle permanently. Give her hay — as much as she wants — let her graze — and finally, give her some exercise. This is the most critical component.

I would also suggest a magnesium supplement to help her lose weight. Avoid all grain — no grain or sweet feeds. Just quality hay, pasture, and you can also give her some alfalfa (lucerne).

I hope this is helpful. I can tell that you care very much about her.

All the best,

Juliet :)

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
Getty Equine Nutrition

Laminitis risk | Natural Horse People
The friendliest, most supportive horse site around. Supported by worldwide experts, come and join this vibrant community. Its absolutely free

Susie xx

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:34 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Another tour of Dr.Getty's webpages, and a visit to Dr.Getty's Nutrition Library has articles previously sent on the free email newsletters 'Forage for Thought'.

August, 2010: The Best and Safest Way to Help Your Horse Lose Weight is of particular interest.

Susie xx

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:16 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hi Susie,
Was wondering how the muzzle trial is going? I have a friend here who has a similar problem (overweight horses, one with laminitis looming) and she is looking into muzzles. She too has extensive land and has been forced to fence a smaller area (which is now barelot) and is feeding teff and putting horses in and out on the grazing.
I sugested she look at muzzles and wondered if I could have your input.
I would love a pic of the muzzles and maybe a brief overview of what she can expect?
If you have the time I would appreciate it.

Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

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