Cribbing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ohio, USA
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Angry Cribbing

So, Gunner. A little history first.

I just got Gun in August. He's 15, although at first it was believed he was 20 because of his incisor wear. Should have known then, but he's a lovely sensible boy, other than he -cribs-. Trust me, it needs the emphasis.

Gunner cribs in stall, in pen, in the field if he can find something, has cribbed on other horses, and has tried to grab my arm to crib on me. He cannot have a feed box, loosens posts, and tears boards off fencing. He has about destroyed his stall door. His teeth are beginning to get a serious overbite in the front. He can still meet them, and seems to be eating/grazing fine, but the top ones slant.

We had another horse with this problem, our stallion, but he has quit since he gets turn out. Gunner gets the same amount, but hasn't slowed down at all. I would rather avoid a collar or shock, as it made our stallion head shy.

I've had his teeth floated, vet check, ulcer check, full work up, and Chew Stop spray. Everything checked out fine, and he ignored the spray. Help. Me. I'm worried he won't have any teeth by the time he is 20.

"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die...don't be scared, jut enjoy the ride." - Chris LeDoux
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 01:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: No. VA
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Can you muzzle him? Some allow them to eat. We have a bad cribber at the barn.. he'd crib on lead ropes, etc. Before we got his collar, he got a feed bag filled with some hay(he could breathe still).
vivache is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 01:49 AM
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I have a cribber. Its the most annoying habit, and he's picked up the peculiar thing of using his chin to crib instead of his top jaw....not as much damage, but its giving him a rough spot on his chin.

He may also need more exercise. Wet blanket exercise. Also look into giving him more hay while he is stalled (look into feed bags for slowing him down if more is not necessarily an option). Also try stall toys.

I've tried the miracle collar and although it may work for some horses, I had to basically choke my horse with the thing to get it to be effective. it sounds like your boy is not so much using it as a relief for boredom but its a learned behavior now as well, so i'm guessing the collar wouldn't work for you either.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Feed him his hay in long-lasting hay bags, the ones that look like this:

This should keep his mouth occupied on something that won't hurt his teeth. If you don't like the hay bag design, you can take a shallow tub, put the hay in, and cover it with the same hay bag. I have seen these things last a good two hours or so. You can also try using stall toys like a jolly balls or putting apples in his water tubs. Make sure that he is not deficient of any nutrient and his energy level is kept low-ie he needs plenty of turn out and exercise and a low energy diet.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 01:58 AM
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I noticed that my horse cribs a bit, as a boredom thing and hopefully that is all it will ever be, as no other horse cribs at our barn. I am not sure if she cribs at all when people aren't around, but if someone is standing near her, or she's tied to the unfortunately wood post, she starts cribbing immediately. I was thinking that maybe giving her some sort of "chew toy" would maybe help her out, because she is a very smart horse, and learns very quickly, so not doing anything drives her nuts, but I don't want to inadvertently teach her that she can chew on anything and everything by giving her something she can chew on whenever she wants. I agree that you should try a muzzle. The horses I've seen that the miracle collar works on, are generally not bad cribbers to start with, so it is pretty effective, but the other thing I would double check on, is to make sure that he is getting the right nutrients. I know that often times wood chewing is a sign that the horse is missing a mineral or something in their diet, and it could be that he had/has a deficiency that started him on the whole cribbing endeavor, and that it not having been corrected, that he's gotten worse and worse, and its become more of a learned behavior at this point. So check that, and then try a grazing muzzle, if you can.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-17-2010, 03:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
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I've read that cribbing and ulcers can be related. Some horses, once treated for ulcers will decrease or stop cribbing. It may not be the case for your boy, but it's probably worth checking him for ulcers.

Good luck.

Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
All horse people are crazy, but some of us are higher functioning than others.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-27-2010, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ohio, USA
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Gun was checked in...Oct or Nov by stomach scope. They found healed ulcer marks at least three years old, but no evidence of current issues. I also tried some U-Gard with him, but it didn't really make him cut back significantly.

On the hay bag, it's a good idea, but Gunner would rather crib than eat! He cribs while eating, and cribs while he still has grain/hay/treats in his stall. He has a jolly ball and ignores it. -.- I suppose I deserve a problem child since Hoover is such an easy keeper.

I forgot to mention, Gun is on 24/7 turn out with 30 mins in for morning and evening feed, pending weather. And we've been having some nasty weather here in Ohio, so he probably doesn't have a door to speak of anymore. >.<

"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die...don't be scared, jut enjoy the ride." - Chris LeDoux
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-27-2010, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Have you thought about running a strand or two of electric fence wire around your wooden fences? It won't break his habit, but it would help protect your fences from being chewed.

Also, I don't know if this would help or not, but I do know it works with dogs to help prevent them from chewing. - What about something spicy and apply that to your stall door? I've mixed cayenne pepper and water and rubbed that on things I didn't want to get chewed. You could also try Tabasco sauce or Habinero sauce.

I've read that something about the way the horse arches it's neck and sucks air in, it can give them a "high", so it's difficult to break. Not sure if this is true or not, but I have read that in several different places. Can provide links if you would like to read it
Icedancer is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 02-27-2010, 11:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spotsylvania, VA
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I ran the thin electric around the top of the fenceline for the horse that I used to have. I got a very low powered fencer for it though. Pretty much the smallest at Tractor Supply that pulses. The first time it "bit" him, he actually had his neck on it for a good minute before he felt the little jolt. I know it was a little jolt because one of the times we were taking rolls of hay in the paddock, I was holding the metal gate back and it got me through the gate. Didn't hurt at all, more of an annoyance. But it did keep him off of the fence. Unfortunately, he had moved to bottom stall door. He actually ripped it off of the hinges. The top part was in tact though. When the BO started complaining about him cribbing on the stall door that opens into the hallway of the barn, I ran the wire, but didn't have to hook it up. He knew from what was outside not to touch the wire on the inside.

I had another person tell me that used motor oil would keep them from cribbing, but I never tried that.

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post #10 of 11 Old 02-28-2010, 12:55 AM
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We have a friend at our barn that has a horse just like yours. Even when he comes in to get his grain, he will eat a little, crib awhile and then go back to eating. He also isn't choosy about what he cribs on. Because of those reasons, nothing works on him. I think the best you can hope for is finding solutions so that he won't tear down the barn and the fencing, but he is going to crib IMO.
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