I have a bunch of questions and reading the other articles on the forum have confused me. I'm looking at an OTTB who the owner says cribs. They say it is 100% controlled with a collar. He has been off the tract since october and is 24/7 turnout.
1) I will clarify with the owner but when someone says "cribbing" that doesn't mean chewing wood, right? One would assume we are talking about grabbing the wood and windsucking, correct? I see so many people talking about chewing wood when the article is titled cribbing. I understand that the wood gets damaged in the process but the horse isn't actively chewing and ingesting the wood as the goal of the activity?
2) He lives outside 24/7 so is it safe to keep a cribbing collar on the horse day and night? The people I have know have only used it when the horse is in their stall. It just seems dangerous to me, like they could get it caught on something and choke themselves, but I'm paranoid.
3) Is it a deal breaker for you when buying a horse? My trainer says it's not a big deal if the collar controls it but it seems like a terrible vice to me. I don't want to drive 2 & 1/2 hours to see him if its a deal breaker but I need to get the facts about it first.
1- Yes, cribbing and wood chewing are separate vices, and a cribbing collar will not stop a wood chewer.
2- Not entirely sure. I imagine it's one of those things that is rarely a problem, but there are enough few horror stories out there to question taking the risk for your horse. My horse is kept stalled except for 3-4 hours of turnout daily. When he's turned out on grass the collar is taken off, but when he's in the dry lot it stays on (because he just stands at the gate and cribs if he doesn't have grass).
3- It wasn't a deal breaker for me, but it is for some people. When I got my horse a few months ago, the seller told me he "might" crib "a little." Talk about an understatement! I had the option to return him, but I couldn't imagine finding another horse like him anytime soon. I believe some of it was the stress of moving, but my vet also suspects he has/had ulcers when he came in. He's gotten much better about cribbing since then, and no longer constantly cribs if the stablehand forgets to put his collar back on after turnout.
In case you don't already know, OTTBs have an extremely high rate of ulcers. If he needs to wear a cribbing collar while on 24/7 turnout, I'd say the odds are pretty good that this one has them (or some other medical issue). If the underlying cause is treated, odds are he will at least crib less often, but he may never stop completely if he's been doing it for a while. Ulcer treatment isn't cheap, so that may be a factor in your decision of whether or not to buy him more so than the cribbing itself.