As far as I have learned, cribbing is not that much physical as psychological. It is commonly caused by extreme stress or long periods of it in the past or present, and cannot be completely cured by collars or anti-cribbing creams/sprays/whatevers. To some horses, it is enough stress to start cribbing even if they are kept stalled for too long (to their opinion, at least). Cribbing can be stopped, if the horse is turned out for as much time as possible, the best would be 27/7, but it applies only to the lighter cases.
For example, we have two chronic cribbers in our barn. One is a 5yo Latvian draft horse who spent a year of his life with the gypsies, before his current owner got him. Gypsies here are known far and wide for their cruel attitude towards horses, and it seems that this horse has suffered, too, but is now recovering. He is dealing nicely with his fears, and he now cribs only by feedbins, tying posts and such places, but not in the pastures. He, as all our horses, is 24/7 pastured.
The other is an older warmblood gelding who, as a foal of just a few months, was taken away from his mother and stalled for several days, away from all the other horses, while his mother was takan away for a show. He panicked the whole time and suffered mentally to a great level, and since then he has been cribbing almost all the time, even in the pastures, sucking on tree branches and sometimes even other horses!
Also, cribbing might mean that the horse has ulcers or that the rider is too tight on the reins, because cribbing sometimes comes with a noticable tension in the neck, shoulders and poll, and the horse has discovered a way to ease the tension, as extra oxygen intake serves as a way of getting a bit "high". Thus, it sometimes cannot be treated even if all the causes are eliminated, because the horse has gotten into this rather pleasurable habit.
Thus, to find the best treatment, all possible causes must be evaluated. How is his health? Do you know his past, has he suffered from stress, anxiety, fear in prolonged periods of time or in extreme levels? What kind of a rider/handler you are, how long is he stalled daily, what have you done up to now to change something about cribbing?
Something that has to be reminded, although I hope that to most people it comes naturally - cribbing should never, never be punished. It is just a way how a horse shows that something isn't quite right.
And, as another member already mentioned, the teeth of a cribber have to be monitored carefully, because cribbing changes the way how they are worn out.
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
Last edited by Saranda; 08-08-2012 at 09:44 AM.