How to work with BO/BM successfully
   

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How to work with BO/BM successfully

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  • Spray to stop cribers
  • Bö bm

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    11-17-2011, 10:59 AM
  #1
Foal
How to work with BO/BM successfully

I'm new to the forum and not exactly sure where it makes the most sense to post this! Any thoughts on the below situation would be much appreciated!

I recently moved my horse to a new farm, which, for all intents and purposes, seemed like (and in many ways is) a safe, well-organized, clean and positive new environment for my horse and I. The issue I’m confronting reared its head soon after arrival – my horse has been a life-long cribber and stall chewer. He typically only cribs in his stall and has recently figured out a way to crib despite any and all cribbing straps. At this new barn, he is turned out 24 hours a day, weather permitting, which I thought would be a great way to keep him from chomping on stall doors/wood. His paddock has electric tape around the top rail of a three-rail plastic fencing. The only part not covered with electric tape is the gate area and the two rails below the top fencing. After a week or so, he realized his only opportunity to crib in his day would be on his paddock gate, and began doing so, much to the chagrin of both me and the barn manager/owner (same person). She promptly suggested that I buy him a muzzle to wear while turned out as well as in his stall. I had never considered using a muzzle on him before, and especially did not like the idea because he would be wearing it 24 hours a day, including while eating his hay. Before getting on board with the muzzle, I asked if they could put electric tape along the paddock gate—which I’ve seen done at other barns in the past. The BO/BM said it would not be possible, because they thought he would just try to crib on the lower rails. I relented, and bought my horse a muzzle which he has been wearing 24 hours a day over the last few weeks. His attitude has changed immensely—he is sulky while out in his paddock, and much nippier and “grouchy” while handling him without his muzzle on. The last straw broke when the woman that I lease him a few days a week called me in a panic, saying that he turned on her and tried to kick her in the paddock while trying to put his muzzle back on him after a ride. My horse has never been aggressive—always a very sweet boy with no behavioral flaws besides his cribbing. I immediately called the BM/BO and offered to pay for the entire three rails of the paddock, as well as the gate, to be lined in electric tape so that he would have absolutely nowhere to crib, no paddock fencing to destroy, and thus no need for the muzzle. She considered this, but ultimately said they did not have time to do this despite my willingness to pay for it. I know that the job of a BO/BM is a hard one, and that they cannot satisfy ever boarder’s wishes, but this situation is escalating to one in which it is unsafe for those handling my horse. In addition, he seems miserable, and I of course want him to be happy and healthy as well. There are many dimensions here…I don’t want to overstep my bounds with the barn, but I also put safety first—I don’t want anyone to be hurt while handling him, and the muzzle is bringing out dangerous behavioral issues when others handle him (he's fine for me).

My question to the Forum is: what would you do? Would you move to a new farm with better fencing/more cooperative management? What are the negotiation points that you think exist with the BO/BM? Should I push my request further, or respect the barn’s wishes?
     
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    11-17-2011, 11:07 AM
  #2
Showing
Bottom line, their barn, their decisions.

If you can't live with those decisions and feel your horse's temperament is being affected, find another place to board.

Cribbers are hard on structures, so I don't find it unreasonable that a BO wants to minimize damage. Your offering to pay for the fencing doesn't do much in the scheme of things. Ultimately, it will be the BO's labor to put it up and keep it in good working order, as well as their electricity to keep it on.
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    11-17-2011, 11:37 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Agreed. I am glad that you enjoy your horse, but he has some issues if a muzzle has made him grouchy. I know that my old QH, now passed on, whose life was happiest when eating, would NOT have changed his behavior if we had muzzled him. Therefore, I suggest both looking for a new barn and plan on some retraining. Since I am in process of building a manger in my shelter I've researched and come across plans with 3-4' diameter hardware cloth used to prevent stall waste. I ONLY mention this bc this might be the best thing for him to have to work at getting his hay to keep him occupied. Is he being fed enough? Also, does he have access to straw bedding. Horses will eat both wheat and oat straw and, since they need much more roughage than we do, it's very good for them. I'm mentioned it before, but a University of Illinois Vet told me many years ago that his father showed Shires (sorry, I misidentified them as Belgians in a recent post =b) and fed them only oat straw over the winter. They need 8 or so small meals/day, but most people usually feed our horses twice a day. Yes, we expect them to east, rest, and clean it up before the next feeding, but many horses with nervous habits will paw the excess hay and soil it, thereby not ingesting it. Also, have you considered a stall toy, like a ball? I'm reaching but I wonder if the cribbing was a result of a previous owner who underfed him? I just know that if I was leasing a horse and he got aggressive, I'd lose interest in the lease. I hope this helps. =D
     
    11-17-2011, 12:37 PM
  #4
twh
Weanling
I'm on the BO's side. Some people don't want to have to deal with a hot gate --- I know I would hate it. Imagine juggling hay, feed, or water buckets AND have to worry about getting zapped by your gate.
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    11-17-2011, 12:41 PM
  #5
Showing
Owning a cribber is often an issue. Many barns (in my area) don't even let the cribbers in for boarding. Could you spray the boards he has access to with either pepper spray or special "anti-crib" stuff? You can always start looking for the different barn, but I'm just saying it may not work out.
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    11-17-2011, 12:42 PM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by twh    
I'm on the BO's side. Some people don't want to have to deal with a hot gate --- I know I would hate it. Imagine juggling hay, feed, or water buckets AND have to worry about getting zapped by your gate.
Posted via Mobile Device
I agree. As a border (with non-cribber) I wouldn't like it personally. Unless the horse is in its own paddock I doubt other people with the horses in same field will be happy with it either.
     
    11-17-2011, 01:02 PM
  #7
Weanling
From what I have read and understand about cribers. He is having with drawls. Reprimand the bad behavior and keep up what you are doing and it will get better.
Compare it to a smoker. You take their cigarettes away and they get very nasty in the beginning. After time and the cravings get less their attitude gets better.
I would venture to geuss the worce the criber the worce it feels not to be able to crib.
     
    11-17-2011, 01:10 PM
  #8
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by mediahorse    
My question to the Forum is: what would you do? Would you move to a new farm with better fencing/more cooperative management? What are the negotiation points that you think exist with the BO/BM? Should I push my request further, or respect the barn’s wishes?
More cooperative management?!?

I think your BO has been wonderful already.

If the horse is cribbing - as in sucking wind - the BO is doing you a favor by requesting the muzzle.
     
    11-17-2011, 01:15 PM
  #9
Super Moderator
Personally I didn't think the strip of electric across the gate was all that much to ask but apparently it's an issue. I've boarded in places where the BO has gone above and beyond to accommodate horses with special needs (including cribbers) but in most cases, it's easier to "get rid of" the offensive horse rather than deal with it. I like the idea of painting the gate with tabasco sause or that anti-chew/bite spray. It can't hurt to try it.

I don't like the grazing muzzles but I do understand that you have very few options with a cribber.
     
    11-17-2011, 01:19 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
I agree. As a border (with non-cribber) I wouldn't like it personally. Unless the horse is in its own paddock I doubt other people with the horses in same field will be happy with it either.
I have to agree with this. Getting zapped by the gate would make me a very unhappy boarder. If my BO electrified the gate, I would probably seriously consider moving barns. I'm not coordinated enough to avoid regular zapping.
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Tags
barn management, behavior, cribbing, electric fence

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