chewing
 
 

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chewing

This is a discussion on chewing within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse chew socialization
  • Why does my horse seem like shes chewing when shes not eating

 
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    11-01-2007, 04:24 PM
  #1
Foal
chewing

I have a thoroughbred who likes to chew on the crossties while I am grooming her. I have tried everything from a firm no, to pushing her face away with my finger tips, to a pop on her muzzle, (not a hard one) and finally I even tried watching her and each time she went for the tie I would rub the side of her face gently and push it away. She will wait for me to look away and then as fast as she can she go's for it. Any thoughts? I have also tried a spray that should taste bad but she does not seemed bothered by it.
     
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    11-01-2007, 06:37 PM
  #2
Showing
Hi, Dancers Mom,
Are the crossties the only things she chews on? It might just be a boredom thing, or it could be habit, just like cribbing, or for a human example, chewing your fingernails. If it is harmless, I wouldn't worry too much about it, if that's the only fault she has whie being tied, consider it a blessing to just have to replace a crosstie every once in a while. Of course, this is just my opinion. If you want the behavior curbed though, try shortening up the ties so she can't get at it with her teeth - if she can reach around and chew on it it might be a tad loose. Or you could try bungie (sp?) cord crossties. What kind of product did you use that was supposed to taste bad? Some horses will respond to different tastes, and so while one product works wonders for one horse, another might go "yum, seasoning!"
I hope this helps!
     
    11-01-2007, 06:52 PM
  #3
Foal
Chewing

She is a cribber and wears a collor when not being groomed or riding. It works great for that. She is a rescue so she a few things we are working on and she has managed to leave a bite mark a couple of times but we are working on that. She really is just a busy girl. The ties are at the barn she is at so I think I will just buy my own so she does not ruin thiers. She is a rescue and never raced, kinda lazy I thnk. We are working on small issues but she is young and alot of fun. She has tons of personality and I love it.
     
    11-01-2007, 11:04 PM
  #4
Started
Since you mentioned cribbing in your post, here is an interresting article I just found on cribbing. Might make you re-think that cribbing collar.

Cribbing

What an odd thing to watch a horse do… he grabs hold of the rail or the trough with his teeth and does this funny sucking, gulping thing over and over, and all the while he has this strange calm look about him.

For years it was commonly thought that cribbing was a nasty habit, something caused by boredom and it needed to be stopped with electric shocks or a metal collar that prevented the horse from distending his windpipe. But today, we know better.

Research has shown that when horses crib (or windsuck) that the noise it makes is actually not horses gulping air in, they are expelling air out… like a burp! Talk to naturally-oriented horse therapists and they’ll tell you that this is the way horses relieve upper digestive discomfort.

Horses can’t burp, but people can. So horses have to make themselves burp… just like some people can!

Once you understand that a horse is trying to relieve indigestion, all of a sudden it makes you think differently about putting that cribbing collar on the horse. If he can’t burp, he’s in gastric pain to varying degrees. And when people say cribbing causes colic, weight loss, etc. maybe it’s the other way around. Cribbing is an early warning sign of digestive distress so it’s only a matter of time before something like a colic will eventuate and it should be no surprise if the horse’s condition is poor.

Cribbing is the result of things like mineral deficiencies, a weak digestive system, feeds that are hard to digest, and stress (which shuts down the digestive system).

Please try not to be annoyed by your horse’s cribbing. Know that he is in digestive distress and do whatever it takes to change that. Cribbing is also not ‘contagious’. Horses don’t learn it from each other, they do it because they live in the same stressful circumstance and / or minerally deficient feeding regime.

********************

As for her biting the cross ties, maybe try grooming and saddling her without them. We shouldn't have to tie our horses to do those kinds of things. They should stand still, politely and respectfully. I never tie my horse to do anything. This might just be her "horseonality." Some horses are very oral and want to chew on EVERYTHING, but if you punish them for it they just learn to not respect you, and it obviously doesn't work. If she goes to bite the lead rope, or whatever, you need to make it into a game. Say "Let me help you!" and pull the rope into her mouth until it's a little uncomfortable for her. Then when she tries to spit it out, take it out and try again. This way she doesn't get punished for expressing her true nature, and you don't get frustrated. The behavior will either go away completely or lessen significantly.
     
    11-02-2007, 01:33 AM
  #5
Weanling
My girl always chews the rail when she is tied up. Like your girl she is a very busy horse and I feel it is her way of telling me to hurry up. I to also prefer her to chew the rail rather than me as she is often inclined to do
     
    11-02-2007, 02:35 AM
  #6
Foal
chewing

She wears a leather only coller and has coliced when she does not have it on. Article is interesting and I will do some more checking into it. I can't just leave her not tied to groom her, we are still working on moving around. I do find that if I lunge her first she is a little better. She has little issue with manners, and space and she is still learning her leg q's but doing quite well, she wants to please. Her big thing is on the trail. She does not like to go down hills, takes some (alot of encouragement), and patience and she takes the smalles steps I have ever seen. She looks around alot while out, which I find pretty amusing, she is really nosy, but that is part of what I love about her. She will decide she does not want to do somthing and just won't do it, She will just stand there like I am not even on her back. No fussing, no dangerous behavior. It's an "I am not doing it" attitude. But eventually we get it. This challenge she presents me is what I truely love about her.

She is a great girl and to spoiled by me. Lots of love, kisses and treats. She knows they are coming!!
     
    11-02-2007, 03:58 AM
  #7
Yearling
Hey guys,

A Tb I had use to chew on the post in his stable. It got that bad there was hardly anything left of the wooden post!!! A friend introduced this 'chilli' spray, she would spray it on eanything the horse looked like chewing on. I tried and it worked!

Her chewing on the lead rope is just a fustration, boredom thing. Most TB do it I have found :roll:
     
    11-02-2007, 07:09 AM
  #8
Foal
My horse just takes the lead rope and sucks on it while standing tied. I don't really mind because he's not being bad or chewing on me, so I just leave him alone. At least he's sucking on the lead rope and not chewing up the fences!
     
    11-02-2007, 09:00 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirithorse
Since you mentioned cribbing in your post, here is an interresting article I just found on cribbing. Might make you re-think that cribbing collar.

Cribbing

What an odd thing to watch a horse do… he grabs hold of the rail or the trough with his teeth and does this funny sucking, gulping thing over and over, and all the while he has this strange calm look about him.

For years it was commonly thought that cribbing was a nasty habit, something caused by boredom and it needed to be stopped with electric shocks or a metal collar that prevented the horse from distending his windpipe. But today, we know better.

Research has shown that when horses crib (or windsuck) that the noise it makes is actually not horses gulping air in, they are expelling air out… like a burp! Talk to naturally-oriented horse therapists and they’ll tell you that this is the way horses relieve upper digestive discomfort.

Horses can’t burp, but people can. So horses have to make themselves burp… just like some people can!

Once you understand that a horse is trying to relieve indigestion, all of a sudden it makes you think differently about putting that cribbing collar on the horse. If he can’t burp, he’s in gastric pain to varying degrees. And when people say cribbing causes colic, weight loss, etc. maybe it’s the other way around. Cribbing is an early warning sign of digestive distress so it’s only a matter of time before something like a colic will eventuate and it should be no surprise if the horse’s condition is poor.

Cribbing is the result of things like mineral deficiencies, a weak digestive system, feeds that are hard to digest, and stress (which shuts down the digestive system).

Please try not to be annoyed by your horse’s cribbing. Know that he is in digestive distress and do whatever it takes to change that. Cribbing is also not ‘contagious’. Horses don’t learn it from each other, they do it because they live in the same stressful circumstance and / or minerally deficient feeding regime.

********************

As for her biting the cross ties, maybe try grooming and saddling her without them. We shouldn't have to tie our horses to do those kinds of things. They should stand still, politely and respectfully. I never tie my horse to do anything. This might just be her "horseonality." Some horses are very oral and want to chew on EVERYTHING, but if you punish them for it they just learn to not respect you, and it obviously doesn't work. If she goes to bite the lead rope, or whatever, you need to make it into a game. Say "Let me help you!" and pull the rope into her mouth until it's a little uncomfortable for her. Then when she tries to spit it out, take it out and try again. This way she doesn't get punished for expressing her true nature, and you don't get frustrated. The behavior will either go away completely or lessen significantly.
Okay, no offense or anything, but that article is crap........it is definetely a boredom/bad habit thing, not a "burp". But whatever. And the whole chewing on crossties thing, I know where you are coming from. My horse does that all the time, though he doesn't crib.

Now, is she just chewing on the crossties, or actually trying to crib on them??
     
    11-03-2007, 10:05 AM
  #10
Showing
Some horses will "belch." Others with gastrointestinal problems preventing fluid from getting out of the stomach through the small intestine will spontaneously reflux. That being said cribbers will crib on anything. Here is a quote from The Horse publication:

Rhythmic actions (such as weaving, stall walking, and cribbing) performed by a confined animal develop in response to stress and are a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior that is difficult to halt. When a horse develops a compulsion, it's a clue that his needs for social interaction, security, mobility, natural feeding behavior, etc., are not being met. Once established, however, the behavior becomes a need in itself, and the horse insists on continuing it.

Twenty years ago, scientists at Tufts University led by Nicholas Dodman, BVMA, MRCVS, DVA, MAPBC, Dipl. ACVA ACVB, discovered why horses crib and why the habit is so persistent. Whenever an animal or human is stressed and engages in some type of repetitive activity as an outlet for pent-up energy, morphine-like proteins called endorphins are released in the brain. The constant activity triggers the endorphin release. The animal will keep up the habit even when no longer confined or stressed because he finds that repeating the pattern produces these calming "opiods" that suppress pain and create a pleasurable sensation.

Horses seem relaxed after a cribbing session. As the act of cribbing causes a temporary sedating effect, the horse becomes addicted to his internal chemicals. He craves the endorphins and gets his "fix" by performing the repetitive behavior. Some horses will actually stop eating and crib during the middle of a meal. This behavior is truly an addiction rather than just a "bad habit."
---------
Since the horse in question is a cribber it may be trying to crib on the cross-ties. I have a mare that will "chew" on rope but I think its more of a curiousity thing as in "gee, I wonder what that tastes like" since she isn't a cribber. She seems to like cotton robe more than nylon so it may be it does taste good.
     

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