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This is a discussion on Cribbing! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Cribbing and digestive disorders
  • Cribbing and ulcers

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    05-24-2009, 11:13 AM
Exclamation Cribbing!

Okay, so Bayberry is a beaver. He will crib constantley without his collar on. And it scares me, sometimes, when he's mad, he'll go to the nearest tree and just start chomping. So I keep his collar on 24/7 because we don't know what he does at night. And he can get VERY sick by it.

Last weekend I left it off for two days, And I have seen an improvement, No chewing on the barn, trees or fence, I've taken pictures of everything to make sure there hasnt been any other crib marks when the two days were over.

But I strongly disagree with cribbing collars, and I know he hates them as well. And i've tried supplements, and he doesnt mind them, but they don't help. Sometimes I catch him getting mad at a bucket and he starts cribbing at it.

Does anyone have any advice? Or had a horse that did crib at one time, and stopped? I just really want to stop using the Collar, but Wood Fence is expensive to replace these days.
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    05-24-2009, 12:40 PM
Have you tried painting on the nasty tasting stuff onto your wood? I had a cribber once and first we used the paint on the fence, but then we used regular cheap areosol hair spray on it. It tastes nasty and my cribber stopped, it took a little while but it worked. Hair spray is a lot cheaper than bitter apple or no chew.
    05-24-2009, 12:47 PM
My warmblood, when I got him, was a cribber. He had a collar but I refused to take it. I don't agree with throwing a collar on, that just masks the problem, it doesn't fix it. And some horses will crib with the collars on!

Cribbing is linked to digestive upset. The horse should always have free choice hay or be out on pasture 24/7. If the horse goes for too long without food the acid in the stomach will build up and irritate the stomach lining. This can also cause ulcers.

With my warmblood, I first put him on a supplement called Settlex. You can get it from I saw a difference after he was on it, however it didn't cure the cribbing. When it didn't, I decided to treat him for ulcers. Ulcers can be caused from stress, change in diet, acid build up, etc. You could have him scoped, or you could try what I did and treat him with U-Guard powder. I couldn't afford to treat him with the pastes. After I treated him for ulcers for the full 72 days his cribbing went away.

A lot of people think that cribbing is a vice and a habit and that the horse will never stop. That's bull, IMO. Cribbing is a physical issue and it CAN be fixed. It might take time, like it did with my warmblood, but the end result is what we all want for horses that crib......they stop completley.

It's important for horses to get treated like this, in some way, because if the horse cribs for too long he will start colicing and have a lot of health problems. I knew a horse who had to have colic surgery twice b/c of his cribbing.....but his owner never treated him for ulcers or anything, so he continues to crib and he's an extreme cribber.
    05-24-2009, 12:49 PM
Oh, I forgot to add, while I was treating my horse for ulcers I tried the McNasty spray on our fence and it did not stop him from trying to crib. I think he actually liked it, he looked at me as if to say "Hey, thanks for the seasoning on the wood!" LOL!
    05-24-2009, 12:59 PM
LOL Spirithorse, your cribber must have an interesting pallet hehe. Do you know of a product like settelex that helps with weaving? My TB is cleared of ulcers and has free choice hay but he still weaves. He is moving into a new stall with weave bars next week and he gets turned out everyday. The vet says he is just anxious, its mainly during feeding time or is his g/f filly goes out without him.
    05-24-2009, 01:11 PM
Well we don't stall our horses, and they get 24/7 access to hay. I havent noticed him really cribbing that bad, but we've tried the spray and the paint and he still got at it. It doesnt stop him. But what I'm concerned most about is before I got him, he had colic. I check him everyday, when I notice that he's unhappy, that's mainly when I catch him biting. I havent seen any signs of colic but that's all I'm worried about, because he has had it before and the rescue owner says that it was major. And I've gotten him checked for possible ulcers, and he's clear of that, so that's a plus.

He's not a major cribber, but when he gets at it, he can get bad. But its not an EVERYDAY thing, which I am happy about.
    05-24-2009, 05:00 PM
When he was checked for ulcers, was he tubed? It's the only way to diagnose them for sure.

Cribbing, however, is not 'linked' to digestive problems. It's usually linked to boredom, and then when the horses cribs rather then eat, it creates ulcers (a period of 6-8 hours of fasting can cause ulcers!) Then the horses crib to relieve the ulcer pain, but it only makes them worse. There's a looot of misinformation out there about ulcers, so if you want a little more information on it I'll be happy to indulge. ;)

I have to disagree with the fact that cribbing can be stopped so easily. Just because you cured one horse doesn't mean everyone else is just doing it wrong. ;) Cribbing isn't really a habit, it's more of an addiction--have you ever dealt with a smoker who was heavily addicted? They may want to stop, and they may TRY to stop, but the brain tells them they have to smoke. It's a PHYSICAL addiction, NOT a mental one.

So first off, you have to make sure your horse doesn't crib. Cribbing just a couple times, or just for an hour, is not an option. Horses can colic, wood is destroyed, their teeth get badly worn, cribbing can cause ulcers--Cribbing at all, or even a little, is not an option. Also know that horses can EASILY crib without leaving marks on the wood. Cribbing is not chewing!

Second, I'm not sure why you're so against to the collar. My paint gelding cribs because he was raised in a stall (darn show barns). He's now out 25/7 on pasture, had been treated and managed for ulcers to be on the safe side, has plenty of grass and hay... and still may want to crib if the other horses bother him. Again, like people and cigarettes--if people get stressed, they want a cigarette. If my gelding gets stressed... he wants to crib. He wears a simple nutcracker collar, and the only time it does anything is if he tries to crib. I can fit my whole hand under it, it doesn't leave marks... Now, I USED to use the 'miracle collar', and THAT thing was a torture device. No pain my butt! It left wounds all over his head, I had to put it on so tight that the skin would bubble out around it... I hated it, and he hated it, and I bought this 6 dollar piece of nylon and he practically puts his head in it.

You can paint fences if that works, but horses will also crib on plastic buckets and water troughs (especially when they find out that you painted the fence). The paint doesn't stick to the plastic so well, so then you're out of options with the paint. All in all, if you can't manage the horse after treating for ulcers/boredom, then a collar that fits correctly is your best bet. You could get a wire muzzle that allows them to eat/drink... but I think the horses hate them more. ;) Sometimes cribbing has a reason (ulcers or boredom), and then you have to treat the problem. Sometimes cribbing is an addiction, and you have no choice but to treat the resulting behavior because of it.

Good luck!
    05-27-2009, 01:29 PM
Actually, cribbing HAS been linked to digestive problems. I read a study awhile ago that did link it. I was doing research like mad when I got my horse since he used to be a cribber.

I never said it would be quick and easy to fix this issue. I looked into a lot of products, read testimonials, compared things, tried things, etc. All my work paid off, for his health and well-being.

Like I said, the collar only masks the problem, it doesn't fix it. And just like any addiction, if it is in fact an addiction, it can be broken.

As for weaving, there is nothing for that, like a product I mean. Weaving is an extreme displaced behavior a horse does when he is stressed, due to physical or mental stress. Sometimes just giving the horse something to do, like hanging a jolly ball in the stall will be enough to get them to stop. Weaving is harder to fix b/c there are so many things that can cause it, so it's like you have to do a complete lifestyle change to get to the root of the problem.
    05-27-2009, 02:11 PM
If cribbing has been linked to digestive problems, it is the cribbing that caused it and not the other way around. A good friend had a mare that cribbed and her colt started the habit right after he was weaned.

Cribbing is most certainly an addiction. It causes the release of endorphins and actually gives them a "runner" high". Can you cure an addiction in humans, mostly, yes. However, the human can understand the social and physical implications of the behavior - a horse does not and can not think in those terms. So to cure an addiction in a horse can not really happen. Can you alter his behavior? Sure, just like Pavlov's dog was taught to salivate at the sound of a bell.

Secondly, it sounds like the OP's horse is as much a chewer as, perhaps a cribber. Here is a video of a mare that I got two years ago. I returned her when I saw her doing this since she was sold as sound with no vices. The owners never saw her do it since they only went out to feed twice a day and never rode her or spent time with her. This is cribbing, not chewing. Look at her eyes and ears, she is clearly "high".

    05-27-2009, 05:46 PM
I believe that the cribbing is a result of the digestive upset. The study I read told about an experiment that was done. The theory was that the horse was actually trying to produce syliva to ease the stomach upset due to excess stomach acid. The result was that the horses who cribbed produced signifacantly more syliva than horses who did not, and the horses who had a worse case of ulcers (this study went along with ulcers as well) cribbed more. So it's now believed that the cribbing action is the horse trying to "burp" (which they can't do) to release stomach upset, and to produce more syliva to ease the irritation.

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