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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone heard of Mike Hughes who reteaches a horse's thinking to no crib. He sells his info by downloadables and for $10 or less. Has anyone tried his dvds on cribbing? I'd be interested in hearing of your success. I don't have a cribber but always willing to learn something new.
 

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Only success I've had with cribbing is actually treating what causes cribbing and that is usually ulcers.

I put all my cribbers and OTTBs on Equishure from Smartpak for a minimum of 30 but usually 60 days. I have a 95% success rate alone with that treatment.
 

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I've seen his website before and wondered the same thing. If there were some way to train a horse out of cribbing I'd certainly give it a try.

Of course, my horse isn't the "typical" cribber- he's an easy keeper, not nervous or high strung at all. I tried several different supplements after I got him thinking it could be ulcer related (U-gard, Succeed, and I think at least one other thing...) but none made any difference on the frequency of cribbing. At this point I'm pretty sure there's no active ailment behind it; it's just a bad habit.
 

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I've seen his website before and wondered the same thing. If there were some way to train a horse out of cribbing I'd certainly give it a try.

Of course, my horse isn't the "typical" cribber- he's an easy keeper, not nervous or high strung at all. I tried several different supplements after I got him thinking it could be ulcer related (U-gard, Succeed, and I think at least one other thing...) but none made any difference on the frequency of cribbing. At this point I'm pretty sure there's no active ailment behind it; it's just a bad habit.
I dislike the use of the terms "bad habit" or "vice" in relation to stereotypic behaviours like cribbing, because it makes it sound like it's something the horse is choosing to do. The reason your boy won't be stopping cribbing even if the initial cause is eliminated, is because the action releases endorphins in the brain. So basically, the horse becomes addicted to the feel good feeling he gets when he performs the behaviour.

Essentially, it's a compulsion. I've read a few studies that found that if the horse was prevent from performing the behaviour (weave grills, cribbing collars etc.), the actually performed it more once it was removed. Picture a smoker going on a 8 hour plane ride - you often see them chimneying cigarettes outside the airport after the flight :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Indie, that's what I was thinking. He's carefully to not give any clues. Since he doesn't charge much people won't go after him for a refund because failure will be their fault, not his.
 

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Yeah, don't see it working personally but I guess its worth trying if someone is really worried about the behavior. My fill did/does (I sold her) crib quite a bit...and I DID find a lot of things that decreased her cribbing such as free choice hay, lots of room to run around (she cribbed like CRAZY when stalled), and buddies to hang out with, but no cure. I never tried a collar because I think they're just a gimmick, but I did try 'nastifying' the surfaces she cribbed on. She did it anyway. I tried changing her feed to nearly all forage (very little concentrated feed...and only that because she was a SUPER hard keeper) Like Indie said, its a compulsion or an addiction...it can't just be fixed easily. She actually cribbed so much when she was really young that she wore both of her right front teeth down to nubs.
 

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Miracle collar's actually work and are well worth the investment. I've had a few OTTBs that crib even after ulcer treatment but they are addicted to the endorphins so those need a collar. Horses without addictive personalities usually stop the cribbing once the cause of cribbing is taken care of.
 

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Last year I had a couple of horses scanned for ulcers (both were clear though the yearling had had them after a traumatic injury) they were well on the way to clearing. Interestingly, I asked this vet who does a lot of scanning for ulcers, the relationship between cribbing and ulcers and he said that the incidents he had come across of ulcers and cribbing were very low. Less than 1:500. He was researching it so knew his facts.

As Indie says it is the horse becoming addicted to the endorphin kick.

I have had several horses that cribbed, some a collar helped to reduce them doing it but most continued. These were horses that were of the 'nervy/worry' type.
The worse was a home bred TB that started when he was a yearling out 24/7 I though I saw him crib one morning and stood and watched, he didn't do it again but by the next morning he was at it full time.
A lot of horses by the same sire cribbed.

He was fanatical over it and I tried everything to get him to stop. When I finally did manage to stop him he became so depressed and miserable that I just let him do it. He never got colic, never affected his performance as a jump racehorse, nor his condition.
 

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Last year I had a couple of horses scanned for ulcers (both were clear though the yearling had had them after a traumatic injury) they were well on the way to clearing. Interestingly, I asked this vet who does a lot of scanning for ulcers, the relationship between cribbing and ulcers and he said that the incidents he had come across of ulcers and cribbing were very low. Less than 1:500. He was researching it so knew his facts.

As Indie says it is the horse becoming addicted to the endorphin kick.

I have had several horses that cribbed, some a collar helped to reduce them doing it but most continued. These were horses that were of the 'nervy/worry' type.
The worse was a home bred TB that started when he was a yearling out 24/7 I though I saw him crib one morning and stood and watched, he didn't do it again but by the next morning he was at it full time.
A lot of horses by the same sire cribbed.

He was fanatical over it and I tried everything to get him to stop. When I finally did manage to stop him he became so depressed and miserable that I just let him do it. He never got colic, never affected his performance as a jump racehorse, nor his condition.
In my opinion, letting them do it is the best thing for them. They're not people, they don't understand why they should quit whatever kick it is that's bad for them, they just feel the compulsion to do it.

My tutor (very experienced nutritionist, also been a vet nurse at one of the most advanced equine hospitals in the country) has a horse that cribs, and it just sits in the field 24/7 with a post she put up for it to crib on, and since she's done that, he's a lot happy and doesn't ruin her fences :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A friend has a chronic cribber and when the top board was oiled to discourage this the caught him twisting his head sideways to crib on a vertical plank. I've often wondered if the origins of this is not having fiber 24/7. One 3 yr old filly on a feed twice a day regimen was a horrible cribber, mouthful of hay, crib, mouthful of hay crib. Research is leaning in the direction that the horse isn't sucking air in but relieving stomach gas caused by ulcers. Ulcers are caused by stress which is caused by situation or not a steady supply of fiber.
 

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A friend has a chronic cribber and when the top board was oiled to discourage this the caught him twisting his head sideways to crib on a vertical plank. I've often wondered if the origins of this is not having fiber 24/7. One 3 yr old filly on a feed twice a day regimen was a horrible cribber, mouthful of hay, crib, mouthful of hay crib. Research is leaning in the direction that the horse isn't sucking air in but relieving stomach gas caused by ulcers. Ulcers are caused by stress which is caused by situation or not a steady supply of fiber.
This is very interesting to me, because I have a mare cribbing currently. She is severely underweight, and is getting fed three times a day, high fat feed. However, she does not have access to hay regularly. She is on pasture, but it is very low grass. I wonder if you are right, because I have thought the same. She has a collar on, which has reduced, but not stopped the cribbing. She has been cleared by the vet for everything...only thing left to do is pull blood work to search for unseen illness, but she is otherwise healthy.
 

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I agree that once they start, its the endorphin rush that keeps them at it, and for that reason many never quit. I know some who never crib out in the open, just when stalled, and others who crib CONSTANTLY, on every available surface. when they are wearing down their teeth rapidly, or destroying the fences, I think its necessary to stop them if possible. My BO had a couple that were pretty bad, for one the miracle collar worked well, for the other a leather collar that was one strap, with a leather cylinder underneath. Stopped her completely.

I think it depends on the horse as to how it starts. For some its just the boredom of stall confinement, for others maybe the discomfort caused by an unsuitable diet, an injury or ulcers. Regardless, once they start you have to deal with the issue for life.
 

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A friend has a chronic cribber and when the top board was oiled to discourage this the caught him twisting his head sideways to crib on a vertical plank. I've often wondered if the origins of this is not having fiber 24/7. One 3 yr old filly on a feed twice a day regimen was a horrible cribber, mouthful of hay, crib, mouthful of hay crib. Research is leaning in the direction that the horse isn't sucking air in but relieving stomach gas caused by ulcers. Ulcers are caused by stress which is caused by situation or not a steady supply of fiber.
I'd be interested in reading any studies you could link to showing that horses are expelling air from the stomach when cribbing. A while ago I saw that Parelli thinks they're burping, but at the time I couldn't find any scientific evidence to back that up. I seem to recall reading somewhere that x-rays had shown that air is drawn into the esophagus, as previously thought, but then most of it is expelled and not swallowed. I'll have to see if I can dig up that source again...
 

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I'd be interested in reading any studies you could link to showing that horses are expelling air from the stomach when cribbing. A while ago I saw that Parelli thinks they're burping, but at the time I couldn't find any scientific evidence to back that up. I seem to recall reading somewhere that x-rays had shown that air is drawn into the esophagus, as previously thought, but then most of it is expelled and not swallowed. I'll have to see if I can dig up that source again...
This McGreevy study isn't it, is it?

Radiographic and endoscopic study of horses performing an oral based stereotypy - MCGREEVY - 2010 - Equine Veterinary Journal - Wiley Online Library

I get a little confused on here sometimes, as you guys over in the US seem to categorise both cribbing and windsucking together as cribbing, whereas over here they are consider two separate behaviours - cribbing as just the compulsive chewing of wood, and windsucking involving the aerophagia aspect as well.
 

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I've had a few cribbers, treated them for ulcers and had them scoped to confirm but never had one that stopped cribbing afterwards because it does become a habit they enjoy - in fact stopping them seems to make them more stressful than leaving them alone to get on with it which IMO is likely to cause ulcers
I never had one that was underweight or had colic from cribbing - but they are a pain when they pull mangers off the walls and fence posts over - that's when you need to get inventive!!!
I'm not sure if the ulcers cause the cribbing or if cribbing and ulcers have a common source that can result in one or the other or both
 

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This McGreevy study isn't it, is it?

Radiographic and endoscopic study of horses performing an oral based stereotypy - MCGREEVY - 2010 - Equine Veterinary Journal - Wiley Online Library

I get a little confused on here sometimes, as you guys over in the US seem to categorise both cribbing and windsucking together as cribbing, whereas over here they are consider two separate behaviours - cribbing as just the compulsive chewing of wood, and windsucking involving the aerophagia aspect as well.
That's the one :)

In US terminology, cribbing is when the horse latches his teeth onto a surface and makes the "burping" sound. Windsucking is the same behavior without latching on to a surface. Wood chewing is simply called wood chewing, although a surprisingly high number of people associate cribbing and wood chewing (thinking wood chewing leads to cribbing, etc.)
 

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That's the one :)

In US terminology, cribbing is when the horse latches his teeth onto a surface and makes the "burping" sound. Windsucking is the same behavior without latching on to a surface. Wood chewing is simply called wood chewing, although a surprisingly high number of people associate cribbing and wood chewing (thinking wood chewing leads to cribbing, etc.)
Yeah, see for us (well, what I've been taught), windsucking is the latching on and sucking, whereas cribbing is that latching on/biting without the aerophagia aspect. Weird, huh? :lol:
 

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I don't know...my filly had 24/7 access to the nicest hay I could find for her (I'd put an entire 50 lb bale in for her in a stall at night to ensure she didn't run out) and I didn't feed her much concentrate...2-2.5 lbs at the most...and she still cribbed. No ulcers, I had her checked twice. She didn't act like her belly ever hurt either. It may have started from a lack of hay since she was emanciated when I got her, or from stress since she was very sick and stressed when I got her, but it sure didn't continue for that reason. She did crib MORE in a stall than a pasture, but even with green grass, pasture, friends, lots of room, constant forage, and no health problems, she still went over to the metal gate a few times a day and cribbed.
 

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Yeah, see for us (well, what I've been taught), windsucking is the latching on and sucking, whereas cribbing is that latching on/biting without the aerophagia aspect. Weird, huh? :lol:
I don't know when/where the confusion began but I'd heard the same as you from some sources so out of curiosity I dug out and 'consulted' a revised edition of Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners written in 1877 by Captain M Horace Hayes FRCVS and he describes Crib biting as the horse seizing some projection and then swallowing air and wind sucking as the horse doing the same thing but without seizing any object
 

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I just bought a horse that has never been stalled, and plan to stall him at night ONLY in my new place. He will be stalled next to a wind sucker/cribber.... will he pick up the habit since he is in a new place, nervous, and learning how to stall?
 
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