Fighting Off Your Horse’s Cribbing Habit

Cribbing is an obsessive activity that most tamed horses pick up. Some people wonder why it is picked up by horses that are in the stables instead of those who are roaming the wild. The answer is this: although there may be some reasons why cribbing develops in the horse’s behaviour, the underlying cause of cribbing is boredom. Yes, boredom is the reason why most tamed horses pick up this bad habit. Here are some of the reasons why wild horses do not pick up this habit and why tamed horses do.

Horses who feed on grass have high fiber intake while tamed or stabled horses are fed rations that are concentrated and cause them to have high energy levels. Cribbing can not be observed in pasture-raised horses since they have a lot of activity going on as they forage for food in the wild and in their grazing lands. On the other hand, tamed horses who feed on high-energy food are kept in their stables for a long time and left with nothing to do which leave them nowhere to place the energy that they have. Because of this the inherent grazing nature that they have are repressed which intensify their level of boredom. They substitute this repressed instincts into substitutes acts such as cribbing. The higher the level of boredom, the more repetitive this behaviour becomes which later on turns into a habit.

The reason why this becomes a habit is because of the pleasure that the horses get when they suck in air and release a belching sound. One way to make the act less pleasurable is by painting on the fences, gates and divisions that the horse uses to press their teeth on, with an anti-crib fluid. Doing this will make the object less appetizing. If you cannot find any of these fluids, you can mix up your own by using petroleum jelly and cayenne pepper. Before you use anything, make sure that you consult your veterinarian about the possible side effects of any mixture that you make. While it is good to reduce the frequency of cribbing, it is also important that all the techniques you use in doing so won’t harm the horses in any way.

You can also reduce the frequency of cribbing by altering the appearance of the object that the horse bites on so that it will not appear to be tempting. Take away all items that are crib-friendly. Do not leave the top gate open and cover the stall edges with a metal trim.

Lastly, adjust the horse’s feed basin or water bucket. Raise it to a level that is as high as the horse’s chest and remove all edges that are of the same height. Doing this will disable the horse to bend his neck.

If you have done all these measures but your horse still picks up the habit, it is best that you consult your veterinarian to make sure that there is no medical explanation of the cause of your horse’s cribbing.

Don’t worry, these very bad habits can be broken.
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