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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2009
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    21

    Question Cribbing

    I recently got a horse who is a terrible cribber. He wears a cribbing collar, but it has to be tightened to the extreme or he will find something to crib on. I feel so bad because even with the extra fuzzies I have put around the collar it is starting to leave quite bad sores. Does anyone have any ideas of anything that can be done to help with his cribbing? I know he can't be cured but I would like to help reduce the incidence of his cribbing so I can loosen his collar or take it off for periods of time.

    (He is turned out for 8 to 12 hours daily with a buddy, and even has to wear his collar during turnout because he will crib on fence posts to the point where he is pulling them out of the ground. He is given free choice hay and a pelleted high fat grain as he is quite underweight.)

    I have heard about people adding baking soda or alfalfa to neutralize stomach acidity, which can sometimes help with some cribbing problems. Has anyone tried this?

    Hope this message makes sense as I am writing it on the go. Thanks for any input, I sincerely appreciate it!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2008
    Posts
    660

    Default

    My first OTTB cribbed (no ulcers either when we scoped) and I had two collars that I rotated (a miracle collar and a nutcracker type) so that he didn't get sores.

    There is a surgery you can do that is somewhat successful and can be done standing (generally only as a last resort).

    I'm sure others will have more ideas....



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 19, 2006
    Location
    Maryland
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    575

    Default

    How about using a cribbing muzzle? It pretty much looks like a grazing muzzle, but allows them to eat without too much restriction. You can find them in miost cataloges under the grazing muzzle sections. They are metal. One of the horses in my barn wears one 24/7 because he is a terrible cribber and was getting sores. He can eat his hay and grain with no problem, he just cant crib.
    Happy Hour-TB
    Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg
    Isadora - Palomino TB



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2003
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    2,975

    Default

    What type of collar is it? My guy had a Miracle Collar on and the only way it worked was by tightening it to the extreme... eventually it just stopped working, so we switched him to a leather strap collar. He had a few months "off" from wearing the collar, but once he started pulling down fence boards, we put the regular strap back on, but it wasn't doing its job anymore.

    I just started using a nutcracker type (leather strap with the metal) and covered the metal part with vetrap so it doesn't pinch... so far, so good, and no sores yet. I also bought a muzzle to rotate that. Also try a french cribbing collar - similar to the nutcracker, but it's all leather and not as bendy as the nutcracker.
    -my life-
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    2,205

    Default

    My mare couldn't wear a collar- even with the fleece and tightened down she would crib through it and ended up with scars, or would try to rub it off and lacerated her eyelids a few times. I gave up, and never tried the muzzle because I figured it would lead to the same issues. What I did was I treated her for ulcers, added alfalfa to her diet, and have tried to remove as many cribbing spots as possible. Since the ulcer treatment she is cribbing less.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
    In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Ocala
    Posts
    180

    Default

    I've know one OTTB that completely stopped cribbing after the surgery, but it can be a bit pricey.
    I've also known a couple of horses that have had wire wrapped around their top incisors and for a couple that has worked out great. Something I would consider.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Clinton, BC
    Posts
    1,376

    Default

    I let my cribbers crib as much as they like. No problems with this plan. One filly started the day she was weaned, and cribs a lot. She's happy, fat, and healthy like that. I used to use straps, sometimes they will slow down or stop a horse, but the horse still has the addiction, the craving for the behaviour. I find that the roots of aquiring the addiction can be very basic to the horse's nature, his/her personality. IMO, putting a strap on a cribber is like taking the addiction away from any addict forcibly, it can put other psychological pressures on them, add stress to their lives. As long as a cribber learns how much he/she can crib without making themselves sick with gas colic, they will crib as much as they need to to satisfy their addiction without damaging themselves, and no more than that. Turning out into a large pasture with a herd slows them down substantially, just because there are less solid surfaces around on which to use for this purpose. At feed time, if there is a good cribbing post around close by, a horse can both eat and crib as much as they need to without interupting the momentum of the meal. I have three cribbers at the moment, two broodies and the four year old filly who started as a weaner. Nobody else has felt the need to learn by watching. If somebody starts cribbing, they were going to start anyways, whether they watched somebody else or not. The need to crib is triggered by stress, aquiring a repetitive behaviour that releases endorphines as a habit gets established. They tend to become addicted to the endorphones. Oh, I have one other who only cribs when he is brewing a hoof abcess... the stress of the pain of the abcess requires that he cribs at that time. As soon as the abcess is drained and is cleared up, he stops cribbing. I guess he has less of an "addictive personality" than the other cribbers.

    So I would suggest that if your cribber is not responding well to a strap, take the strap off. Let him crib, give him a good post to crib on. Feed alfalfa, reduce any source of stress for him that you can. But understand that much of what he feels and how he views the world comes from within him, that different things stress different individuals in varying manners and to varying degrees. He may have felt some stress at some point in his life, and beginning to crib was how he dealt with it, the addiction is left over from that. Things that stress one individual do not effect others in the same way. We all deal with stress as best as we can, and sometimes we all need a crutch to help us through life. Our value is in what we can do, not in our personal habits that help us through the day. My cribbers have talent. I have actually found through the many years of owning and competing with horses, that cribbers tend to be the more sensitive type, the type that CARES, the "overachievers". The passive land whale type of horse is less likely to be a cribber. But if you want one that will give you that extra effort to clear the oxer, to put his nose ahead at the wire, sometimes it is the personality of a cribber or a potential cribber that will get you that amount of try. Some horses have the potential to be a cribber, but just haven't felt the particular stress that triggers the behaviour yet in their lives. If they never feel that particular stress, they do not learn to crib. I wish that they would not crib, but if they do, it is their business, their life, their decision to do so. It may be a flaw in their personality, but can be a useful flaw. I can accept flaws, I do not require perfection in others. As long as I do not have to be CONSTANTLY treating their belly aches, and they keep their body weight OK, I let them crib. If I am forced to use a strap, the french strap (solid leather) is the one I use. If this does not work, I'd try the surgery next (cutting the nerve to the muscle that pulls the air down) rather than a muzzle or any of the straps with spikes or electric current etc. The surgery may have to be redone every few years with nerves growing back, or new muscles can be used to effect the cribbing also, so that can be a problem. It is not an intrusive surgery, but I have never had to have it done on any of mine.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 1999
    Location
    Minnesota
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    1,286

    Default

    NancyM - that is a beautiful post.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

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    I agree to some extent with NancyM, but that isn't always a feasible option. I had a horrible cribber once, he would crib on a metal t-post... he would crib on crossties... he would crib on me if he could! I had the best success with a miracle collar with the little leather protrusion on the underside cut off, so it was sort of a cribbing collar on the bottom, but a miracle collar on the top. This worked pretty well and was a little less likely to choke than a regular cribbing collar. Also fresh grass and a stimulating environment always decreased the cribbing - though it was no cure.
    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2009
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    566

    Default

    I would try a muzzle, I know a lot of cribbers that are allowed to crib that end up colicing- even if they have a collar on they are able to crib.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
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    2,627

    Default Hay

    I agree with Nancy M. I let my cribbers crib. I do feed free choice hay.

    One of my cribbers will pull down fencing so he wears the french style strap when he goes outside, just he doesn't pull fencing down. I really hate repairing fence.

    I am quite entertained when other horse people come to the barn and cringe at the sound of our synchronized cribbing.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
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    2,627

    Default Hay 2

    Oh and another thing, we install an inexpensive piece of 2 x 4 to the top part of the stall. We do not have the metal bars so the horses have easy access to cribbing.

    Again, we install this 2 x 4 by the length of the stall. The horse cribs on this $2.50 piece of wood and we replace it when it wears out rather than replacing the more expensive wood of the actual stall wall.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
    Location
    San Diego
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    Since my horse is in a pipe corral, I put boards up and where it is open I put rope (marine grade for tying boats) around the pipe. That way when she cribs she is cribbing on the rope, not on the pipe. I'd rather replace rope than have her wear down her teeth.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
    In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    5,707

    Default I think management depends on if it is your farm or not

    My horse cribs more when his tummy hurts. Ulcergard/Gastrogard did the trick there. He also has 24x7 access to pasture hay and 2x daily alfalfa. I've tried nutcracker, French and Miracle collars and the Miracle works the best for him. I didn't do the muzzle because I need him to get as much hay in that belly as possible (hard keeper).

    If someone finds a boarding barn that allows you to have a horse that "just cribs" let me know!!

    We did move him over to a different (electic) pasture, but he discovered the water tank (other pastures have auto waters) and picked it up with his teeth if the water got low enough.

    Finally, cribbing creates muscles I do not want on this horse.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

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  15. #15
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    Mar. 25, 2008
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    Goshen NY
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    Default Hay

    Interestingly, my cribber cribs less when he doesn't feel well. It's a good indicator to me that he's not feeling right.

    You're right about having your own place and letting them crib. I tell people who have boarding barns that I'm bringing my cribber and they practically throw garlic necklaces at me and hold their fingers in the sign of the cross.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
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    San Diego
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    I've been lucky, I board at a large facility and have had no issues with my horse cribbing and management. The only issues I have had were with other boarders trying to tell me that A. my horse cribs, B. it is a bad habit, or C. how to fix it.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
    In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 1999
    Posts
    14,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mypaintwattie View Post
    I've been lucky, I board at a large facility and have had no issues with my horse cribbing and management. The only issues I have had were with other boarders trying to tell me that A. my horse cribs, B. it is a bad habit, or C. how to fix it.
    Management may begin to give you problems when
    A other boarders don't want to be stabled near your horse
    B other boarders begin to refuse to have their horse turned out near yours
    C boarders begin to move out of the barn because of your horse cribbing
    D management becomes upset at the damage to their property
    E new prospective boarders don't want to move in because they saw your horse cribbing



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Clinton, BC
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    1,376

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    My horse cribs more when his tummy hurts. Ulcergard/Gastrogard did the trick there. He also has 24x7 access to pasture hay and 2x daily alfalfa. I've tried nutcracker, French and Miracle collars and the Miracle works the best for him. I didn't do the muzzle because I need him to get as much hay in that belly as possible (hard keeper).

    If someone finds a boarding barn that allows you to have a horse that "just cribs" let me know!!

    We did move him over to a different (electic) pasture, but he discovered the water tank (other pastures have auto waters) and picked it up with his teeth if the water got low enough.

    Finally, cribbing creates muscles I do not want on this horse.
    Our is a boarding facility, send him here if you like. We have been sent cribbers over the years whom other boarding facilities have refused to take, or who have caused havoc with their cribbing. Strangely enough, my four year old cribber mentioned earlier has very little throat muscle development due to her cribbing, how much development they get in those throat muscles depends very much on the actual muscles used by an individual. There are many different muscles and forces involved that can effect forcing the air down... this is why some can crib through a strap and some can't, and why the surgery that cuts the nerve to the main muscle usually used to crib sometimes does not work for every horse. To look at my filly's throatlatch area, you would not even know she is a cribber (you gotta look at her front teeth to see what damage she has done there- fortunately, front teeth do not seem to be a necessity for a horse, even a pasture kept, grazing horse). I just find that cribbing bothers people a whole lot more than it bothers horses. Yes, they will often give themselves a gas colic once or twice, when they are new to the addiction. Help them through that with treatment, and most of them learn to not do it to themselves again, to be more careful. They are like human smokers who smoke enough to get their fix, but not enough to make themselves vomit on a regular basis, as they become educated in the management of their addiction.

    If I had the choice of an athletic companion who is either a smoker or a cribber, I would choose the cribber.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
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    Clinton, BC
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    1,376

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
    Management may begin to give you problems when
    A other boarders don't want to be stabled near your horse
    B other boarders begin to refuse to have their horse turned out near yours
    C boarders begin to move out of the barn because of your horse cribbing
    D management becomes upset at the damage to their property
    E new prospective boarders don't want to move in because they saw your horse cribbing
    But these are all related to people being uneducated about cribbers. Other people's horses who are not potential cribbers (do not have the sensitive, over achieving personality) and who are not under a stress to which they are sensitive as a trigger, will not start the habit. If they do start the habit, they were going to anyway, due to the stress, not due to watching a cribber. Damage to property is managable, not nearly as bad as fence chewing. If you are running a facility that caters to boarders who are not knowledgable horsemen as your rudder for what does and does not happen there, what sort of a facility is that?



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    226

    Default

    The cribbing muzzles

    http://www.jefferspet.com/ssc/produc...=1&pf_id=13234

    or

    http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...cd2=1257608441

    Do not help many horses as we have and I have seen many horses just take their chins or the muzzle and place it over things and pull backwards and crib. It is a myth that they need their teeth.

    OUr cribbers are allowed to crib as we do not have a lot of wood to destroy. At horse shows each cribber has a bucket we hang in stall which they prefer to the show stall door. They all (4 of them) hold their weight and are so happy. Two cary terrible scars on forehead from collars before they came to our barn. Now we also have seen 2 of them crib less and one was from a virus and one was from ulcers. Yep the ulcers did not make him crib more but less. We fixed the ulcers and he is happy as a clam. I KNOW from my childhood though that some horses crib and do not eat enough, we happen to be lucky with ours currently
    To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart



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