I have an 18 year old TB gelding that I keep stalled in the summer and he is mainly turned out in a largish paddock in the winter on rough board. He has gotten progressivly worse over the last month with his cribbing.
A little background... I got Boogie aprox 5 years ago in January and was told his cribbing was controlled with a miracle collar, bought one, it has worked so far. I have started back to school and in the last month have been extremly busy with work, school, and we had his pasture/stall mate get sick and have to be put to sleep.
Boogie's cribbing has gotten out of hand even with the miracle collar. The barn owners are turning him out all day in a smalish dry lot (no grass/drought) and he is bored. He is getting extra hay and sucking that up like a vaccuum. He is due to go to his winter accomidations in two weeks.
How can I slow down or stop his cribbing???? I need help!!!
Don't know if this is the solution for you, but I just stopped trying to prevent my mare from cribbing. Did enough research that the most damage she was doing was to the barn and her teeth.
I put a handicap bar in her stall at just the right height. Covered it in heavy plastic. Put molasses on it and she quickly learned that was her place to crib.
Interestingly, she cribbed much less when she could crib as much as she liked. She did it less and less till she only did it after she had her meals. Kind of like having a cigarette, lol
Now she is turned out for retirement on grass pasture and the cribbing has disappeared.
I think the slow feed hay net could certainly help. When forage is available, cribbing seems to go away.
Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare
My boy's cribbing gets worse when his ulcers flare up, when he has to be on more grain, when his turnout is less than usual, when he is stressed, when his living situation changes, etc.... in other words, lots of factors to consider. Honestly, going out on his "winter" pasture board sounds like it may be the best thing for him, as long as he has plenty of hay/grass to constantly chomp on, and is getting all the necessary vit/minerals that he needs.
Also, it's possible you simply need to tighten the Miracle Collar a hole or two. Like all other leathers, they do stretch. Once he's stopped cribbing constantly, you can try loosening again. My OTTB will spend more time cribbing than eating (even with premium hays and great pasture) if given the opportunity. The MC has been a true miracle cure for him.
I have tightened the collar, and he has small piles of hay scattered throughout his turnout until I can get him moved or a smaller hole haynet ordered (whichever comes first!).
His cribbing has gotten worse since we had to put his pasture/stall mate down. He was attached at the hip to her. He seems lost without her. There are other horses there but, none like Mega. He panics when they are brought in and he is out. When he goes to his winter setting there is the old mare that he has bonded with as well, so hopefully that will help aleviate some of his anxiety.
I've heard that some cribbers crib because of ulcers, so ulcer meds would be worth a shot. Added stress from a pasture buddy dying could trigger an ulcer flare up and increase his cribbing.
I second getting a small mesh hay net. It will at least double the amount of time it takes him to eat his hay. If you wanted to you could buy several and place them throughout his paddock, that way he has to wander around. A toy like the Amazing Graze filled with hay cubes could also do wonders if his cribbing is boredom related.
Also, you could try a different collar, put some sort of no chew spray on his usual crib spots, and add a cage muzzle into the mix.
Boogie LOVES the chewstop spray! I have sprayed his normal crib spots and he seems to prefer to crib there! lol Silly horse! I'll look into a different style of collar, the "nut-cracker" style absolutly does nothing on him, he might as well be naked.
Oddly enough he doesn't seem to crib in his stall, just the smaller turn-out...
My OTTB is a cribber. Like, chronic level, chain cribber. We went through two Miracle collars, because he would stretch them out (also because the mini in the field loved to hang from it, but that's a different ARGH for a different day). My vet recommended the Dare collar- it's more expensive than the Miracle, but it's taken years to stretch the way the Miracle did.
Now he's cribbing despite the collar, and I think it has something to do with being off work due to lameness. When he's in the field with his boys, he's happy, but when he's in his paddock/stall... well, he's pulled the top rail of his fence off twice in the past month, despite the collar.
He hasn't cribbed like this since his last barn, where he was turned out with far too many horses, with far too little food, and was the low man on the totem pole- he was very stressed there, and for some reason, he's stressed again.
Treating for ulcers wouldn't be bad. Finding something for him to occupy himself would be good- we put the Crib-no-more goo on his stall at the first barn, and he actually occupied his time with dipping hay in water and wiping off the goo so he could crib later. Problem is, once they get bored with that, they'll go back to cribbing. It really is a lot like smoking in humans.
I have an old TB gelding who cribs. His cribbing is significantly reduced when his herd situation is acceptable to him. Not always easy because he's a turd to get along with .
Anyway, when he was going through one particularly bad cribbing phase, I started giving him chaste tree berry. I ordered the whole seeds from herbalcom.com and ground them in a coffee grinder. About 2tbs a day to start then I backed it down and weaned him off of it.
Cribbing activated the dopamine pathway in horses, and chaste tree berry has dopamine agonist activity. I just tried it on a theory that increasing the dopamine might decrease the urge to crib, and it worked. Totally anecdotal but chaste tree berry is cheap and without any major side effects. I would not use it for extended periods though as that is contraindicated with dopamine agonists. It might be enough to help him until his herd hierarchy re-establishes and the maybe his urge will decrease.
FWIW, although cribbing collars did at times control my horse's cribbing, I found that it caused him more stress and anxiety than it was worth and I agree with most other owners of cribbers who say it's better to give them a place to crib. Of course if you don't own your own barn that can be difficult.
you said it- he's bored. Can anyone ride him for you? I have a cribber but i bought a solar charger and hotwired the fence. ( BO gave permission) no more cribbing. i hate the collars with a raging passion. I will do anything to avoid having to use one.
So he's alone? There's no other horse he can be turned out with?
Yes he is turned out alone, but there are two other horses that he can see, touch, and "talk to". He was gelded late and is VERY dominate in a mixed setting. The other two horses are a mare and gelding. In order to keep all safe it just isn't wise to try to put him in with them because he (Boogie) would try to run the other gelding away from the mare and Boog would be aggressive in with the other two. But, over the fence he is fine.
SuperD, do you mean amitriptyline? I read it's an anti-anxiety med but not approved for vet usage?
Interesting. Mine was also gelded late and as a result, "grew up" alone.
He's a crackhead. Serious crackhead. He will crib on ANYTHING if allowed to, including other horse's behinds. He also lost a turnout buddy (owner moved him) and consequently lost his ever lovin mind. He was wearing a Miracle Collar at the time and sliced his throatlatch area wide open on it. In essence, he cribbed straight through it.
Finally I had two made locally (they do stretch and don't last forever, unfortunately). When one stretches, I put the other one on him and take the stretched one to be altered.
He wears it 24/7. The only time it comes off is when he is being ridden or transported. He doesn't crib AT ALL wearing this type of strap. It doesn't rub or shift and I simply don't have to worry about him wearing it all the time. He also doesn't worry about cribbing while he's wearing it. He can concentrate on his 2nd favorite thing - eating.
I have treated for ulcers and while he may have had them (didn't bother to scope, just put him on the omeprazole) and the meds may have helped him, it didn't do a darned thing to help the cribbing. Once a cribber, always a cribber. You won't cure it.
Yes, I am worried about just letting him crib. Tried that once and he wore his teeth down about 1/4". I'd like him to be able to graze into his twilight years.