I have a cribber and have never had a problem with colic. He is controlled by a cribbing collar (it is called a french cribbing collar because the miracle collar did nothing to stop his cribbing). He is turned out for 12 hours a day and while he is out he does not wear his collar and is more interested in eating grass/hay than cribbing.
Do I find cribbing annoying, yes. But did I let it stop me from getting my horse, no. He is a great horse and has never ha any health issues and his cribbing is controllable. He has also not caused any damage to fences/buckets at my barn.
My equitation horse was a cribber, but the best horse I had ever ridden. He did colic because of it, but was also the type yo colic with drastic weather changes. He wore a cribbing collar, but it really didn't stop him from cribbing. We often kept the ottoms of push brooms on the ledge he liked to crib on and that stopped him a little, but he usually found a way. Sometimes, for his peace of mind my trainer would let him crib. He said it was like a smoker having a cigarette.
That being said, I don't think I would buy a cribber. The above horse eventually did colic and was unable to be saved, but I'm not sure if it was a direct result of the colic. I just don't want to have the risk even there.
We had a client that was looking into buying a cribber, and we spoke to our vet about the colic issue, as we had heard that they were more prone to gas colic and insurance wouldn't cover them if they died due to the cribbing. She actually told us that it is extremely difficult to link cribbing to the actual cause of the colic so that's not really a big concern.
However, she did stress that there can be several over health issues that can arise from cribbing including weight loss and trouble maintaining body weight, back issues from hollowing their back while sucking in, and ulcers (which other people have pointed out).
That being said, I have been taking care of a cribber for 3 years and she hasn't shown any of these problems and is extremely healthy. If it's the right horse, it's just something you'll have to get used to and deal with, bearing in mind that people will be backed right off when you want to resell it and dealing with the destruction is a pain.
Rubber water buckets will soon become your best friend.
I've never had a horse on 24/7 pasture (quite the opposite), and cribbing was never a major issue with health or performance. The "gas colic" is another myth. Statistically cribbers are more prone to colic (not necessarily "gas") but now research is demonstrating that the risk is more from untreated ulcers than cribbing.
Ditto. Around here there is no such thing as 24/7 pasture, or really even a pasture at all. My horse is a light cribber and it does not effect her health or performance, I just make sure that she has her teeth checked twice a year to make sure they are not being worn down. I would not turn a horse down just because they cribbed.
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I used to be all "OH GOD!!! CRIBBERS!!!" I'm now far more "meh" about them. They can be obnoxious to listen to, and they can pull of fence rails, kill buckets, and, in the case of the current one in my care, the occasional Nibble Net, but, really, they are not a big deal. The one reason I would have for NOT buying one would be if it was a young horse intended for resale....for conversations exactly like this!
One of my all time favorite horses to groom was a HORRIBLE cribber. We ended up hot wiring a couple of pastures specifically for him so he wouldn't rip the brand new fencing apart (he cribbed on the water trough and the feeders instead). He loved to crib on his aisle door, which was one of the full metal mesh ones with a yolk. That would have been fine, except that he also pawed when he cribbed, so would BANG on his metal door. I would say "D!!! Go crib on your BACK door!!!" He'd give me a dirty look, sigh, and turn around and crib on his dutch door in the back of his stall. I refused to collar him because I knew it would just make him grouchier than he naturally was. So, he got lots of turnout, lots of hay (a hay net helped the cribbing a little), kept his belly in good shape, and replaced his feed bucket a few times a year. He was a good horse with a surprisingly tolerant attitude toward his ammy owner, so I was really cool with letting him have his vice, as long as he didn't bang on his metal door!
The one I have now is 19 and absolutely unapologetic in his cribbing. If I don't open his back window, he'll crib on whatever he can get a hold of. That's ok. He's a good guy who does his job.
Last edited by yellowbritches; Apr. 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM.
There is a senior (20ish) horse at the barn I ride at who has nearly stopped cribbing after they changed his turnout to be with another retired gelding instead of being turned out alone.
A new horse at the barn is also a cribber, she gets turned out in a paddock that has metal pipe for rails and gate, and she has constant access to grass hay. The hay is not the greatest quality, so she is also fed a few alfalfa flakes daily, but the free access to forage seems to have helped reduce it.
My horse is a cribber and he does also tend towards gas colic. I have no idea if the two are linked, but well, he does swallow a lot of air so if amount of gas in affects rate of gas colic I guess it would make sense. Regardless, I do not regret buying him at all. He was definitely on discount because of his cribbing, I probably wouldn't have been able to afford him if he didn't have this vice. I have gotten used to the cribbing, and use a collar when necessary.
I definitely know people who are super annoyed by cribbing and agree with the poster who mentioned others will actually try and correct your horse when they see them crib. That is more annoying to me than the actual behavior!
ETA: my horse cribs whether in a stall or on 24/7 turn out. Outside he just cribbed the fence line.
If I knew I was going to be able to board at the same place for the foreseeable future and they allowed cribbers, or I had my own place, I would look. Ability to keep horse on pasture 24/7 also helps. I've ridden too many nice horses whose only fault is cribbing to be completely turned off by it.
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Bottom line if you put a cribbing strap ( a good one) on your cribber they won't crib... I suggest the rusty dare collar. I use it on my horse that I bought and was unaware that he was a cribber until the sale was final (and I asked about vices...ahh horse people ). He does not crib, he does not chew on anything, he IS a stalled horse so I am confused about the post of "the cribber must be on pasture 24/7" because that is not true. My horse is a stellar superstar with NO health issues so, OP if you like the cribber your looking at than buy the horse, enjoy him ... you will see that being a cribber becomes a non issue.
I have a cribber and other than having to electrify my board fence, I am fine with it. In fact, the older he gets, the less he cribs and I took off his collar about two years ago and never looked back. Never had any issues related to colic, higher vet bills due to cribbing, etc.
Would make sure you have plenty of turnout. I think my cribber is happier being out of a show barn, in a "country lifestyle" if that makes any sense.
He will sometimes find something to chew on if it is convenient for him but I love this guy a lot and his cribbing has not made me love him any less.
I own a cribber whom I adore and wouldn't trade for anything. He does still crib despite being turned out 24/7, so I just take extra care not to leave buckets hanging unless I have to, and I feed from rubber tubs. His usual targets are my Rubbermaid troughs, which he can't hurt and are apparently gentle on his teeth -- my dentist says his teeth look great. He does colic occasionally, but it's always related to a big swing in the weather, so (knock wood) I don't think the cribbing has a dang thing to do with it. I could see being apprehensive if you plan to keep him stalled, OP, because of the annoyance and frequency factors (I can't hear my guy unless I'm out in my barn, and he doesn't spend much time doing it anyway), but don't let the other worries keep you from buying a good horse.