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To buy a cribber?

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  • To buy a cribber?

    I am considering going to try an 8 year old jumper mare. Very talented, but an admitted "light cribber." I've never owned a cribber and know very little about it. Something tells me I should be very cautious. But then again, I once new a heavy cribber that performed in the hunter ring 'til she was 19 years old without any issues. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Personally, I wouldn't. Unless you have access to 24/7 pasture and even then it's a risk because they can usually find SOMETHING to crib on. I have seen several horses recently that were cribbers have to be retired from their show careers due to gas colics. And they're saying she's a "light cribber" - they could be understating the issue and it's also important to keep in mind that with a change in environment she's likely to increase due to stress. To me, the cons outweigh the pros. That "something" you feel is probably right.
    Professional hunter princess

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    • #3
      Despite all the (mis)information and old wives' tales, cribbers are not a big deal to deal with. They often wear down their front teeth relatively quickly and will occasionally kill a board or bucket, but they really don't take many/any special care. Often cribbers have ulcer issues, so be sure to check into that. Otherwise, cribbing shouldn't impact the horse's performance. Oh, and a cribber will NOT teach others to crib.

      I had a cribber for 20 or so years (and have been around/worked with others), and I never had any problems other than buying new buckets and making sure he had good dental care. He never had colic issues. I did try the nutcracker strap (and that absurd Miracle Collar) and neither did much good. Eventually, I just left both off of him and he was much more comfortable (no more rubs, tight straps, etc.). Honestly he cribbed less when left "naked", which makes sense because cribbing is made worse by stress (and he was stressed being bothered by silly straps around his head).
      "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

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      • #4
        In the meantime, the confirmed cribbers in our barn are ticking along with no health issues at all. (Knock on wood). And the non cribber is the one that cost me 10k in vet bills related to his colic and th resulting surgery.
        Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
        www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by olivertwist96 View Post
          Unless you have access to 24/7 pasture and even then it's a risk because they can usually find SOMETHING to crib on. I have seen several horses recently that were cribbers have to be retired from their show careers due to gas colics.
          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.
          "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

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          • #6
            Honestly, I know two or three cribbers, and one's a junior hunter horse and has had no problems for 11 years, and the other is a 15 year old steady eddy pony hunter. Fluffie hit it pretty head on. I would definitely want to go get him out of his stall when I went to try him to see how much of a cribber he really is, and make sure there is a clause written into the contract to say that he was a "light" cribber and have them quantify that, so that if he gets home and you can't take a trial and you find he's actually an intense horrible cribber, then you can get your money back and send him home on false advertising. To me, the talent would trump the minor vice, and it may be controllable with a collar or some of that spray that you put on the cribbing area.
            Mendokuse

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            • #7
              I used to half lease a cribber, but he was easily controlled with a collar; however, my friend used to have a mare that coliced constantly b/c she was a cribber, and eventually had to be put down (she was only 14) b/c of colic. However, they never tried a collar or anything on her to try to get her to stop...
              Follow my instagram @snafflesandwellies for all things horses + fashion!

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              • #8
                we leased a cribber for almost a year. I was truly nervous about it, but it didn't end up being a big deal. We just embraced that to be a part of who he was and didn't try to discourage the behavior. We figured we weren't going to change it in the short time he was going to be with us. He was 16 I think and a show jumper. He was great! He never coliced once. We let him crib and my husband even made a little cribbing toy for him when we were at shows. We did have him on a 2 week trial before we committed to the lease. I recommend that if you can.
                www.ourlifetastesgood.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  My gelding is a cribber. The intersting part is he's out 24/7 on pretty substantial acreage, but cribs regardless. None of our other horses crib. He's well controled with a miracle collar. The collar doesn't always stay well, but putting the fleece liners on it helped eliminate the rubbing AND keep the straps in place better. To date, *knock on wood* I haven't had any colic issues. But he did wear his front teeth down badly before I put the collar on him full-time. I also recommend hydrophane cribox (got it from smartpak) for sufaces inside to keep the cribbers off with out the collar. This stuff works GREAT but it will wash off, so it doesn't really work outside unless you don't get any rain.

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                  • #10
                    i have a cribber and its just fine. i keep him turned out when i can, ridden when i can't, a muzzle on him when he is stalldd at night,and plenty of hay in front of him. hw getsto crib from breakfastto dinner. i think the personality traits that cause his moderate cribbing are the same thingsthat makehim very goodat his job. i had a well respected trainer tell me he liked cribbers all things equal because of that. it surprised me when he told me that
                    http://community.webshots.com/user/Kikki500

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                    • #11
                      Cribber

                      My mum bought a lovely Grey gelding who was a cribber / windsucker, well he was the best horse she ever owned and she put a collar on him in his stable during the worse periods and he practically stopped doing it. We did go through one bout fo colic with him and the Vet said it may or may not be related to his cribbing but more than likely was. Anyway he is still around after 10 years and jumps just fine still and does everything and more than my mum expects of him.

                      Just Thought I would add that. :-)
                      YAY!! I finally figured out how to upload a photo! lol im such a computer loser!

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                      • #12
                        My gelding is a cribber and he is the *best* riding horse. Bombproof and really takes care of his rider. Kikki, I'm curious - can you expand on your comment below, because I'd be interesting in knowing what you mean:

                        Originally posted by Kikki View Post
                        i think the personality traits that cause his moderate cribbing are the same thingsthat makehim very goodat his job. i had a well respected trainer tell me he liked cribbers all things equal because of that. it surprised me when he told me that
                        Anyway, I've had my guy for almost 8 years. He has gotten worse with the cribbing over time due to some management issues at boarding barns I've been at. The more turnout he gets, the less he does it, but he is one that can't be controlled with a strap, so we just manage it with turnout and forage to keep him somewhat distracted. He has *never* had a colic and has been a joy for me.

                        The only negatives (IMHO): He is about to turn 20 next week and his top teeth are getting pretty worn. And if you board, there are some barns that won't take a cribber and/or will charge you for board replacement in their stalls as needed. But I've now been in 3 different boarding barns that had no problem with it - you just have to shop around a little.

                        Best of luck - do what *you* feel comfortable with here.
                        ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

                        The equine love of my life: Gabriel
                        4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

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                        • #13
                          I've owned two cribbers. One lived healthily till she was 32. My second is retired and in her late 20s. Both were barn kept horses with generous turnout. Gave up on collars too. After what I read cribbing is a stress reliever. I put up a handicap bar in my mare's stall and covered it in heavy plastic hosing. Put a little molasses on it to encourage her to crib on it. Worked like a charm. She too cribs much less since she can do it when she likes. Giving her the bar to crib on saved on stall damage. Also saved her teeth. Never had colic issues at all. I wouldn't let it stop me from buying what on all other counts is the perfect horse.
                          Lilykoi


                          Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare

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                          • #14
                            I find non stop cribbing to be really irritating. That said, I bought a cribber several months ago, but without knowing he was a cribber.... He does, truly, crib very, very rarely. He goes out about 12 hours/day. I see him crib in his stall maybe 2x/month. He has a hard time keeping weight on, and is a stereotypical hard keeping TB. He is a sweet, easy to train guy, and the cribbing really doesn't seem to change that.
                            "Friend" me !

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                            • #15
                              I have a horse who is a windsucker (the evil cousin of cribbing). It was bad enough in his younger days that he went through three (yes, three!) colic surgeries prior to being retired from the AA circuit. I've owned him in his semi-retirement, and I think the biggest contribution to the colics was the stress of living on the AA circuit. Living in a low-key, non-show-barn suits him well. He still sucks, but with a miracle collar, the problem is largely mitigated. He also gets extensive turn-out, which helps too. He only sucks when he's anxious - for example, when everybody is being turned out, he'll start sucking until it's his turn to go.

                              He's a wonderful horse. Once we understood the problem, it has been no big deal to manage. All things being equal, if a horse was otherwise perfect for me, I don't think I'd let cribbing or windsucking negate all the good things.

                              ETA: Taz-man is now 25+ years old. He's now pretty much fully retired, except for the occasional hack out in the fields. He looks great and is enjoying his pasture time with his buddy.
                              Why do I like most horses better than most people?

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                              • #16
                                I prefer not to own a 'cribber' but wish you Good Luck with this prospect !

                                I prefer not to own a 'cribber' as it is like nails on a chalk board !

                                * Hey do they still have chalk boards ?
                                NO ! dry erase boards oops !

                                Well you know what I mean !

                                So if it does not bother you than 'go for it "!

                                GOOD LUCK with your new prospect !
                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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                                • #17
                                  My TB is a mild cribber. He's 20 this yr and knock on wood never had colic problems
                                  Epona Farm
                                  Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                                  Join us on Facebook

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                                  • #18
                                    I own a cribber it has never caused a health problem, however, lately I am seeing boarding barns in my area refusing to take cribbers. It is becoming harder to find a retirement situation for him as most places are small and private barns and really don't want damage to their property.

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                                    • #19
                                      If the horse is otherwise perfect for you, the two issues that might arise with a cribber are:

                                      1. If you choose to sell the horse, the fact he is a cribber will immediately turn off some people, so you limit the pool of possible buyers. Even if you are buying a 'forever horse' things change & they sometimes must be sold.

                                      2. If you board, you may be denied a place in some boarding facilities because of the disproportionately large amount of property damage a cribber can cause.

                                      We used to have 3 cribbers out of 30 horses on the property. Two were from the same family (a mare & her 1/2 sister's foal) & the 3rd was unrelated. They did a lot of damage to the board fencing, the stalls, buckets, etc. However, they did not 'teach' any other horse to crib & they didn't even teach their own foals to crib.

                                      There was a study done in Australia, I think, where they followed some TB sire lines known to produce cribbers (to show there might be a genetic component).
                                      Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.

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                                      • #20
                                        I've owned two horses in my life and both were/are cribbers

                                        My current horse is a hard-keeping Thoroughbred. He was scoped and treated for ulcers last year, and I moved him to a barn where he's on pasture 24/7. He cribs less than he did at the old place, but he still cribs frequently. Collars don't help much, so I leave him collar free.

                                        While I'm not fond of the habit, it's not a dealbreaker for me. I'd consider another cribber in the future if the horse is otherwise a good match for me. The two biggest issues I have encountered are: 1) the challenge of finding barns that will accept cribbers 2) dental problems.

                                        Some boarding barns are very understanding about cribbers and some barns absolutely will not allow them. In my experience, wood chewers do much more damage than cribbers, but I'm sure there are plenty of destructive cribbers out there.

                                        One other thing to consider is that for some people, the habit is like nails on a chalkboard. Some folks can't help themselves from scolding/yelling at a cribber, even if the horse does not belong to them.

                                        My old horse Alibar had gums for front teeth by the time he was in his early 20s. The tops wore away and the bottoms fell out. Alibar's tongue poked out after he lost the teeth- it was an endearing look, but a reminder of his years of cribbing. As he aged, he actually cribbed less. My current horse Wizard is on the same path- he's 17 and his front teeth are pretty worn.
                                        Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Blog | Horses & Hope calendar | Flickr | Instagram

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