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Retirement Farms for a Cribber? (long)

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  • Retirement Farms for a Cribber? (long)

    I have a lovely beautiful horse that, due to navicular changes, retired from his show career. He can trail ride and hack, but that's about it. Unfortunately I don't find time to do that with him due to trying to keep the show horses fit, so he's pretty much retired.

    I know we often try to keep our retirees close in order to protect them but part of me thinks he might be happier elsewhere, assuming that I don't magically get more time to play with him. Here's why:

    He cribs. I have a small property so he is more prone to cribbing here and no matter what collar I put on him/switch from muzzles to collars etc his neck is ALWAY SORE from the cribbing collar and I'm constantly treating him for sores from it. I have another cribber who has no issues with collars whatsoever, but this one does.

    I keep thinking that if he went to some BIG HUGE open field type retirement farm maybe he wouldn't need to wear a collar because he wouldn't be constantly close to fences like he is in the small acreage I have. We take it off when he's in his stall to give his neck a rest and he likes to stand around and crib then. He's definitely not a "light weight" cribber. He's also an air fern and needs no grain, so the bringing in and tossing a handful of grain at him that I do now is really more becaues of the schedule of the other horses and not because he seems to need it.

    If I actually played with him a lot, I would think the benefit of being loved on constantly would outweigh the nuisance of wearing the collar, but in all reality, he's pretty much a horse who gets his basic needs met and some treats and that's it.

    So, any thoughts of retirment places that might take a cripper and let him live "au naturale" without his collar? AM I just dreaming? Does such a place exist? I'm in VA, but willing to ship him anyplace within a reasonable day's drive if I can find a place I'm confident will take care of him.

  • #2
    Who knows if he will quit cribbing in a field, but he might. Many years ago I took a show horse who had been in a stall most of his life to board for a few months. I turned him out in a field with other horses and his cribbing quit completely. However, I own a mare who cribs, and she has spent her life turned out 24/7, with a pretty unstressful existence. She has never quit cribbing. If your horse is an air fern, giving him a chance to live out in a big field would be nice for him, so why not give it a try?
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses


    • #3
      Sent you a PM we might be able to help you!


      • Original Poster

        Thanks Shawnee! Reply sent!


        • Original Poster

          Correction, two replies sent--I didn't read down far enough the first time and confused pasture board for retirement board. Oops.


          • #6
            Where in VA? My OTTB is retired on a farm just off 50 between Upperville and Winchester. The horses are out in huge fields all the time, and come in to eat, be checked over to make sure they're ok, have blankets put on or taken off (depends on weather), etc.


            • #7
              A big field is great for retirees. Would a nice grazing muzzle stop the cribbing? If he's an easy keeper, he will need one.
              It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

              www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


              • #8
                If he's really a dedicated cribber, I think he'll still crib. But if the farm owner doesn't mind it, the horse may well be fine out in a pasture enjoying indulging his habit.


                • #9
                  I'm optomistic for you. I own a cribber who spends most of the day outside. When I bring him in, he has a stall with a paddock, and I've hotwired it so that he has one surface that he can crib on if he eats, since he seems to "need" this. There isn't anywhere for him to crib in his pasture.

                  He doesn't wear a cribbing collar ever and is super-happy.

                  Too bad I'm not closer to you, but if you need tips to set up crib-proof fencing wherever you end up, PM me.

                  Good Luck!


                  • #10
                    pm sent!


                    • #11
                      If you haven't treated him for ulcers, please do before sending him anywhere - there is a definite correlation between ulcers & cribbing (lots of new research out on this topic, including a foal study).


                      • #12
                        I would also look into treating him for ulcers before moving him somewhere else. However, it's not uncommon for a horse with ulcers to have them resolve over time when they have access to free-choice forage (as he likely would if he's on retirement board in a big pasture).

                        So *if* his cribbing is a result of ulcers, and if you chose to put him in a situation where he got free-choice forage, you might see a decrease in his cribbing over time. I think the research I dug up a while back stated six months to a year.

                        But I'd still try a course of Gastroguard and see if that helped.
                        Full-time bargain hunter.


                        • #13
                          I had the cutest little guy here that came in as a dedicated wind sucker. I was able to convince his owner to have him scoped for ulcers, he had some whoppers! We treated him for that and he was better, but I just think it was a habit by then.

                          The funny thing about it was he was out with six to eight other horses in a 20 acres field. If he would really go to it the other guys would come and pester him until they got him to come and play with them! Sometimes if he was just hanging out in the field he would all of a sudden trot over to the fence and crib for a couple of minutes and then go back out with his pals.

                          So yes, I would take a cribber in. We have large pastures and they spend more time grazing and gossiping with their friends than cribbing Too bad I am on the other side of the country from you!
                          Kanoe Godby
                          See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.


                          • #14
                            Just wanted to add that cribbing does not always mean ulcers, although it's good practice to rule that out. My guy cribs; I finally bit the bullet and scoped him and the vet found nothing. Perhaps when he was in a high stress training environment as a two year old (when his cribbing started) he had ulcers which led to cribbing; I guess I'll never know. (I didn't own him then.) However, now it's just an ingrained habit.

                            Good luck making the right choice for your horse.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks everyone. He probably did get ulcers when he started cribbing, but he doesn't have them now and still cribs. I'd owned him a year when he started to crib--he even lived with a cribber at my barn and didn't crib. THen I sent him to a "cowboy" that everyone seems to love and he came back with lovely manners (which didn't stick) and a cribbing habit (which did). I don't doubt the manners training brought on the stress and cribbing. I've had several with ulcer/gastro issues over the years so I'm quite familiar with them.

                              AS for the NoVA person who commented, I'm near you--what is the name of the place/what do they charge? I'm not particularly keen on moving him anywhere expensive, which most of the boarding in our area is, due to limited availability, which is why I'm wide open to the rest of the state and neighboring states.


                              • Original Poster

                                Ps--even in a cribbing muzzle he finds a way to crib--he will find an airhole, put a tooth on that tiny hole and crib through that--he's very talented with his lips!


                                • #17
                                  More information please ~

                                  [quote=REH;5015226]Thanks everyone. He probably did get ulcers when he started cribbing, but he doesn't have them now and still cribs. I'd owned him a year when he started to crib--he even lived with a cribber at my barn and didn't crib. THen I sent him to a "cowboy" that everyone seems to love and he came back with lovely manners (which didn't stick) and a cribbing habit (which did). I don't doubt the manners training brought on the stress and cribbing.

                                  I have heard of this type thing happening before with "cowboys" and manner training ~ did your horse come home a "busy= all the time" cribber??? Did you know right away ? I ask because I have suspicions about a three year old that I sent to a "cowboy" - she had never been exposed to a cribber and did not crib ~ BUT came home "pencil thin" and sick and I am worried she may be a "closet cribber" ~ * OH ! I am treating her for ulcers now although she has not been scoped and is not busy cribbing. BUT I have seen her ( three times ) all different ocassions bite the edge of her feed trough just once no successive bites and no arching & sucking- BUT I HATE CRIBBERS ~ they drive me nuts I know that is "small" of me but some people can live with them and others can not or will not live with them. Any details of your horse's development of cribbing would be helpful TIA ~ and yes, I have been logging long hours in the barn watching this mare ~ maybe just not catching her or maybe hopefully she is not a cribber ---
                                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                  • #18
                                    Well its nice of you to be honest about his cribbing anyhow. I do retirement here and I have some confirmed cribbers. Absolute confirmed. I hate to put collars on them especially in the summer. They have a cribbing post and as long as that is all they crib on, I can handle it. When they start on the barn, the collars go back on for a bit. hahaha and yes, they know exactly what they are doing wrong.

                                    They seem to like doing this in the company of other cribbers and it amazes me how fast they find each other LOL. I have rigged the wooden fences with electricity because I really dont like the damage. I dont mind wind suckers nearly so much as those who do big wood damage and I have one. He knows how to get out of almost any collar as well, he is amazing.

                                    There are worse things in the world than cribbing but being truly honest with the barn is imperative. Oh, my guys are on 60 acres of pasture, every cribber here is on U-Guard or smart gut. Makes no difference to the confirmed cribbing addicts. It worked wonders for those with ulcers. I just feed it as a preventative now for the confirmed.

                                    They are so lucky I fell in love with them.,
                                    Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

                                    Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement


                                    • #19
                                      We've taken in some cribbers. A few, we knew about, most we didn't (thanks! To the owners who didn't bother to tell us. *sigh*). Luckily, we've got good turnout, grass paddocks, supplemented with hay, and an electric wire across the top of all of our fences. Food + a good zap = cribbing deterrant. And if they're that determined, then they're going to find a way, regardless. I have 3 confirmed cribbers now, and 1 that I suspect, though I haven't caught her. None of them wear collars, and we really don't have any issues with them. Now, the equine beavers in our back paddock that are chewing their shed to bits, THAT I have a problem with. Darn horses. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
                                      Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Zu Zu, mine was never closeted--he was cribbing the moment i brought him back and even when I went to pick him up I saw him do it there.

                                        I try to be honest and up front with people about horses. Someone I know IRL who saw my post here contacted me and he's going to the retirement farm nearby that she uses for two of hers. I spoke with the woman and brought the cribbing up as the main reason I was seeking a retirement farm--otherwise he could stay at my family's barn. No sense hiding the elephant.

                                        I never thought i'd send any horse "away"--i'm very protective of my brood, but talking about it publicly and sending emails to my friends soliciting thoughts has really made me comfortable with my decision. Thanks folks!