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A cribber for a 1st horse - would this be a huge no-no for you?

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  • A cribber for a 1st horse - would this be a huge no-no for you?

    Helping a friend find and buy a horse for her 12 year old daughter. Daughter doesn't need a superstar, but wants a horse that she can really enjoy and do a bit of everything. That makes it a pretty wide field and there are a lot of horses out there that will likely fit most of her criteria, but obviously most of them are unknown. She really does enjoy jumping.

    I sold a fabulous horse about 6 years ago. TB mare, lovely, good height etc. The kid that bought her has done a wonderful job with her and has really cleaned up in jumping. Very desirable horse now - probably way more than when I had her. Kid has moved to college and is looking to sell the horse on, at a very reasonable price.

    I'm torn. From a rideability point of view this horse would probably be perfect for the kid. From an age point of view she's slightly older now than I think is ideal, as she's 16. I know not a bad age, but for a 12 year old kid I was thinking more 10 year old horse as suitable. The big dilemma for me is that she's a cribber. When I had her she cribbed on everything, even though she was out 24 x 7 - fence posts, anything. She does still crib although is ridden much more and she does wear a strap.

    I'm torn. She's a nice, safe horse that is a great jumper. She's been ridden on the beach, been to scarey shows, been hauled. I know it's a bit hypocritical given that I had here as a cribber, but I just can't decide, despite her abilities, if I should leave it be, given her age and cribbing, and given that there are probably loads of horses out there, with slightly lower ability that are still generally good all round horses.


  • #2
    Kate: I think? this is one of those unique situations of exactly your position: You've accomodated a cribber. You've dealt with that habit, found the horse desireable to retain, keep, maintain and work around it. For me? having never owned a cribber? its easy for ME to say: no way, never, I'll buy one that DOESN't crib. I don't dispute that some are the most amazing horses. I just know 'starting from scratch' and purchasing a new horse, its one thing, off the top, that I can rule out and therefore off my list of prospects. I guess it would be the same for many as in : weavers, kickers, need hay soaked, girthy, need different shoeing, etc, etc....stuff that isn't life threatening, but can be difficult to deal with. Sounds like you should feel comfortable suggesting the mare but being up front and direct about her habits and any faults. I don't think it will impact the young girl.....but it would the barn owner in most cases. (and therefore the resale concerns down the line) ....best of luck!
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett


    • #3
      There's a horrible cribber at my barn. Drives me nuts. BUT he's a saint for his little girl. It's worth putting up with because he's so perfect otherwise.

      Personally, I have no tolerance for a cribber. But if you can put up with it and the owner can put up with it, why not?
      Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
      Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
      VW sucks.


      • Original Poster

        The horse will be staying at their place. I'm helping them work out the fencing, shed etc. They rely on me heavily to advise them on what's good and not so good about the prospects that we are looking at. I've been open on this mare - she's fabulous - but, should they ever want to move into a barn, some barns won't take a cribber. I've spoken to them about the theory of increased colics, the sometime feeling that it is a copied behaviour (although personally I don't subscribe to that theory) and about the potential resale implications. Of course right now they think that whatever horse they buy will be with them forever, which it may.... or may not. It drove me totally nuts when I had her. I would hate watching her out in the pasture pulling on posts.

        Both good opinions though - Ayrabz because you wouldn't touch one and amastrike because the one you know makes up for it.


        • #5
          i always said i'd never own a cribber. Until an awesome horse came along. He has been mine now for 8 years and i am so happy i have him. he is awesome to ride. Would i ever get another cribber- Probably.


          • #6
            The horse I bought for my then 13 year old daughter was 14 years old, and a cribber. I almost passed on him, but went ahead since he seemed like such a saint. I never regretted it, because he took perfect care of her. Honestly, a 16 year old horse isn't that old anymore. My daughter's horse lived until he was 27, and was sound and rideable until he was 26. He wasn't an obnoxious cribber that was oblivious to his surroundings when he cribbed. I don't think I could handle one of those because I like my horses to interact with me.

            But if you know the horse, and they're a good match, I think safety and compatibility are way more important for a young person's first horse.


            • #7
              Never, they drive ME nuts.
              Any of those, cribbing, weaving, fence/stall walking, are a definitive no go for me, because my horses live by my house and get to watch them on and off all day and night long and such would drive me not to want to even look out the window.

              Now, our retired ranch horse with ringbone from a pasture accident, the last two years we had him on bute and when the bute ran low, he would crib on a fence or tree limb,
              Upping his bute for a few days he would quit cribbing.
              No, the vet didn't think he had ulcers, it was definitely pain from his foot causing him to very slowly crib.
              That was just sad, not a maddening habit without rhyme or reason.

              Buying a horse that is a confirmed, OCD cribber?
              I need to be where I don't see them all day doing it.

              I have seen cribbers that have stubs for front teeth, not good for pasture horses.

              I am surprised that, by now, as much as veterinary medicine has advanced, there is still no way to help a horse quit cribbing with some medication or surgery.
              About 50 years ago, our riding school had a five year old that started cribbing and they tried an operation for it at the local veterinary college, about a 4" cut high on the side of his neck, cutting some nerves and he quit cribbing.
              Must not have worked long, as I have never again heard of others trying that.


              • #8
                Cribbing isn't a problem for me as long as it can be controlled by a strap.

                My current horse is a phenomenal athlete . . . who cribs.

                He's the first cribber I've owned and I'm surprised by how little it bothers me.
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                  Cribbing isn't a problem for me as long as it can be controlled by a strap.

                  My current horse is a phenomenal athlete . . . who cribs.

                  He's the first cribber I've owned and I'm surprised by how little it bothers me.
                  Yes, but do you work and live in the barn most of the day and hear him hour after hour after hour cribbing, or are you just there to ride and not much longer?

                  It depends on the horse, but for many, the strap is really a bit inhumane, it has to be put on so tight to work.


                  • #10
                    I would not let cribbing stand in my way of the "perfect" horse.
                    I LOVE my Chickens!


                    • #11
                      Cribbers drive me up the wall - I would not buy one for myself.
                      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                      • #12
                        I have an old guy, 31, whom I've had since he was 3. Confirmed cribber, but luckily he has never pulled off a fence board or destroyed his stall. He doesn't pull when he does it. Since I put up hot wire across the top of my fences, he doesn't crib when he is out, which is most of the time. If the horse is out, why not put up the wire?
                        In the stall the door and wall ledges if any, could be covered in angle iron.


                        • #13
                          When our daughter was moving up from her pony to a horse, the horse we found was a cribber. Nothing stopped the mare from cribbing, ever. She was safe, healthy and trustworthy Quarter horse. When my daughter outgrew the mare's skill set we sold her to good friend for their son. The mare is now 23 and still safe, healthy and trustworthy. My theory is that I can replace stall boards but not my daughter.

                          If everything else was perfect with the horse then cribbing would not stop me.


                          • #14
                            I Will NEVER purchase a "cribber" .

                            I will
                            NEVER purchase a 'cribber' .
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                            • #15
                              My first horse was a cribber. We were told he as not when we saw him, but he sure did crib once we got him home. It just wasn't a big deal. He wore a miracle collar sometime, if the barn insisted. If the barn didn't care, he went naked. His cribbing was generally limited to after he ate grain or when he was tied up. He was a terribly smart, clever horse, and I find most cribbers to be the same way mentally.

                              I have another one now. Same story--was told she did not crib. She does. She's out on acreage and her cribbing is minimal.

                              Frankly, I just don't see it as a problem, particularly if you've got your own place. Hot wire the fences and buy the horse.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                Yes, but do you work and live in the barn most of the day and hear him hour after hour after hour cribbing, or are you just there to ride and not much longer?

                                It depends on the horse, but for many, the strap is really a bit inhumane, it has to be put on so tight to work.
                                I do think it depends on the horse. I'm generally at the barn for 2-4 hours/day. We have a co-op barn so I'm there doing chores for quite some time. My horse lives out 24/7 with access to his stall. He cribs MUCH less in this circumstance. He also only cribs a little with his collar on.

                                There are certainly horses that would rather crib than eat. For many, cribbing can be reduced with the right environment.
                                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                • #17
                                  what i will say to those who say "NEVER"- I also said "never".

                                  And i am glad i gave my guy a chance, he really is wonderful. he likes to work.


                                  • #18
                                    My horse is a cribber. He is my first horse I have had. I leased him for a year, then they decided to sell all their horses, so I bought him.

                                    I have heard it all, cribbers TEACH other horses to crib, BS. NO horse has ever started to crib if they are w/my horse. I have had him over 10 yrs and no horse has ever "learned" to crib from him.

                                    He windsucks. I have used a cribbing strap, but didnt like how tight it had to be and the rub marks they left.

                                    So, what I have done the last few years, is I made a cribbing station for him. I put some old ropes on the front of his stall. He cribs off of those. They are soft, so I figure it is better for his teeth.

                                    I have contained his habit and stopped him from doing any damage. He is a GREAT horse and I would have lost out if I had made a huge issue on his cribbing and not bought him.

                                    It is really his only vice and I just ignore it totally. He is very happy and healthy, so I just dont see it as a big deal, personally.
                                    Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!


                                    • #19
                                      If the horse is perfect for the rider, and being a first horse, perfect is a huge bill to fill, cribbing, eh not so important to be a deal breaker.
                                      Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley


                                      • #20
                                        Not a deal breaker for me if the other qualities are good. As Nezzy said: "Never say Never!" I have eaten my words too many times.