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Oh no, my horse's new neighbour cribs! Should I be worried?

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  • Oh no, my horse's new neighbour cribs! Should I be worried?

    I love my barn. Really, my horse gets incredible care, the owners and other boarders are awesome, and I could not be happier.

    Except a new boarders horse came in, and cribs. I was under the impression it was under control with a collar, but that is definitely not the case. As soon as she was cross tied, she tried to latch on to the cross tie to crib. As soon as she was brought in, she cribs. All while wearing the collar.

    Now my guy is a very easy going 11 year old. He hasn't picked up weaving from the other TB mare (who stands and weaves even in her paddock, right next to him, and she's been around months and is leaving shortly), but I swear if he picks up cribbing I'm going to go ballistic.

    Cribber is stalled next to him but there's no line of sight, and he has an in and out and generally occupies himself. Her paddock is across the aisle and diagonal, and he shows no interest during paddock time thus far. Cribber has been at the barn close to a month.

    Should I be worried? Do I tell my (awesome) BO just as a headsup that if I see the start of any cribbing behavior I'm out of there right away? These kind of crappy habits make me so uneasy!

  • #2
    No, you don't have to worry. They don't teach each other how to crib.

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    • #3
      Cribbing is not contagious. Studies suggest it is a hereditary behavior, not a learned one. My old gelding Spooky was invariably always turned out or next to a cribbed while I was a WS/boarded out and he never learned it.
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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      • #4
        the only way your horse will start to crib, is if he was already predisposed to be a cribber.

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        • #5
          I would be worried depending on the relationship the two horses have. I'm assuming they aren't turn out buddies since one's a mare and one's a gelding, so I think you should be fine. My mare has been sandwiched between two completely neurotic (cribbing, weaving, wood chewing) horses for over a year and hasn't picked up anything bad. She's more of an "alpha mare" and doesn't really care about them.

          That being said, she DID pick up the habit of licking her stall incessantly from a turn out buddy. They were attached at the hip and mine definitely picked up that one's habits, and they've continued even after that horse left.

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          • #6
            That's interesting. They were turned out together and the other horse taught yours how to lick her stall?

            Originally posted by synergy06 View Post
            I would be worried depending on the relationship the two horses have. I'm assuming they aren't turn out buddies since one's a mare and one's a gelding, so I think you should be fine. My mare has been sandwiched between two completely neurotic (cribbing, weaving, wood chewing) horses for over a year and hasn't picked up anything bad. She's more of an "alpha mare" and doesn't really care about them.

            That being said, she DID pick up the habit of licking her stall incessantly from a turn out buddy. They were attached at the hip and mine definitely picked up that one's habits, and they've continued even after that horse left.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by synergy06 View Post
              I would be worried depending on the relationship the two horses have. I'm assuming they aren't turn out buddies since one's a mare and one's a gelding, so I think you should be fine. My mare has been sandwiched between two completely neurotic (cribbing, weaving, wood chewing) horses for over a year and hasn't picked up anything bad. She's more of an "alpha mare" and doesn't really care about them.

              That being said, she DID pick up the habit of licking her stall incessantly from a turn out buddy. They were attached at the hip and mine definitely picked up that one's habits, and they've continued even after that horse left.
              FWIW, Licking a stall isn't a habit. Your mare either needs a salt block if she doesn't have one or she has a serious nutritional deficit that needs to be addressed.
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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              • #8
                "Do I tell my (awesome) BO just as a headsup that if I see the start of any cribbing behavior I'm out of there right away?"

                Sure. Go right ahead. I'm not sure what that will gain for you, but if leaving your wonderful barn and your awesome BM beats freaking out, go ahead. Then there will be room for my horse, who is a cribber (but otherwise is the best horse in the universe), to move in to your wonderful barn.

                What is your issue with cribbing that it would make you go so ballistic that you would leave a barn with incredible care and nice people?

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I appreciate the responses. My prior understanding was that many horses learn cribbing and weaving from others. I'll try not to get too worried!

                  I specifically got my guy because he's so low key, easy going and simple. Luckily he's one of the BOs favorites. In the past a neighbor mare would snake her head around and try to harass him through the stall bars (which he mostly ignored), and before I even knew about it the BO was all offended on his behalf and came up with solutions.

                  While I plan to keep him forever, I always have an exit strategy in mind "just in case". Right now he's quite marketable but cribbing would definitely detract from that.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by SharonA View Post
                    "Do I tell my (awesome) BO just as a headsup that if I see the start of any cribbing behavior I'm out of there right away?"

                    Sure. Go right ahead. I'm not sure what that will gain for you, but if leaving your wonderful barn and your awesome BM beats freaking out, go ahead. Then there will be room for my horse, who is a cribber (but otherwise is the best horse in the universe), to move in to your wonderful barn.

                    What is your issue with cribbing that it would make you go so ballistic that you would leave a barn with incredible care and nice people?
                    Sorry this struck such a nerve with you. I would be telling the BO as a headsup so it wouldn't be a surprise IF it was something he started to pick up, not as an ultimatum.

                    Cribbing and weaving are both widely unfavoured, and many barns won't board a horse with those habits. I don't want him learning behaviors that in the future could make finding a barn difficult, or make him hard to sell should I ever been in that position. It's also my understanding that they can both have negative health repercussions (weaving more so).

                    I don't find my concern about it to be unreasonable, but I wanted to get more info before I said anything.

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                    • #11
                      My horse has been stalled next to a dedicated cribber for 5 years now, turned out with him daily, and is quite attached to him...and he's never, ever offered to crib, not once. He's easy going, simple and kind, so you can use my example to help you make a decision on whether or not to move your horse.

                      There are excellent, science-based studies that show that cribbing is an inherited habit, not learned.
                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                        My horse has been stalled next to a dedicated cribber for 5 years now, turned out with him daily, and is quite attached to him...and he's never, ever offered to crib, not once. He's easy going, simple and kind, so you can use my example to help you make a decision on whether or not to move your horse.

                        There are excellent, science-based studies that show that cribbing is an inherited habit, not learned.
                        Thanks for sharing your experience, I have been reading. I should clarify I wouldn't consider moving unless my horse started picking it up...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by normandy_shores View Post
                          I appreciate the responses. My prior understanding was that many horses learn cribbing and weaving from others. I'll try not to get too worried!
                          I have never seen a horse learn to crib from another horse. My gelding is across from a dedicated cribber and I've never seen him contemplate anything even similar. My horse is a bad weaver, and none of the horses have picked that up from him, either!
                          Seriously, don't worry.
                          As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

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                          • #14
                            For years we were taught that cribbing is a learned behavior. However 34+ years later my mare still does not crib despite being out of a cribbing mare with 7-8 siblings, about half of whom cribbed, not to mention being stalled next to confirmed cribbers for many years.
                            In short, we really don't know what triggers these "stable vices" anymore today than we did years ago. Just as a wild guess, if your horse hasn't shown any signs of cribbing after a month, you should be ok.
                            "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                            Courtesy my cousin Tim

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jet was stalled next to 2 different cribbers at 2 different barns for 4 yrs and 3 yrs respectively. He never picked it up. Horses don't learn to do it from others. The reason you may see a barn full of cribbers has more to do with management...ie turnout/feed/stress. If the environment is stressful they may get ulcers and then crib to relieve the pain. If a barn doesn't turn out, or doesn't feed much forage, or is stressful, then cribbing will be more prevalent due to ulcers.
                              You have nothing to worry about. Enjoy your new barn.

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                              • #16
                                Anecdotes are great but there are many past & ongoing studies on crib-biting in horses.

                                Try google scholar (or similar search program) for more technical results

                                There is an inherited component to crib-biting, but there are many other factors as well, although few horses will begin crib-biting as a "learned" behaviour it does happen (read the science for the statistical variants).
                                There are many care considerations linked to minimizing crib-biting.

                                Hopefully the horse is treated regularly (or scoped) for ulcers, if she hasn't been treated since the move, & her cribbing is more prevalent, this may be a factor.

                                Do discuss your concerns with your BO.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I owned a cribber for 21 years. I never saw a horse learn to crib from her. That includes her four babies and several other babies that shared pasture with her.

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                                  • #18
                                    Cribbing is not a learned behavior.

                                    There is some interesting new research indicating that it might be hereditary*.

                                    Vet and I just discussed this when Odie's cast was setting or setting up or drying or whatever it is that they do... Because I have one who is a cribber and one who is a very orally fixated young horse. Orally fixated young horse has latched onto things and sorta nommed around, and then let go and went to harass someone else or wave a stick in the air or whatever he does to entertain himself. Whereas my mare who cribs will crib on a person if they stand still long enough (I wish I was kidding...). Here she is cribbing (red halter) and he is checking to see if she is eating anything tasty, and that's as close as he gets. But hoooo boy was I warned when I bought her and told people she was a cribber, "watch Rory, he might start cribbing too."

                                    *Same article also pointed out an interesting fact: the theory that the stress of track life triggering cribbing was tested, using TBs and STBs. Interestingly enough, even though they have the same lifestyle, STBs don't crib (in the study, not sure if that's a blanket statement). Ho hum.
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                    • #19
                                      I know what the "experts" say so I'll just tell you what my horses experienced. When I bought C&C, Cloudy was given a paddock right by a serious cribber, who cribbed with his cribbing collar on. He cribbed on a tree on the fence line. Cloudy, being young and impressionable, started chewing on the tree bark. I had the BO move him. He quit chewing on trees. That cribber was stalled right next to him, but Cloudy could only hear him and could not see him, so no problem.

                                      At another barn, a cribber was by both C&C who were in a paddock together. Both started chewing on the wooden fence. I moved to another barn. When a cribbed was put by them, they started chewing again. C&C never cribbed, but I sure didn't like them chewing on wood because a cribber was cribbing right in front of them. Why tempt fate?

                                      BTW, Callie had been on the track for 3 yrs and never cribbed. She did weave once when a tree limb fell on a barn roof above her stall. I know chewing is not the same as cribbing, but chewing wood is bad for the horse and BOs do not like it at all.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        There was a horse next to mine for several years that cribbed despite wearing a collar and a cribbing muzzle. I didn't give it a second thought except to giggle at his contortions sometimes and his Hannibal Lector look.
                                        McDowell Racing Stables

                                        Home Away From Home

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