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

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  • #21
    My horse was 5 years old when he started cribbing. I kept him on my own farm and he was alone, no horses within shouting distance. I had him over a year with no cribbing but after he slipped and fell on me and broke my ankle in 2 places I couldn't do anything with him for 8 weeks. I had friends feeding and cleaning his stall for the first few weeks as I was house bound after the surgery to fix my ankle. At some point during his time off he began to crib. I am sure he was bored as we had been in training for reining shows and kept a regular schedule of riding. So my horse began to crib I think from boredom even though he was turned out 24/7 with a run in shed.
    My mom didn't raise no jellybean salesman!


    • #22
      Agree the horse has to have a tendency in the first place, but that management has a great deal to do with whether or not a horse could tip in that direction.

      Although my OTTB is not a cribber, he was a stall chewer - wreaking havoc when he was initially boarded with a friend, then at the next two places I found near me. The perfect balance being found care wise, has also prevented his bad habits.

      1st place I had him at, a majority of the horses were neurotic, and turn-out not what they had suggested. Next place 24/7 turnout seemed ok, but then turn-out became limited by inadequate drainage/rotation, and inadequate hay provided. Then there were the herd dynamics - and the novice BO I've-had-easy-keepers-and-all-horses-are-the-same-just-need-discipline attitude. He marred his run-in considerably. Typical treatment for ulcers made no changes.

      He hasn't bitten one board at the new place he's been at since spring. Been given unlimited hay, which has only recently been curtailed once he arrived where he needed to be weight-wise and he still leaves the stall alone. We also treated w/ Succeed and saw a big improvement. But best is the management there is top notch, every bump on every horse known about, turn-out is perfect, and the whole barn is full of quiet, happy horses. The BM is a doll, truly cares about them all, and has extraordinary top level experience.

      Know stall chewing not the same as cribbing, but agree with the above that the right conditions could make things ripe/can help to prevent.
      Last edited by CVPeg; Oct. 11, 2013, 11:39 AM.
      But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


      • #23
        I know all the studdies about how horses do not learn to crib from each other...,but, my gelding did learn this ugly habit from being stabled for three days at a show next to an uncollared cribber. I caught him at it two days after we came home. I promptly went out and bought him a collar and used it the rest of the show season. (Appx three months.) I must have caught the habbit before it became ingrained because he has not gone back to cribbing since then which was several years ago. He is now retired and won't meet any cribbers here at home.


        • #24
          My mare cribs. She started years ago, but doesn't seem to crib all the time just now and again. She wears a cribbing strap and everything is ok.

          My gelding who lives next to her could care less about it. He's been next to her for two years, has never shown signs of cribbing and spends more time trying to break out of "maximum security" than watching her occasional cribbing spree.

          I wouldn't worry at all.
          "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan


          • #25
            Originally posted by beowulf View Post
            Cribbing is not contagious. Studies suggest it is a hereditary behavior, not a learned one.
            Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
            There are excellent, science-based studies that show that cribbing is an inherited habit, not learned.
            Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
            There is some interesting new research indicating that it might be hereditary*.
            Anybody care to share the link to this study? Or PMID is fine.
            The link in this thread to a google scholar search just had studies looking at treatments or associated complications from cribbing.


            • #26
              We've had a cribber in the barn for twenty years, no other horses have picked up the habit from him. My own gelding has been stalled next to him for seventeen years and never offered to crib.

              If you are so worried the cribber will sully your horse's impeccable manners why not just ask for another stall instead of freaking out and moving out of a perfectly good barn with perfectly nice people? That's like taking out a weed patch with a Claymore land mine don't you think?


              • #27
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                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.
                The horse whom I recently had to make the thread about his declining conditions with the rescue/retirement facility is just such a horse.

                There were times when he wore both a Miracle collar AND a cribbing muzzle. We threw our hands in the air and gave up when even in that contraption he learned to position the muzzle sideways on the corners of things and continued cribbing with zest.

                Oh he was a weaver too..and No none of the horses including the babies(he was the farm babysitter and stallion sitter) ever learned to crib or weave.
                "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


                • #28
                  Originally posted by normandy_shores View Post
                  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!
                  No need to worry. My old show mare is serious cribber, she was starved as a weanling and picked it up then. I bred her and still have her baby, he's now 14. He does not crib. He's been with her all his life.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by DressageFancy View Post
                    I know all the studdies about how horses do not learn to crib from each other...,but, my gelding did learn this ugly habit from being stabled for three days at a show next to an uncollared cribber. I caught him at it two days after we came home. I promptly went out and bought him a collar and used it the rest of the show season. (Appx three months.) I must have caught the habbit before it became ingrained because he has not gone back to cribbing since then which was several years ago. He is now retired and won't meet any cribbers here at home.
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                    • #30
                      this is what I could find- only 1% of cribbers started cribbing after being exposed to a cribber. Seems to be a combination of inborn tendency + stressful environment causing it to manifest.
                      Question: if horses crib in an effort to "soothe" their anxiety, why is it good to try to stop them from cribbing with straps, etc. (obviously fixing the environmental cause of anxiety is good)?
                      I'm not going to go look for it, but I did see a study of anti-anxiety medication and "vices" and the medication seemed to work pretty good at stopping the "vice". Maybe you could use the medication to wean the horse off the habit while you fix the environment to prevent it from coming back.

                      Equine Vet J. 2009 May;41(5):455-8.

                      Crib-biting in US horses: breed predispositions and owner perceptions of aetiology.

                      Albright JD, Mohammed HO, Heleski CR, Wickens CL, Houpt KA.


                      Departments of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


                      REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY:

                      Crib-biting is an equine stereotype that may result in diseases such as colic. Certain breeds and management factors have been associated.


                      To determine: breed prevalence of crib-biting in US horses; the likelihood that one horse learns to crib-bite from another; and owner perceptions of causal factors.


                      An initial postal survey queried the number and breed of crib-biting horses and if a horse began after being exposed to a horse with this habit. In a follow-up survey, a volunteer subset of owners was asked the number of affected and nonaffected horses of each breed and the extent of conspecific contact. The likelihood of crib-biting given breed and extent of contact was quantified using odds ratio (OR) and significance of the association was assessed using the Chi-squared test.


                      Overall prevalence was 4.4%. Thoroughbreds were the breed most affected (133%). Approximately half of owners believed environmental factors predominantly cause the condition (54.4%) and crib-biting is learned by observation (48.8%). However, only 1.0% of horses became affected after being exposed to a crib-biter. The majority (86%) of horses was turned out in the same pasture with other horses and extent of contact with conspecifics was not statistically related to risk.


                      This is the first study to report breed prevalence for crib-biting in US horses. Thoroughbreds were the breed more likely to be affected. More owners believed either environmental conditions were a predominant cause or a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to the behaviour. Only a small number of horses reportedly began to crib-bite after being exposed to an affected individual, but approximately half of owners considered it to be a learned behaviour; most owners did not isolate affected horses.

                      POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

                      Genetic predisposition, not just intensive management conditions and surroundings, may be a factor in the high crib-biting prevalence in some breeds, and warrants further investigation. Little evidence exists to suggest horses learn the behaviour from other horses, and isolation may cause unnecessary stress.

                      PMID: 19642405 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

                      Equine Vet J. 2002 Sep;34(6):572-9.

                      Factors influencing the development of stereotypic and redirected behaviours in young horses: findings of a four year prospective epidemiological study.

                      Waters AJ, Nicol CJ, French NP.


                      University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford, Bristol, UK.


                      Stereotypies are invariant and repetitive behaviour patterns that seemingly have no function, which tend to develop in captive animals faced with insoluble problems and may be indicative of reduced welfare. A 4 year prospective study of the factors influencing the development of stereotypic and redirected behaviours (abnormal behaviour) in a population of 225 young Thoroughbred and part-Thoroughbred horses was conducted between 1995 and 1999. Abnormal behaviour affected 34.7% of the population. Multivariable analysis showed that foals of low- or middle-ranking mares were less likely to develop abnormal behaviour than foals of dominant mares (rate ratio (RR) 0.23, P<0.01; RR 0.48, P<0.01, respectively). Weaning by confinement in a stable or barn was associated with an increased rate of development of abnormal behaviour, compared with paddock-weaning (RR 2.19, P<0.05), and housing in barns, rather than at grass after weaning, was associated with a further increase (RR 2.54, P<0.01). Specific stereotypic and redirected behaviours were then considered as separate outcomes. Crib-biting was initiated by 10.5% of horses at median age 20 weeks, weaving by 4.6% of horses at median age 60 weeks, box-walking by 2.3% of horses at median age 64 weeks and wood-chewing by 30.3% of horses at median age 30 weeks. Wood-chewing developed at a lower rate in horses born to subordinate or mid-ranking mares than in horses born to dominant mares (RR 0.29, P<0.01; RR 0.41, P<0.01, respectively), and at a higher rate in horses kept in barns or stables rather than at grass after weaning (RR 4.49, P<0.001; RR 1A6, P<0.001, respectively). Feeding concentrates after weaning was associated with a 4-fold increase in the rate of development of crib-biting (RR 4.12, P = 0.02). The results of this study support the idea that simple changes in feeding, housing and weaning practices could substantially lower the incidence of abnormal behaviour in young horses.

                      PMID: 12357996 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by DressageFancy View Post
                        I know all the studdies about how horses do not learn to crib from each other...,but, my gelding did learn this ugly habit from being stabled for three days at a show next to an uncollared cribber. I caught him at it two days after we came home. I promptly went out and bought him a collar and used it the rest of the show season. (Appx three months.) I must have caught the habbit before it became ingrained because he has not gone back to cribbing since then which was several years ago. He is now retired and won't meet any cribbers here at home.
                        Most likely it was the stressful show environment that caused it. Sometimes just having a different horse next to them that they don't get along with, excessive noise, lack of turnout, new feed, new stall can cause stress that makes them crib. You said it quit after the show season, so I really doubt it was the cribbing neighbor that he learned it from.

                        I hate that people are misinformed and believe that they learn it. One of the saddest results of that misinformation was a poster here on COTH that adopted an OTTB, and when he got to her barn started cribbing. She posted a thread about it here, and promptly got rid of him, rather than maybe treating for ulcers and giving him some turnout to distress from the track environment.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                          Anybody care to share the link to this study? Or PMID is fine.
                          The link in this thread to a google scholar search just had studies looking at treatments or associated complications from cribbing.
                          Equus did an article earlier this year with the studies cited, the article was...hmm... well, it was pretty danged long and VERY indepth. I read it twice because I love the mare and I don't personally care about cribbing.

                          What it broke it down to was:
                          1. while one research facility would scope X horses who crib and find that 60+ percent had ulcers, another research facility with scope X horses who crib and only find a percentage in the teens that had ulcers.
                          2. endorphins don't rise during cribbing consistently enough to support the "getting high" philosophy.
                          3. no research facility was able to teach a horse to crib by exposing him/her to a cribber.
                          4. cribbing collars increased anxiety in horses by preventing them from cribbing, and they would crib with greater/faster consistency when the collar was removed.
                          5. they noticed certain names appeared in pedigrees over and over in the horses who crib, for horses who had known lineage ...but of course the magazine did not disclose that.

                          But I bet you could contact the magazine and get a copy No idea how to get it online.
                          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


                          • #33
                            There was a mare at my last barn who was an inveterate cribber. She was on ulcer medication, they'd tried a cribbing collar, etc. She was an OTTB and I guess between ulcers and the track lifestyle, had picked up cribbing at some point in her past.

                            Anyway, she would crib on anything. She'd crib between bites of food. Luckily, she couldn't do much damage to her stall (metal bars) or out in the pasture (wire fencing) though the top of all the fence posts in her field were slanted slightly instead of straight because she'd worn them down from the cribbing over the years.

                            She was pastured with plenty of different horses over time. Her stall was right at the front of the barn where she could be seen by any horse coming through there.

                            Not one other horse learned to crib from her, even my mouthy gelding who has to get his mouth on everything.

                            I agree its more likely that a horse that is predisposed to cribbing may learn how to from a cribber, but just because any horse is near a cribber doesn't mean that horse will also learn to crib.
                            The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                            Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                            • #34

                              Accourding to Pat Parelli - horses that crib are simply "burping"

                              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                              • #35
                                So if I play games with my mare, her stress will disappear and she'll stop naturally??

                                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


                                • #36
                                  However, please do keep spreading the tale far and wide that cribbers will cause other horses to crib. I have just acquired a new gorgeous, sound, well trained horse for free because they could not sell her because she cribs. I am happy to help anyone by taking their high quality, sound, perfectly trained horses who happen to crib and thereby protecting the rest of their barn from this horrible scourge. ;-)


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                                    So if I play games with my mare, her stress will disappear and she'll stop naturally??

                                    Only if she is a right brained left handed dominant thinking Taurus who was born when Mars was in Jupiter's frame of reference.
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling


                                    • #38
                                      While I do not think horses "learn" cribbing... I can't stand it. It is like nails on a chalk board to me (worse!). I would be kinda bummed out if a cribber moved in to the stall next door (because its annoying), and I would be SUPER bummed out if my horse started cribbing.

                                      Luckily not a single cribber at my current barn.

                                      Good on you that own cribbers and are happy with them despite their little habit, I am not surprised it deters buyers though - I can't imagine I would purchase a cribber.
                                      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                      • #39
                                        Kills me that in this day and age of advanced studies, so many seem content to slap apparatus on their cribbers and think "Problem solved!".


                                        • #40
                                          Do Not Take the Chance if you do not wish to have a 'cribber&quot;

                                          Studies and studies .... pashaw !

                                          This is simple ~ if you do not want your horse to crib than ask the BO to move the cribber out of your horse's sight & sound ~

                                          Boarding barns usually stall all cribbers together ~ if they will accept them at all ~

                                          Why take the chance ?

                                          GOOD LUCK !
                                          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "