Cribbing Problem

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Cribbing Problem Empty Cribbing Problem

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:55 pm

Hi Cheryl,

I bought a 10 year old mare the end of October that cribs. What was I thinking?? Well she is a lovely Paso Fino and needed me. she was not trained and I needed a winter project here in Northern Mn where the winters are long. Anyway I would like to try and teach her that when she cribs it is not a good thing. do you think this is possible? She has a fear of being locked in a stall--this is where she learned to crib--so I have spent the last 3 months slowly getting her comfortable in the barn in the aisle loose so she can go where ever she wants including out the door. Then I started graining her in a stall with the door shut as long as I stay with her. Now I am leaving for a short time to see if she can stay calm. Some days she can but most days she can't. Any help would be greatfully appreciated. She is very smart and I have been riding her with no bit or saddle and am amazed at how easy she was to train.

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Cribbing Problem Empty Re: Cribbing Problem

Post by Cheryl Ward on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:08 pm

Hi Sandi,

Thanks for your question and congratulations on your new mare. From what I've read and have been told by my veterinarian is that cribbing is something that a horse does out of boredom. My vet also added that it's usually the rather intelligent horses that take to cribbing, as they are able to figure out that something that they do, (cribbing, sucking wind) eases the boredom. Fortunately, not all horses are all that creative.

Supposedly, the other thing that the wind sucking does, is creates an endorphin release that feels good to the horse. Since the horse is not feeling good (bored) it is looking for something to make it feel better. While cribbing make not be able to be eliminated completely (since it's such a fun thing for a horse to do) you may be able to find activities for your mare that will make her feel better and those activities will replace the cribbing.

Here are a few ideas for the stall:

I really like the Amazing Graze Treat Dispenser. It's a durable plastic treat dispenser allows treats to be gravity fed. 4" access hole is easy to open and close, convenient for cleaning. Perfect for horse treats, apple and carrot cubes.

There is also a stall mounted treat dispenser called Horseplay Round Mounted Stall Toy, and one more made by Likit brand.

Another option is to find a hay net with small net or mesh openings. You can look under names such as Freedom Feeder, Nibble Net, Busy Horse Snacker or you may be able to make your own. This creates a challenge for the horse to pull the hay through the tiny openings and will also give your horse something to do. Here's a link from Paddock Paradise with a bunch of great ideas:

Your mare sounds wonderful. The more time that you can spend with her in her stall, helping her see that the stall is fun and a place where good things happen by providing her things to challenge her very intelligent mind, the more you'll see the cribbing subside and hopefully go away. My theory is that if you can replace the cribbing with something that feels better, like getting a treat from the dispenser or eating hay from the special nets, she'll repeat the activity that feels the best.

Let me know if this helps. Warm wishes!

Cheryl Ward
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