How to Stop a Horse from Chewing Wood?

horse chewing/cribbing wooden post

Horses are very intelligent animals. They are naturally inclined to play and run around outside. If you keep a horse in the stable for too long, then it will develop bad habits. These bad habits are the result of boredom and frustration. One of these bad habits is chewing wood. If your horse is chewing wood, then it will damage its incisors. In this article, we discuss all the steps to take to stop a horse from chewing wood.

Some medical conditions also cause your horse to chew wood. One of these conditions is vitamin deficiency. However, the most common cause of this bad habit is boredom and frustration.

Why do horses chew wood?

When kept in an unknown environment for long periods, your horse starts to chew wood. If your horse cannot establish a relationship with other members in the herd, then it can start to chew wood. Let us discuss some of the conditions that compel your horse to do this.


If left in the stable for most of the time, then your horse will become bored. This boredom can lead to chewing wood. You should allow your horse to run and exercise in the open field. They need exercise in the same way as humans. These animals are born to run.

Nutritional Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency can compel your horse to eat some non-edible substances. So, what non-edible substance is available to them? Wood. They will start to chew it. This condition is somewhat rare, but it does represent some serious nutritional deficiencies in your horse’s body.


Some horses are habitual wood chewers. They learn these types of behaviors from other horses, and this habit remains with them forever. If you find your horse chewing wood even once, give it a harsh verbal thrashing. Do not reinforce this type of behavior. It will only cause more problems for you in the future.

How can you stop a horse from chewing wood?

When you notice your horse chewing wood out of boredom or frustration or due to any of the reasons listed above, you must consult a veterinarian. Once he or she has checked all of the nutritional and medical issues, then you would know the reason why your horse is chewing wood. In the case of horses, the root cause is more important than the cure. Once you know the cause, you can take proper measures to cure it.

Allow your horse to play in the field for some time

As mentioned earlier, if you keep your horse in the stable for the majority of the time, then it will develop habits to overcome boredom. What habit are we talking about? Chewing wood. So, you should make a proper timetable for your horse to have free time in an open field.

However, if your horse is not busy in an open field, then this can also lead to some bad habits. Your concern should be to keep your horse occupied most of the time.

You must allow your horse to lead a normal life with all the other members of the herd. You should choose such a field that is full of grass. If the grass is not available, you can use hay. Make sure the field is big enough so that your horse can run freely. A field of at least one acre is preferred.

Check your horse’s diet

There is some evidence to prove that a horse’s diet is also responsible for chewing wood. However, you should first consult your doctor before making any changes to its diet. It is your veterinarian who best knows the horse and can suggest what is right and wrong.

Socialize your horse

Outdoor activities are not enough to stop a horse from chewing wood. You need to allow your horse to socialize with other horses. Like humans, they are a social being. If your horse can establish a good relationship with the rest of the herd, then it will not be bored again. However, make sure that you do not pair two wood-chewing horses together. It can have a bad influence on both of them.

Treat or protect wood surfaces

You can protect the wood surfaces by applying paint or sprays that have very bad taste. This will prevent your horse from chewing wood. However, the problem with this type of paint is that it can get washed away from the rain. You should also make sure that the paints or spray that you are using is non-toxic. They should not harm your horse in any way. They should just stop a horse from chewing wood.

You can also cover wooden surfaces with nails. Electric fencing will usually keep the mischievous horse away from chewing wood.

Give your horse a toy

You can also use toys to keep your horse from chewing wood. You can use toys like a big rubber ball. The horse will have all his attention on the toy and will not feel bored. No boredom implies that the horse will stop chewing wood.

What we are trying to say in these points is that your focus should be on keeping your horse engaged. Try to keep them busy as much as possible. Horses are childish and playful, so let them play.

Home remedies for horses that are chewing wood

In addition to the above-stated ways, you can also use some home remedies to stop a horse from chewing wood. These home remedies are simple to administer and need little effort from your side.

Anti-chew spray

You can use an anti-chew spray to stop your horse from chewing wood. These sprays have a very bitter taste. Apply on wood items your horse chews. You can apply this spray to the affected areas. Do not hesitate to reapply if the need arises.

Be patient

If you want to stop a horse from chewing wood, you need to have patience. You cannot expect to see results after one or two days. It will take time to stop your horse from chewing. There is no fixed time that we could recommend. It varies from horse to horse.

If you start thrashing your horse for its chewing behavior, then this will only make the situation more complicated. The horse may become frustrated or sad and start chewing more wood.

A horse loves to be treated like a child. You should pamper it and tell which behavior is accepted, and which is not. Teach your horse with love, and it will listen to all your commands.

Some basic guidelines:

  • Apply paints or sprays over the wood
  • Feed your horse a natural diet
  • Keep your horse active
  • Make sure your horse is healthy


Follow the above guidelines, and you will start to observe some improvement in your horse’s chewing habit. Horses want your love. Give them love and teach them how to behave. You are the master. Reinforce your authority in front of the horse. Patience will pay off, and the horse will stop chewing wood.