Horse cribbing is an issue that horse owners face all over the world. While it is not very harmful, horses do it every once in a while. It can have severe consequences for the horse if it is a frequent habit. In the past, owners often tend to ignore instances of horse cribbing, but those days are well and truly gone. With more research taking place in the world, horse owners are becoming more aware of how to stop horse cribbing.
Before you learn how to prevent horse cribbing, you should understand what horse cribbing is? why horses do it, and what its effects are. To learn all there is to know about horse cribbing, click here. If you already know all about horse cribbing and want to know how to stop horse cribbing, then read on.
How to Stop Horse Cribbing?
Experts believe that in some cases, horse owners should let horses crib if it is not very frequent, as it may be a way for the horse to cope with its isolation. Before you attempt to put a stop to your horse’s cribbing habits, you must know the underlying causes. If the reason is something very serious, only then should you take preventive steps.
Here are certain preventive measures that horse owners adopt to stop horse cribbing habits.
When discussing the reasons behind a horse’s cribbing behavior, we touched on the importance of sticking to a stable diet. Inconsistent diet patterns have direct links to the cribbing habits displayed by horses. Owners should take some steps to ensure that their horses are on the right diet.
The best diet that is effective in managing horse cribbing is one that consists of fiber and fat. Experts also suggest a drastic reduction in the number of concentrates that horses consume. With such feeding practices, you can expect your horse to stay much calmer and steer clear of frequent cribbing.
In case the dietary changes don’t have a considerable effect on managing cribbing behavior. You can try giving your horse antacids. Sometimes, an excess amount of acid produced in the horse’s stomach triggers weaving. An antacid can lower acid levels and keep cribbing in check.
Activities for Keeping Your Horse Occupied
Horses are incredibly active animals. However, a lot of horse owners tend to keep their horses inactive by keeping them contained in stables. In such a scenario, it is imperative to give the horse more freedom and more activities to take part in.
If your veterinarian doctor concludes that your horse’s cribbing habits are the result of boredom and a lack of stimulation, then you should try ways to keep your horse stimulated. The easiest way of giving your horse stimulation is to let it out in open pastures. Simply seeing a wide-open expanse in front of it should stimulate the horse.
A lot of horse owners these days are also trying to keep their horses stimulated by using a variety of toys. You can also choose a goat or another horse to accompany your horse so that it does not get easily boring and turn to crib for stimulation.
Electrifying Cribbing Surfaces
Horse owners usually avoid this solution, but it may work for some horses. Before you electrify cribbing surfaces to stop horse cribbing, you have to identify the surfaces that your horse typically chooses for cribbing.
Once you identify the cribbing surfaces, you could electrify them. On electrify the cribbing surfaces, your horse will get a jolt of electricity that will be extremely unpleasant. Once the horse realizes that cribbing on the surface results in something unpleasant, it will automatically stop.
Please note we do not recommend this method as exposing your horse to jolts of electricity will be regarded as animal cruelty.
Surgical methods are used only in the most extreme cases of cribbing, and most horse owners only choose surgery as a last resort. The surgical treatment options involve scarring the horse’s throat muscles so that it has great difficulty in flexing them during cribbing.
However, this method is not at all cost-effective as surgery is expensive and requires the horse to be admitted to a special equine medical facility. It is also widely considered as an act of animal cruelty that is performed to make life more convenient for horse owners.
Medicines that sedate horses are options that horse owners can consider to stop horse cribbing. Most cases of horse cribbing take place due to stress and high levels of mental stimulation. You can use sedatives to calm the horse’s nerves, which can stop horse cribbing.
This is not a preventive measure. However, several experts on horses and animal rights activists would recommend this approach. It involves horse owners simply accepting the fact that their horse’s crib and trying to find out management methods to reduce the habit instead of stopping it altogether.
This method has garnered popularity among owners of horses as they have seen that most other approaches only stop horse cribbing temporarily. This approach can encourage horses to reduce their cribbing habits.
Some of the things that horse owners can try is covering wooden surfaces with rubber to protect horses’ teeth from damage. There are anti-chew sprays available in the market as well, which can reduce the frequency of horse cribbing. Some horse owners also allow their horses some amount of freedom to crib during the day and use a muzzle, strap, or collar to prevent horse cribbing for the rest of the day.
How Does a Horse Cribbing Collar Work?
One of the preventive methods that have gained popularity is the use of horse cribbing collars. Once the horse wears such a collar, its jawbones get locked in a particular position, limiting their freedom to crib.
The best horse cribbing collar for your horse would be one that fits it perfectly. The materials used for creating cribbing collars are typically metal and leather. The mechanism of the cribbing collar stops the horse from opening its throat muscles. With such a cribbing collar, you can put an end to your horse’s cribbing habits.
However, horse owners need to be careful while using cribbing collars as they severely restrict the freedom of the horses in terms of opening their throat muscles. A horse that has to wear such a collar round-the-clock is bound to be an unhappy horse. It can significantly increase its stress levels. As a result, it is not a guaranteed way of stopping horse cribbing, as the horse will immediately start cribbing once you take the collar off.
As a horse owner, you need to remember that horses are emotional beings and need to be happy. You should make every effort possible to give as much love, care, and support to your horse as possible before taking preventive measures to stop horse cribbing.