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nootka

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Well, my gelding doesn't do as much of the nipping at his tail anymore, but what he's begun doing or has been doing a bit and is increasing, is cribbing.

You know, where they grab ahold of something and "urp" air inward?

He grabs a fence panel upright piece of metal and turns his head to one side and "urp" in goes the air.

Anyone have luck in stopping this with minis?

Advice/recommendations?

What are the risks associated w/this behavior?

Thanks in advance!

Liz M.
 

liltnt

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Dar-b does it, well he cribs, used to put his head through the pipe railing so I put chicken wire all around the pipe and he cant get his head thrrough. But he also sucks on his tongue. Strangest thing you have ever seen, a mini with his tongue sticking out the side He really looks rather retarded. I have noticed he does it most when he is nervous about something.
 

Marty

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Oh nuts Liz: Cribbing lets off "endorphines" in your horses system and gets them adicted.

You will not want to hear this but in my opinion and I am sure many will disagree but this is one vice that will never be cured. It is usually a learned habit from another horse. If you have another horse doing it, a younger horse will pick it up. And if your horse is cribbing, don't let any other young horses near him to see this or they will do it too.

Others may disagree with me but I promise you, this has been my experience with cribbers.

No collar works. They get imune to it and you have to keep making it tighter and tighter.

No anything you paint on anything will work either.

I have even hot wired a stall and they will crib on their buckets then too!

You are stuck with a cribber.

Now, my good buddy Lisa is going to be here and disagree me on this one. But I am telling you that a cribber will blow up it's belly BIG and eventually colic from taking in too much "wind". Her cribber does not colic on her. She is one of the lucky ones. But your's might be like mine and do it.

The way I handled the worst cribber I have ever seen was to keep her outside as much as possible. I hot wired all fences so she could not grab anything but the water troff which she did that too.

Also by leaving her out, she was able to keep moving and that way, decreasing the size of her belly that was full of bloat. Riding at a trot helped considerably and when not ridden she had to be lunged daily to be able to pass gas through some serious buck farts. That is how I kept her "deflated." But allowed to stay in a stall, even over night, the next moring she would have a huge belly and eventually colic on me like once a month.

During an icy blizzard during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend she was kept in side her stall for two solid days when there was no way to get her outside to move around. Due to that she began to bloat badly and gas colic. I had to get her up and out in the blizzard conditions and tried my best to get her moving and to lunge her to no avail to pass off that gas. She died.

Not what you wanted to hear but I am sharring my experience with you on this.

Try to keep him as busy as you can.

Also some people will say not to feed him any sweet feed or alfalfa and just plain oats and grass hay. I am not sure about this, but I was told that this does help somewhat. You are going to have to try to atleast control this somehow. I wish I had better news. Keep in mind that my mare had a very severe case of cribbing too.
 

Jacquee'

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How long has your horse been doing this? And, is he confined in a stall or barn?

Without this info I am sort of shooting in the dark, but this is what I know about cribbing.

It usually starts out of boredom - the horse is confined in a stall or other small area, maybe has a little bit of tension (wondering where the other horses are, wondering when they will go out next etc.) and then they start doing this. If you can catch it right away and turn them out on pasture with buddies, they usually give it up as normal horse life is more interesting to them. However a confirmed cribber won't give it up....... it releases endorphins in the brain and makes them feel good (like a drug, sort of) and they actually get addicted to the feeling.

The only solution that I know of with a confirmed cribber is to fit them with a collar that won't allow them to crib. Usually the second you take it off, they crib again.

As for the risks, they wear out the front teeth from grabbing on to whatever they grab, sometimes to a dangerous point, and SOME won't eat!!! They just stand around and crib all day. When I worked at one of the boarding stables I worked at, there was one particular horse that we got calls on all the time. He was painfully thin because he just would not eat. He was turned out in a lush pasture with lots of gentle buddies, but he spent all day long at a fence post, cribbing. His owner refused to allow us to put a cribbing collar on him because it was "dangerous". She said he might catch it on something and he could get hurt!!!
She apparently did not take into consideration the fact that the horse was practically starving itself to death. Very frustrating situation!!!!
 

justaboutgeese

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I am with Marty on this one. Cribbing is a vice that will render a horse unsound and other horses pickup on it. A collar will deter him for a short time but within days they will be back at it. A man I much respected said the best thing to do with a "windsucker" is sell him. The fact that other horses within sight will soon pickup and start the same habbit makes it a really tragic vice. This should not be confused with chewing wood on a stall or fence rail. Many horses will do that with no ill effect. As you have noticed they will start holding onto something but if nothing is available to them they will suck on their tongue.
 

tigeresss

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Wow I never thought of minis as cribbers. I've never in my life met a mini that cribs. I'd have to agree with justaboutgeese and marty on this one. Try to spend as much time as possible with him, also if you can don't stall him.
 

nootka

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Thanks, everyone, for your insight so far.

Unfortunately, I cannot keep him outside 100% of the time. We are in a remote area and there are Cougars and Bears, not to mention Coyotes and bobcats very nearby, also stray dogs!

So....he IS in the barn overnight, but he is allowed outside, where I have never yet seen him do this. Not to say he isn't, but I have yet to experience it.

I have noticed that his belly never really gets "flat" looking or sleek looking even though he is in good shape. I may try to reduce the places he can get ahold of and see if that helps.

I will move his mom away so she can't see him anymore, because I have no other horses that do this at this time, and I don't want any others.

Perhaps he might be best off being someone's only horse? Or would some say it is best to euthanize a horse that could potentially teach other horses such a bad and dangerous habit?

I have yet to see any sign that he's got problems from it (I plan to inspect his teeth later this evening), but Marty's situation sounds awful! I would hate to witness that, and I'm sorry she had to.

Do they even make straps for horses in the miniature range?

Thanks, everyone,

Liz M.
 

Jacquee'

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I will disagree slightly about straps, since I have personally known about 12 cribbers that were controlled with straps. (However as soon as you took them off they were at it again.) BUT. They are not just a plain strap. They have a metal part, that is supposed to stop the horse flexing the neck, which is what does the trick. A plain strap would NOT work.

I have never seen a mini cribbing strap, but you might try a muzzle. This is a new idea for big horse cribbers, and might be worth trying. As long as the horse is not able to grip something with the front teeth, it might work. If you use a grazing muzzle, you could cut out part of it to allow more food to get in, as long as the horse could not crib as well.

If some genius could come up with a REAL cure for cribbing, they would make a zillion dollars. It is a very destructive habit.
 

Frankie

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Liz,

I have no advice,

but,

I do have a mini cribbing strap, won it at an auction with a box of stuff.

It is yours to try if you want. PM me your address and I'll get it sent off.

It's free, may be worth a try.

Let me know.
 

Marty

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I will disagree slightly about straps, since I have personally known about 12 cribbers that were controlled with straps. (However as soon as you took them off they were at it again.)

I feel Jacquee' is right to a point here because when my Kate was just a young mare, the strap worked for a couple of years. Then it didn't and I had a wide assortment of different kinds.

A muzzle did not work either at all. They just pick thier face up with the muzzle on and prop it against a post or a wall and crib right in it. Sometimes, they use whatever the muzzle is made of too. I've had different kinds of those as well.

As far as selling the horse, personally if someone ever sold me a horse and neglected to let me know it cribbed, I'd probably open up quite a big can of whoop axx on them. I'll never have another cribber in my barn.

Liz, what I would do if I were you would to put a camera on this horse and watch him closely before making any hastydecisions. Some cribbers are just fine and lead good lives and do not pose a threat to themselves or other horses like my mare did. If this horse is a contendor for driving, then this sounds like a good thing.

My beloved Kate, who was born in my arms by the way, picked this habit up as a weanling when I boarded an old cribbing standardbred mare in the stall next to her.

Kate went on to be my very successful english pleasure horse, and also was Little Dan's "bombproof" western pleasure horse. She was shown for many years on the circuit and was always in the ribbons, and lived a very happy life for 17 years. So do take some time in your decision. Cribbing is not necessarily a death sentence at all. It's something you just have to keep a vigil on. You can read about Kate on my rainbow bridge page.

I do want to again mention that I feel that working is very good for the horse that cribs. I noticed that not only my cribbing horse, but a couple others I used to ride, slowed up on their cribbing quite a bit when they were kept "tired."
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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there are plenty of myths about cribbing the first one is that the swallow all that air.. many studies show that just isnt true, the 2nd is that if you have a horse that cribs all your horses will start again NOT TRUE.

Euthinze a horse for cribbing NEVER not here not with any of the cribbers I have owned and worked with. My foals and yearlings and horses of all ages are around a cribbing horse no one ever thinks of cribbing or following suit not for YEARS

Cribbing with horses is well like drinking i guess some can drink once in a while with no problem others are alcoholics after that first drink. Same thing with cribbers some are prone to it.

I have had many cribbers in my time as many though or belived the myths the one thing that is true is it is almost impossible to stop

there arent alot of health risks other then teeth needing more attention and sometimes weight can be an issue as they take a bite and then crib sometimes dropping what they just put in there mouth.

There is a lot of danger with a proper fitted collar if your horse gets cast you CANT get that collar off and you surely cant cut it off I have seen more then one horse die that way.

I have a cribber now he is a big horse and is 20 years old.. he has been cribbing most of his life he is NEVER stalled but has the barn isle to live in when he opts to and then his turn out. He cribs in the barn all the time and while he has ruined a few panels (he is 17 hands) NONE of my other horses crib even after watching him do it all the time

It truly IMO isnt that big of a deal I have done lots of research and if you check the NEW research you will find most vets agree it isnt as tragic as once thought I personally wouldnt stress to much over it

There is some new studies pointing to it perhaps being related to uclers

YOu got a nice horse that you want to sell cheap cause it cribs.. let me know


also wanted to add that my horse has been a VERY succesful show horse on the hunter circut for YEARS before he retired it didnt effect him healthwise at all - take your time and really talk to your vet and other vets before making any rash decisions and again anyone out there that has a nice show horse that cribs.. and they think they cant live with it or it is to big of a problem or they believe the myths.. let me know
 
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Marty

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Lisa, I am wondering also if you or anyone ever have had any success with the miracle collar?

I thought for sure that would help us out, but I found that particular collar to be worse than most of the others.

Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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NOpe I will never use a collar ever I have watched more then one horse die getting cast in a miracle collar when on the right way (enough to stop cribbing) they are very tight and of course somewhere you cant use a knife in a emergency one would think leather would snap but it didnt and for me and every cribber i have seen the risk of them getting caught and dying are to great for me compared to the cribbing itself. the odds might be slim but odds i am not willing to take

that isnt to say it will happen to all horse that they will get caught on something and get hurt or worse guess it is like those who leave halters on ,or run stallions togther, or let nature take its course with there horses not saying anyone is wrong but eventually i have found the odds to tend to catch up with you when you least expect it and after seeing it and watching people get seriously hurt trying to free these horses and knowing that the collar was just to tight (as it is intended to be) to do much for me personally it isnt worth it
 
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Marty

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I got in a lot of trouble with that Miracle Collar. I could not adjust it correctly. I must have punched a dozen or so holes in it and the brow band kept falling into Kate's eyes and she could have lost an eye!

Here is one of many articles on the subject.

There are just so many to read. I just grabbed the first one that came up but do a search and you may get some newer information than what this one has to offer. There is supposed to be one about the research that Lisa is talking about but I didn't see that one yet.

Aerophagia or Oral 'Windsucking' in Horses Disclaimer

Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘Windsucking’ or ‘crib biting’ is the term used to describe the technique developed by a horse where it anchors its top teeth on a rail or post, arches its neck and gulps in air, making a characteristic ‘grunting’ sound as the air is swallowed.

New evidence suggests that stretching the neck and gulping air is a pleasurable sensation due to endorphin release, and the expanded stomach makes the horse feel contented and satisfied.

Windsucking often leads to excessive teeth wear, and in bad cases, the top front incisors may be worn away, making it difficult for a horse to graze efficiently on shorter pasture. Swallowing air also leads to digestive upset and poor condition die to interrupted feeding and loss of appetite as a result of feeling ‘full’ with air in the stomach.

Causes of windsucking

Remedies for winduscking

Related Products

Causes of windsucking Top

Confinement to stables, resulting in boredom and frustration may cause a horse to initially nibble or chew wood, and then develop the windsucking habit.

Horses and foals will mimic and learn the technique from other horses.

Occasionally, a horse will even windsuck by arching its neck and anchoring its teeth on its own knee joint or cannon bone.

Remedies for winduscking Top

Unfortunately, there are no totally successful methods to prevent or curb windsucking.

Initially, crib biting can be deterred by liberal smears of hot tasting greases, such as Stop Crib, applied to all horizontal surfaces or favourite cribbing ledges, tops of posts or rails in stables, yards and paddocks. However, as a windsucking horse only rests it stop teeth on rails or tops of posts, these preparations may not be tasted and in some horses will be less effective.

Preparations with an offensive or irritating smell, such as creosote, may be helpful in keeping horses from chewing rails, but are messy to apply.

Metal mirrors affixed to the back of the stall may reduce the frequency of windsucking in a young, nervous and lonely horse confined to a stable.

Replacing half of the lucerne (green) chaff with cereal (white) chaff can slow down the rate at which a meal is eaten by 15 – 20 % and help prevent boredom

A 75mm wide, thick leather calf neck strap fitted carefully and snugly around the throat latch area appears to be successful. A wide, flat pliable strap is less likely to cause pressure sores on the throat latch, as can occur with the traditional metal-hinged windsucking straps.

In severe cases, a modified Forsells operation to prevent arching of the lower neck muscles to windsuck may be successful in the short term in young horses – however, surgical techniques are largely ineffective, often expensive and can result in a scar and loss of hair around the throat area.

In the mid 1980’s the compound Nalmefene was heralded as a deterrent for crib biting and windsucking. It acts by blocking the release of endorphins, which are thought to produce a ‘high’ feeling during the windsucking habit. A low continuous dose released by pellets deposited under the skin was reported to suppress crib biting and windsucking for up to 4 weeks. However, the drug is expensive, may cause side effects resembling low grade colic and, once the blocking effects of the drug wears off, a chronic windsucker and crib biter is likely to return to its habit with renewed vigour.
 

rabbitsfizz

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OK- we have two vices here, not one. Cribbing- no wind taken in. Windsucking- obviously, wind taken in!! Easy, right?? One often but not always leads to the other, which is why they are lumped together- like Laminitis and Founder- I have had three ponies get Laminitis, but none of them foundered! Cribbing is where they chew stuff, Windsucking is where they take hold, pull towards them and gulp. Both release endorphins. Both are the result of boredom. Cribbing very definitely is inheritable, BUT the animal has to have a predisposition to the vice. They are both true neuroses and cannot be cured, only, to a certain extent, prevented. As most people attempt to prevent without removing the cause, it is pointless and, IMO, cruel, to do so. The "Magic Collar" does prevent, and can be used with breakaway attachments, but it does say the horse should not be left for long periods unattended. In Mouses case I would say the tail chasing was the start- I think I said so at the time? You could try lots of things but the first thing I would do is change his stall, change the layout of the new stall, give him ad lib hay and one of those boredom breaker food balls and also leave the aisle door open so he can walk around and talk to everyone in the barn. You could try giving him a chicken or some other companion, in his stall, but other horses are best. In an experiment done a few years ago now (like a hundred, probably!!) a Shetland cribber /Windsucker was put in an environment where it could not do either. It was stimulated daily, exercised, driven, played with etc, all in a totally controlled environment. In it's turnout there was company and NO way it could indulge it's vice. This went on for four years. Withing FIVE minutes of being returned to the cribbing available stall, it was cribbing/windsucking!! So- NO cure, only prevention. In mouses case I still think you may be able to "head it off at the pass" if you can put the work in. Also try putting Bi-Carb in his feed and cut out as much of the protein content in his feed that you possibly can- I would just stop feeding him altogether and just give him good hay and loads of it, but I know you guys have heart attacks at the idea of not giving feeds!!
 

Cathy_H

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Never had one do that but it seems to me if you remove, modify, change, rearrange or redo the areas that the horse is in then this would solve the problem... Might take some work & thinking but surely a stall can be built so that a horse cannot find anything to latch on to.......... There is always the neck surgery several have done on their show mini's whether they were cribbers or not................. Relate it to a chain smoker- take away the cigarettes & they can not smoke but they may go on to another bad habit though................. I personnaly would try to put a horse like this where they can be out 24/7 at least in a secure big dry lot. Take away or redo anything that enables the horse to perform this bad habit.
 

nootka

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Thank you, everyone, for your input and suggestions.

I am going to sort through them and see if we can apply some of them to our situation.

I have the feeling he has been doing this for a while, and possibly picked it up when he started the tail chasing.

He has not been chasing his tail at all, lately, either, though. That behavior seems to decrease dramatically as we approach a show, even though it would seem to me that common sense would dictate the opposite would be true.

He has his mother as a next door neighbor, and can see her at all times.

I am going to look into the bizzy ball, thanks, Shari! I had been looking for a better toy to occupy him and this looks like it.

I have put a heavy coating of deodorant soap on his favorite grab points. I know cribbing and wind sucking are two different things. He has showed that he likes to chew wood in the past, and I saw that last year while he was at shows and not living w/me. He has stopped that behavior, and now he does this wind sucking.

I will also try increasing his workouts or maybe changing them to twice per day instead of once.

Also going to see about moving the camera from the foaling stall to his and see if I can determine a pattern to help break it up for him.

I truly appreciate everyone's input and I hope this is something we can live with and keep him healthy in mind and body.

Happy Fourth!

Liz M.
 

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