Midnight Magic. 19th May 2015- The start of the Dream coming true

Midnight Magic. 19th May 2015- The start of the Dream coming true
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Cribbing - How the horse works series

posted by AmberRose- Girl With a Dream on ,


What is it?
It is not a disease but is an inappropriate behavioral pattern in horse, and can also be called 'Sterotypic Behavior'. Like humans animals can exhibit Obsessive compulsive behavior, that is non-lethal but can still be destructive, well horses to exhibit repitition and habitual behavior, that can be difficult to control and stop. Cribbing is when a horse places his upper incisorts on a hard object e.g. a stall door, and sucks in large amounts of air. They make a gulping noise, and will repeat it. It's not related to nutritional disorders or any illness, but is linked to boredom or nerves. This is more annoying than it is an actual illness, however it can lead to superficial health issues e.g. enlargement of the throat muscles. It can also be mistake for wind sucking. As the horse cribs the arch in the horses neck causes the horse to swallow air.

Teeth marks can normally be found on a stable door, or any other wood pieces. Top front teeth, the incisors are more worn than would normally be in a 'normal' horse of its age. Arching the neck while grasping onto an object with the incisors. The horse could also make grunting noises whilst Cribbing.  
Normally it can be linked to boredom, stress or nerves in a horse. Horses that are hyper active and appear tense and highly strung and are kept in a place where not a lot is  happening during the day, for example not enough time in the pasture, are more likely to develop such behavior issues. Other stereotypical behaves that are similar to this are stall weaving, where the horse constantly moves back and forth in its stall and pawing at the ground. Horses can develop several of these issues over time.

Cribbing Behavior is easily seen, this then makes it simple to diagnose. A vet is not required as it is not a medical issue, but it can also be a good idea to get the vet out as they could perform a complete physical exam which could show up underlying illnesses or injuries that are causing the stress or discomfort. The vet would also want to take a closer look at the horses mouth to see if there has been any changes in the teeth.

Normally you need to find the cause of the stress, nerves or just plain boredom. If it is due to boredom then the treatment is to find something that stimulates the horse making it less bored this could include stable toys or more activity during the daily routine. Also a Companion for your horse could help, also make sure to increase the amount of time grooming and riding your horse. If it is to vent too much energy then more time riding helps or more time spent out in the field. A cribbing strap can be used this is secured round the horses throat and behind his ears and jawline. It stops the horse from flexing his neck when he tries to crib. It is not painful for the horse and doesn't prevent the horse eating or drinking. An extreme treatment is surgery. However it is something that may never be fuly stopped.
Living and Managing the problem?
Keeping a horse stabled to long is what often leads a horse to this vice or behavioral issue in the first place. The closer you keep a horse to its natural environment the less likely the horse is to develop this issue. The best living and management of your horse is to give the horse enough activity and fun to stop boredom.
Until Next Time
A Girl With A Dream


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