Cribbing is a common behavior in horses, but it’s also one that you’ll want to discourage. Horses that crib can damage your barn and fences, but cribbing also has negative effects on the horse’s health, such as tooth damage and potential colic episodes. Try out these six ways to manage your horse’s cribbing.
Use a Cribbing Collar
One of the simplest ways to manage your horse’s cribbing is to use a cribbing collar. Your horse will need to wear the collar all of the time (except when being ridden), and the collar needs to be tight enough to be effective. Cribbing collars can help manage mild to moderate cribbing cases.
Use a Muzzle
If a cribbing collar doesn’t work, try putting a grazing muzzle on your horse. Your horse will still be able to eat, but he won’t be able to latch on to a surface to crib. Make sure that the muzzle fits your horse correctly, and monitor your horse to be sure that he doesn’t lose weight as a result.
Maximize Turnout Time
Many horses crib as a result of extra energy or boredom. Try to maximize the amount of time that your horse can spend in his pasture to help reduce his desire to crib. If possible, see if your horse’s cribbing is reduced when he’s in a 24-hour turnout situation with minimal time in the barn.
Use a Slow Feeder
When your horse is in his stall, continuously having hay in front of him can help to minimize his cribbing. Some horses won’t crib as long as hay is available. Try feeding your horse’s hay in a hay net, a small hole hay net, or a slow feeder to slow down his consumption and help the hay to last throughout the night.
Make Surfaces Unappealing
If your horse cribs in his stall or on a particular post, you can try to make those surfaces unappealing to deter him from cribbing. Applying products like Quitt will leave your horse with a bad taste in his mouth when he cribs. Some owners have had success in covering the edges of their stalls with metal. This method won’t work for every horse, but it may reduce your horse’s cribbing.
Consider Surgical Options
For severe cribbing cases, surgery is sometimes recommended. If you try every method to manage your horse’s cribbing but it’s still having a negative effect on his health, then your vet may recommend that you consider surgery to help manage your horse’s cribbing.
With proper management, many horses can reduce or cease their cribbing.