I recently read this article on cribbing which is a symptom of digestive issues. My quarterhorse also chews on the crossties and on fences, water barrels, anything that gives him the leverage to “suck air”. He’s actually expelling air when he does this so I’m trying some digestive aids for a few months to see if that prevents him from this habit. I stopped using the cribbing collar after reading the following article:
“What an odd thing to watch a horse do… he grabs hold of the rail or the trough with his teeth and does this funny sucking, gulping thing over and over, and all the while he has this strange calm look about him.
For years it was thought that horse cribbing was a nasty habit – something that was caused by boredom. The common belief was that cribbing horses needed to be stopped – and the methods employed for stopping it were electric shocks or a metal collar that prevented the horse from distending his windpipe. Thankfully, today we know better.
Research has shown that cribbing (also known as windsucking) is not about a horse sucking or gulping air – which is what it sounds like. What they are actually doing is expelling air out – in other words, they’re burping. Cribbing is how they relieve upper digestive discomfort.
Once you understand that a horse is trying to relieve indigestion, you will – we hope – think very differently about putting that cribbing collar on the horse.
The Natural Horsemanship Approach to Cribbing Horses
If your horse is prevented from cribbing – in other words, he can’t burp – whatever gastric discomfort he’s in to begin with is likely to get worse if he can’t relieve it in the natural way he knows how.
What Causes Horse Cribbing?
Cribbing is an early warning sign of digestive distress so it would be no surprise if the horse’s condition is poor. It’s usually only a matter of time before something like colic will eventuate. When people say horse cribbing results in colic, weight loss, etc…. maybe it’s the other way around.