I’ve never had a horse that cribbed. That is, until I took the lease on Georgie. I wish I could still say that I’ve never had a horse that cribbed, because cribbing and caring for a cribber has been ulcer inducing. For both of us.
I knew Georgie cribbed when I got her. Her owner allowed her to crib and you could hear her sucking air from across the indoor as she was getting tacked up. About 5 months before I started leasing her she was diagnosed with ulcers, but I was never given much information about it, and nothing in her routine changed as a result of the diagnosis.
Then, about 4 months into my lease, Georgie had a mild bout of gas colic. A vet visit and Banamine and she was back to herself. But then, a month later, we had another colic. No worse, but still worth a vet visit. And then a third time, another month later. Now I was getting worried and frustrated. After consulting with my vets I decided to make some changes. Along with adding Smartpak supplements, I also added the dreaded cribbing collar.
It’s been just over a year since Georgie’s last colic episode and she started wearing the collar, but I’m still struggling with the decision. Not because of the effect it’s had, but because of the controversy. How many of you have used cribbing collars or had cribbers? Do you feel like your horse is a bit of an outcast? Boarders have requested Georgie not live next to their horses for fear their horse may begin cribbing (does this REALLY happen?) and every trainer, teenager, horse owner, and 5 year old has an opinion about my horse’s cribbing collar. “It’s cruel” “It’s too tight” “She is still cribbing” “It can really hurt her” “She can’t breathe” And on and on. My vet fully supports my decision to use the collar. And she fully supports how tight it is. My vet is no longer getting called out for gas colic episodes, so Georgie must be feeling better. Yet, that very important fact seems to be forgotten by many others in the barn environment.
If I had my choice, Georgie would never ever have to wear a cribbing collar. I hate the thing with a passion. I know its uncomfortable and she hates it. But she hates it because it keeps her from cribbing. And, cribbing seems to make her gas colic. And get ulcers. So guess what? She has to wear the stupid collar.
I will never ever knowingly take a lease or buy a horse who is a cribber again. It’s stressful and tough to watch your horse wear some tight collar, that looks a bit like a torture advice. And yes, Georgie is a SEVERE cribber, and all horses probably aren’t as dedicated to sucking air as she is. Do you have hints, tips, thoughts about cribbing? I would love to hear about it, and I would love to know I am not alone with this problem!